When young, twenty-somethings are looking for the late-night bar scene, the new place to go is probably surprising. It has half-price appetizers, strobe lights, DJs spinning beats and even karaoke in some locations. This happening restaurant is none other than Applebee's.
The family-friendly restaurant has been experimenting with a new image for the last few years, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek article. Last week, though, the eatery is taking its new persona national. Called Late Night, Applebee's plans to keep the party going until 2 a.m.
Becky Johnson, a senior vice president at Applebee's, told the news source that her company found out that younger generations often referred to restaurant locations as "The Bee's." While it's a destination they go to for meals with co-workers after the daily grind, customers migrate to actual bars on nights and weekends.
"The Bee's is an overt invitation to them," Johnson said. "We want them back."
According to the article, franchise owners approached DineEquity – Applebee's parent company – in 2009 with their observations that younger adults were eating later. As this was in the middle of the recession, the owners said they felt that business could improve if Applebee's stayed open past 10 p.m. and DineEquity agreed.
Most of the early overhaul happened in central Florida, where Florida franchisee Neighborhood Restaurant Partners owns 51 Applebee's from Tampa to Orlando. The locations are promoted as faux dance halls – Club Applebee's.
Companies and organizations would be wise to take a page out of Applebee's playbook. Consumer spending habits are likely to evolve over time, and as such, businesses will need to make adjustments to stay profitable. Partnering with a live answering service will give customers the opportunity to reach out to a representative through multiple means of communication – phone, email or text messages.