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Open Letter To Applebee’s CEO

Open Letter To Applebee’s CEO

7 November 2008

Mr. Archer, President
Applebee’s Services, Inc.
Overland Park, Kansas

Dear Mr. Archer:

I understand Applebee's has a "Salute to the Veterans" on November 11, 2008. I do not see any participating restaurants from the state of Maine. In fact, there is NOT ONE Applebee's in the SIX New England states that participates in your, "Salute to the Veterans". There are 436 Applebee's restaurants in New England! In the United States there are more than 1600 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar franchisees. If one does the math, more than 25% of your business is in the New England states.

I would remind you, Mr. Archer, that Maine has one of the highest number of veterans per capita in the United States.

Also, the Bangor airport is a hub where returning military personnel are greeted by retired military volunteers. It is the first time those fighting the current war (GWOT) land on U.S. soil after their tour in Iraq or Afghanistan. From Bangor they transport to their respective states or bases including Kansas.

Is this an oversight that Applebee’s does not salute in New England? Or, is Applebee's insincere and this is simply tokenism toward the veterans?

Very sincerely yours,

Jeff Benitz

Postscriptum: Of 8449 restaurants, if 163 are participating that means Applebee's has 1.92% of their businesses giving free meals to the troops. That is a lot of marketing for less than 2% of your locations. Who knows how many patrons would actually be veterans at those locations, lowering the number more. Looks like marketing exploitation to me.


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Dear Mr. Benitz:

Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to clarify some items regarding the Applebee's salute to veterans. This is a first year test. 164 of our approximately 2,000 restaurants are participating. As you can imagine, something like this involves a great deal of planning and logistics. We need to understand how popular the effort will be, how much food is required, the amount of staffing etc. Like most promotions we consider for national launch, we test them first so we know what to expect. There would be nothing worse than running out of food or disappointing a veteran choosing to visit us.

I hope this helps. Our desire is that this is very successful and we learn a great deal, and then we can consider launching across the country in 2009, but for now it is a test.

Patrick Lenow
Executive Director, Communications
DineEquity, Inc.
Parent company of Applebee's

I was attracted to a local Applebee's at White Plains, NY by their online "2 for 20" promotion. I called the restaurant to confirm if they participate in the promotion and the manager confirmed their participation.
But when I arrived at the Applebee's and sit down, the menu they gave me is totally different one. Almost all the "2 for 20" promotion entrees are gone... they are in so called "2 for $26.99" menu, while the only thing left in the "2 for $20" menu is the hamburger. The manager told us they do participate in the promotion but they are locally run and "have nothing to do with the Applebee's International", hence they can modify the details of the national promotion... wow...
My suggestion to Applebee's marketing: next time, put up a promotion on your website:
"Free Dinner for everyone!"
You will get a much larger crowd... and your local branches "have nothing to do with" your guys, so who cares... hopefully, you will have a solid revenue boost with this promotion.

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