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Applebee's Hand Breaded Chicken Sandwiches - Bacon Rand and Sweet and Spicy.png Photo courtesy of Applebee's
Applebee's has a new lineup of hand-breaded chicken sandwiches.

Applebee’s adds new chicken sandwiches, late-night promotion

Throughout the summer, Applebee’s will offer half-price appetizers during the late-night daypart as restaurant chains fight to win over value conscious consumers.

Applebee’s chef Shannon Johnson has been busy since making his return to the company in late September, spearheading tests of over 300 menu items with new news expected to come each month. This month, that news includes three new hand-breaded chicken sandwiches available for dine-in or to go.

The new sandwiches include:

  • Bacon cheddar crispy chicken sandwich, topped with two slices of cheddar cheese, two strips of Applewood-smoked bacon, a house-made tangy bacon sauce, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and served on a Brioche bun. Available for a limited time only for $13.99.
  • Bacon ranch crispy chicken, topped with two strips of Applewood-smoked bacon and a house-made ranch drizzle, served on a brioche bun with pickles and shredded lettuce.
  • Sweet & spicy crispy chicken sandwich, a hand-breaded chicken breast smothered in Sweet Asian Chile sauce, topped with the chain’s signature coleslaw and served on a Brioche bun.

“Get ready to fall in love with our gold-standard, new hand-breaded chicken sandwiches,” Johnson said in a statement. “Big, bold, juicy – and crispy – these chicken sandwiches are packed with flavor and available in three delicious iterations, sure to satisfy all our guests’ cravings.”

Notably, the bacon cheddar crispy chicken sandwich features the same tangy bacon sauce featured in Applebee’s recently launched Whole Lotta Bacon Burger

Applebee’s focus on upgraded chicken sandwiches could help the company gain traffic as the consumer environment becomes choppier. During a Bloomberg Intelligence webinar last week, Richard Delvallée, senior vice president of consulting services at Revenue Management Solutions, said brands that are focused on chicken are gaining market share because more consumers, particularly younger consumers, prefer the protein.

“Especially chicken sandwiches,” he said. “Chicken offers tons of options in terms of innovation, it allows brands to try different things. It’s much more versatile than beef. Chicken is also one of the more affordable proteins. In the context of brands having to offer more value and fighting for traffic, chicken is a good way to offer value.”

Applebee’s is also introducing a new late-night, half-priced appetizer promotion to appeal to value conscious consumers. Half-priced apps include boneless wings, chicken wonton tacos, mozzarella sticks, chicken quesadilla, spinach and artichoke dip, brew pub pretzels and beer cheese dip, and brew pub loaded waffle fries. The deal is available all summer, seven days a week, online or dine-in.

“Applebee’s is the perfect late-night destination,” CMO Joel Yashinsky said in a statement. “Our late-night half price appetizers offer a variety of savory snacks at a value you can’t beat.”

During parent company Dine Brands’ Q1 earnings call in May, CEO John Peyton said consumers are becoming more price sensitive, as evidenced by their response to limited-time promotions,

“Guests are trading down for lower-priced items, which is another indicator that guests are managing their wallet,” he said.

At Applebee’s, 28% of orders were tied to a limited-time promotion, for instance, up from 19% during the previous quarter. Dine Brands executives said they are encouraged by the value-driven strategy the company has put into place to mitigate consumer pressures. CFO Vance Chang added that these promotions are designed alongside franchisees to be profitable, versus just pure discounting opportunities.

“It’s all about driving incremental, profitable traffic,” he said. “The point is to drive the lifetime value of a guest and increase the long-term market share of the brand. We’re not giving things away; these are methodical, creative campaigns.”

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

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