Skip to content

15 Things You Don't Know About Applebee's

Before you hit up Applebee's for half-price happy hour, check out these fun facts about your favorite neighborhood grill and bar.

From their juicy burgers to boozy drinks and decadent desserts (hello, triple chocolate meltdown!), no cheat meal is complete without a visit to Applebee's. Even if you're watching your weight and want to keep your lunch light, you can still pay a visit to the famous neighborhood grill and bar.

Why's that? For those of us who want to have our cake and eat it too, the chain has a "Lighter Fare" menu with waist-friendly options like the Pepper-Crusted Sirloin & Whole Grains as well as the Savory Cedar Salmon. But did you know that the original menu included retro favorites like gumbo and quiche and even quail? For more interesting facts about Applebee's, check out our roundup of 15 things you didn't know about the fast-casual chain. And to see how the restaurant racks up compared to other American staples, see our report on The Most Popular Chain Restaurants—Ranked!

It Began As A Mom & Pop Shop

Courtesy of Facebook, Applebee's

Yup, you read that correctly! Before Applebee's became a household name, there was only one restaurant located in Decatur, Georgia. Married couple Bill and T.J. Palmer opened their restaurant using a $50,000 loan on November 9, 1980. A few years later, they opened a second location in Georgia. Applebee's was an immediate success, but the duo chose to sell the company to chemical conglomerate W.R. Grace and Co in 1983. That's when Bill became the president and led the restaurant to its franchise success.

While it may have started out small, this restaurant doesn't serve up home cooked meals like your momma made. That's why you should check out 15 Things to Know About Applebees Nutrition before you head over to this neighborhood grill.

It Was Almost Named Peppers


Before Applebee's was endowed with its nationwide-known name, the founders Bill and T.J. planned to name their restaurant Cinnamon's or Peppers, but since those (pretty odd) names were already registered in Georgia, they settled on T.J. Applebee's.

It Tried To Be Different

Courtesy of Logopedia

Instead of the average "grill and bar" title, the founders wanted to stand out, so they replaced the then-subpar description with "edibles and elixirs." Clearly, that didn't last too long.

There Are Over 1000 Locations Worldwide

That's 1,878 locations, to be exact. Sure, Applebee's seems completely American with the plethora of grilled steaks, high-fat sides, and jam-packed hamburgers on the menu—but international foodies love it too! You can spot the signature red apple logo in Puerto Rico and 15 other countries including Greece, Honduras, Kuwait, China, and Brazil. No wonder why it employs approximately 28,000 people!

You Can't DIY The Menu

Courtesy of Instagram, Applebee's

Well, you can try. But due to proprietary and confidential reasons, Applebee's can't disclose any recipes of their famous menu items to the public.

There's An App For It!


Just like with everything else these days, there's an app for ordering dinner from Applebee's via your smartphone. The eponymous mobile application allows you to find the nearest location, create an account to save your favorite orders, and even place a Carside To Go pickup.

It's Won Several Awards

From Forbes' "America's Best Managed Companies" and Hospitality Magazine's "Chain of the Year" Applebee's has proved itself as one of the best restaurants to work in among its competitors.

It's More Affordable Than You Think

Courtesy of Facebook, Applebee's

The two for $20 menu (which includes two entrees and an appetizer to share) is pretty popular, so next time you're wondering where to take your date for a quick bite before catching a movie, opt for Applebee's. Even if you're not ordering from the price-conscious deal menu, the majority of the entrée options, including seafood and steaks, are priced under $25.

You Can Get Apps Half Off

Courtesy of Facebook, Applebee's

Speaking of affordable, their popular appetizers—think boneless wings and Sriracha shrimp—are half priced after 9PM. For the win!

IHOP Owns It

IHOP established DineEquity, which deems itself as one of the largest full-service dining companies in the world. The company says it is "focused on providing strategic, visionary leadership for our franchisees, unparalleled opportunities for our team members, and enhancing value for our shareholders. By bringing Applebee's together with IHOP in November 2007, we made a bold, new commitment to our brand-revitalization abilities and to the power of franchising."

The Busiest Location Is In New York


Applebee's busiest restaurant is in the heart of none other than the Big Apple. The store on 42nd street between 7th and 8th Avenue is always packed.

…And So Is Its Largest

The biggest Applebee's spot is at 50th street and Broadway in New York. And we're totally not surprised!

Veterans Eat Free

Courtesy of Facebook, Applebee's

…On Veterans Day, that is! Vets simply must show proof of military service. So bringing in a photo in military uniform or, even better, coming in dressed in the duds will grant all our troops a well-deserved free meal!

They Believe In Animal Welfare

This is definitely our favorite fun fact. Applebee's actively pursues efforts to source animal products sustainably and has set up specific goals to reach their ethics. In the United States and Latin America, they have committed to purchasing 100% of eggs that were raised in a cage-free environment by 2025. They have also promised to purchase gestation crate-free pork by 2020.

It Nixed Soda Off The Kids Menu


In December 2015 the fast-casual chain announced that it would join IHOP, Wendy's, Subway, Burger King, Dairy Queen, and Panera in nixing pop from the kids' menu. While that sounds like a step in the healthy direction, soda can still be ordered upon request, of course. Just make sure it's not one of the worst for your belly. See our report for guidance: The 70 Most Popular Sodas—Ranked By How Toxic They Are!

April Benshosan
April is a born-and-raised Brooklynite who has a passion for all things health, wellness, and tastebud-related. Read more about April