Moving to take back America’s neighborhoods – the roots of its rise as the country’s largest casual dining restaurant chain – Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar® is unveiling new American-made, wood-fired grills as the centerpiece of nearly 2,000 U.S. locations and inviting guests to follow the enticing aroma of American Oak smoke into their neighborhood Applebee’s to try a new Hand-Cut, Wood Fired Grill item. Three McAllen & Edinburg, TX area Applebee’s will introduce certified USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steaks as the marquee item of its revamped menu highlighting the elevated quality, flavor and freshness of its dishes.
“Our new wood-fired grill is the cornerstone of our elevated dining experience and we’re excited for our guests to come in and try our delicious new wood-fired steak options,” said Regional Vice President, Phil Heckathorne. “Our chefs are newly trained to ensure the optimal cut and preparation of each and every one of our Hand-Cut Wood Fired Steak dinners.”
The first menu items to hit the McAllen & Edinburg grills are one-inch thick certified USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steaks and Bone-In Pork Chops. Both items are hand-cut in Applebee’s restaurants by trained meat cutters to ensure ideal thickness before they hit the grill. Signifying the exciting transformation, guests will immediately recognize something is new at their local Applebee’s as wood corrals stacked with split oak logs greet them at the entrance and the mouth-watering aroma of American Oak smoldering in the kitchen invites them in. In addition, the transformation is marked by the largest and most comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign in the company’s history, all telling consumers that something new and exciting is happening at Applebee’s restaurants.
“We’re in the midst of a business transformation at Applebee’s, and we are recommitting ourselves to every aspect of the guest experience – food is, of course, central to that,” said Julia Stewart, chairman and CEO of Applebee’s franchisor DineEquity, Inc. [NYSE: DIN] and president of Applebee’s. “We’re excited to be working with our local restaurants across the country to be part of the biggest culinary investment in our company’s history. We’re not only transforming the menu, but we’re instilling pride in our employees, delighting current guests and giving others a reason to come back.”
Starting today, the Applebee’s menu will include:
• 8 oz. and 6 oz. Hand-cut USDA Choice Top Sirloin Steaks
• Hand-cut Bone-in Pork Chop with Honey Apple Chutney
• Cedar-grilled Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze
• Grilled chicken breast
Additionally, meats and vegetables prepared on the new wood-fired grills will be featured in many other guest favorites – from appetizers to salads – adding the right amount of mild smokiness to each bite. The purchase and installation of wood-fired grills in three McAllen & Edinburg, TX area locations, along with the more than 60 thousand hours of training for meat cutters, and the advertising campaign supporting the launch is part of a combined $75 million investment by Applebee’s and its franchisees.
“There is no better way to cook a great steak than over a wood fire, and delivering that at an affordable price can transform the experience for the nearly one million guests Applebee’s serves every day,” said Cammie Spillyards-Schaefer, executive chef and vice president, culinary and menu strategy for Applebee’s. “Hand-cutting allows us to evenly grill steaks and chops to our guest’s perfect temperature – whether that’s rare, well or somewhere in between – and the American Oak deliciously sears in the juices, delivering an enticing aroma and flavor you can’t get any other way.”
Applebee’s new wood-fired grills and the hand-cut steaks and other menu items cooked on them are available at participating Applebee’s restaurants across the U.S.
Applebee’s Grill & Bar brings together a lively bar & grill experience offering hand-crafted drinks and craveable, simple, American food with flare featuring vibrant flavors and real, fresh ingredients. All Applebee’s restaurants are owned and operated by entrepreneurs dedicated to serving their communities and offering the best in food and drinks with neighborly, genuine service. With more than 2,000 locations in 49 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and 15 countries, Applebee’s is one of the world’s largest casual dining brands. Applebee’s restaurants are franchised by DineEquity Inc.’s (NYSE: DIN) subsidiary, Applebee’s Franchisor LLC and its affiliates.
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