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Applebee's Just Confirmed Their Major Menu Cuts Are Permanent

The chain got rid of almost 40% of all menu items during the pandemic.
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Unlike The Cheesecake Factory, which considers a big, diverse menu one of its main strengths, Applebee's decided to cut almost 40% of its offering during the pandemic. And although sales are recovering, the chain just confirmed they'll be sticking with a smaller menu permanently.

According to CNN Business, items like BBQ brisket tacos, sweet and savory grilled chicken, clam chowder, loaded potato soup, a brunch burger and the chain's triple bacon burger will not be making a comeback at Applebee's. During the pandemic, the restaurant cut its menu down from about 160 items to about 100 and intends to keep it that way.

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"When dining rooms began to close, we re-examined our menu and made the decision to reduce the menu and focus on guest favorites," Joel Yashinsky, chief marketing officer of Applebee's, said of the change last year. "In this time of uncertainty, we know our guests prefer to enjoy the food they are most familiar with. And a smaller menu helped our teams be able to meet the demand for Applebee's Carside To Go, pick-up and delivery orders."

While the chain won't be shying away from innovation, when new items are added to the menu others will have to go in order to keep the food manageable and restaurant operations more efficient.

"The team will have to be very thoughtful about every single product or beverage they introduce, and the consequence of it from a complexity standpoint," Applebee's president John Cywinski told CNN Business. "We're going to make those trade-offs."

Applebee's sales took a major hit during the pandemic, but according to the company's latest reported earnings, the chain is on the road to recovery. Same-store sales dropped 20% in 2020, but have increased by 12% in the first quarter of this year. For more, check out This Beloved Dine-In Chain Just Launched a New "Bacon Obsession" Menu, and don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura is a senior news editor leading ETNT's coverage of America's favorite fast foods and restaurant chains. Read more