Most of you know that hubby works for a well known (and unnamed) restaurant chain. They are very aggressive in their approach to competition even if it means sending their people to the competition to check it out. They had recently been hosting an all you can eat special which wasn’t going as they had hoped. None of the restaurants were pulling in the numbers like they were expecting. Why was this? Was it the economy? Was the competition simply doing a better job? What better way to find out than to send their managers to check out the competition?
Hubby was recently at an annual meeting for his company where their marketing department was present. They were asking some tough questions and I guess Hubby was one of the only managers who spoke up with his true feelings on the subject even though it didn’t make him a very popular person at the time. Some of the other managers apparently wanted to speak up but were afraid to. They were afraid of the repercussions if they did call. How are the marketers going to be able to make an accurate assessment if their management team was not going to be honest with them?
Apparently they did appreciate hubby’s honesty because Friday at work he received in the mail a gift card to one of their competitors. Our instructions were to go to the restaurant and eat off their “two for” menu with our favorite beverages and report back our findings. I guess they picked 4 or 5 managers across the region or division to go to different restaurants. I think the restaurants were O’Charley’s, Logan’s Roadhouse, Fridays, Applebee’s and some restaurant we don’t have around here. We were picked to go to Applebee’s. I honestly don’t normally go to Applebee’s very often when we are home. In fact I think in all the years we have had one here in town I’ve only been there twice. I’ve gone several times over the last couple of years when we’ve been out of town but not locally. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
First off I was surprised with the selection. Some of the different restaurants around here have had a 2 for $14.99 menu or $17.99 but ours (Applebee’s) was I think 2 for $20. This included a shared appetizer and 2 entrees. The drinks were not included in the $20 price. The selection of entrees was a lot better than I had thought it would be. Most of the restaurants that we had been to with the “two for” menus had basics like burgers, chicken tenders, some type of salad (like southern fried chicken salad or oriental chicken), or some type of pasta dish. Applebee’s actually had steak and ribs on theirs. Well, riblets. I’m not sure what riblets are (whether they are pork or beef or what – I had joked to hubby that maybe they were squirrel or rabbit) but I got them and they were good. Hubby actually got a steak. And the portions were good size. I actually brought 2/3 of mine home and have had one more meal and still have 1/3 of it left!
I have to say I was impressed that we got a free $40 gift card and got an appetizer to share, 2 entrees, 2 drinks (I even got a top shelf margarita), tip and still had a few dollars left on the card. We normally tip very well since all of our family at one point or another has been in the service industry. We were told we could only leave 15% which made me feel a little bad because she did a really good job and I would have liked to leave her more. I guess maybe we will have to go back on our own and ask for her again and over tip her to make up for only leaving what I consider a minimal tip.
I’m kinda hoping that they decide to do more research and send us to another restaurant to check out the competition. Hey, I’m game.