The 'fan zone' brings exclusive games and new menu items to diners
Applebee’s launched a new football-themed venture in its locations nationwide.
Applebee’s, the casual dining chain, is welcoming the football season by launching a new football-themed venture in its locations nationwide. The "ESPN Fan Zone" will bring an ultimate football experience to fans and diners, Restaurant News reports.
With this new program, Applebee’s hopes to create a unique destination for football fans across the country to gather, watch games, and eat.
"ESPN has become synonymous with game day," said Mike Archer, Applebee’s president. "Bringing that viewing experience to Applebee’s gives our sports-crazed guests the electric atmosphere of watching the big game on TV with the neighborhood."
The highlight of the new venue is a special, Chris Berman-themed smartphone game, accessible only at Applebee’s "fan zones," giving diners the chance to win weekly prices.
As part of the experience, guests will also be served a new "Game Time Menu" with items like "Boom Boom Boneless Buffalo Wings" and "Team Wonton Tacos."
Copycat Applebee's Maple Butter Pecan Blondie
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A good copycat recipe brings all the flavors of your favorite restaurant dishes to your kitchen. This awesome recipe for Copycat Applebee's Maple Butter Pecan Blondie is no different. Crunchy pecans and buttery maple syrup combine for a wonderfully sweet dessert. Simple to create, this treat will save you the time and hassle of going out to get it. You can enjoy this easy blondie recipe in the comfort of your own home. Be sure to save this recipe - you will want to make this delectable dessert again and again.
- For the Brownies
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 / 8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 / 2 teaspoon baking powder
- dash of salt
- 1 / 2 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 / 3 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1 / 2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 / 3 cup water
- For Butter Pecan Sauce
- 1 / 3 cup butter
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1 / 4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon water + 1 tablespoon corn starch mixture
For the Brownies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt add pecans and set aside.
Melt butter combine melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla – mix until well blended. Add flour-pecan mixture and stir well. Stir in in white chocolate chips and water.
Pour batter into buttered 8x8” baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.
For the Butter Pecan Sauce
In a small saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Stir in sugars, syrup, heavy cream and cornstarch mixture continue stirring until thick.
Remove from heat and add pecans. Serve brownies topped with vanilla ice cream and butter pecan sauce.
Try another famous Applebee's dessert copycat recipe from our test kitchen! Applebee's Copycat Chimicheesecake
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Hi Cox3342 6147243 - Thank you for calling this issue to our attention. We have corrected the ingredient listing in the recipe. -Editors of RecipeLion
13 cups of butter sounds unreasonable. Maybe it should read 1/3 cup.
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Applebee's to Have Tablets at Every Table
Following in its rival Chili's footsteps, USA Today reports that Applebee's has announced plans to have touch screen tablets available at every table in all of its locations by the end of 2014. Although customers will still order their meals from waiters, diners will be able to pay at any time and order extra items like featured appetizers and desserts from the tablets. Games will also be available for kids. Testing at Applebee's has shown that customers order more appetizers and desserts thanks to the tabletop tablets. Mike Archer, president of Applebee's, says the new devices will "change the way we interact with guests in restaurants."
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Make Your First At-Home Tailgate a Win with These Fan-Favorite Recipes
The 2020 football season is upon on us. but what does that mean for tailgating? While we may be celebrating many holidays and events differently this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t tailgate — we just need to recreate the experience at home.
“Homegating,” which brings the tailgate to you, is the perfect way to create an exciting atmosphere before the kickoff. Bonus points if you set up in your back yard with some music and games! But, what about the food? The homegate festivities allow you to do a little bit of fall grilling and step up your regular routine since you’ll have access to your entire kitchen (and all of the appliances that you wouldn’t be able to use for a typical tailgate).
You may not be cracking open a beer and playing cornhole in the parking lot this year, but you’ll still get the tailgating experience — and some really delicious game day grub — straight from your kitchen.
Hot Dogs Galore (image above)
It wouldn’t be a tailgate without a classic hot dog in hand, right? Heat things up by adding a spicy pineapple relish to your dogs — an upgrade from your usual ketchup-and-mustard combo. And, don’t be afraid to pile an extra helping of this onion-pepper-pineapple topping into the bun because it's so much easier to eat over a plate than standing in the parking lot.
Don’t have a grill? You can still get your hot dog fix with a frying pan. Again, slather on that delicious topping (like Sunny does with her cheesy, jalapeno popper dogs) because it’s okay if you get a little messy. You have plates, napkins and a sink to wash your hands at home!
Using Menu Psychology to Entice Diners
CHICKEN liver is what the restaurateur Danny Meyer calls a torpedo.
Left to its own devices, it may be unappetizing and unpopular, but when paired with what he calls an enhancer applewood smoked bacon in the case of the chicken liver on the menu at Tabla, Mr. Meyer’s Indian fusion restaurant in the Flatiron District it not only excites the taste buds but goes to work on the mind.
And the name of the Tabla appetizer, Boodie’s Chicken Liver Masala, draws even deeper from the growing field of menu psychology because Boodie is the mother of Floyd Cardoz, Tabla’s executive chef. People like the names of mothers, grandmothers and other relatives on their menus, and research shows they are much more likely to buy, say, Grandma’s zucchini cookies, burgers freshly ground at Uncle Sol’s butcher shop this morning and Aunt Phyllis’s famous wedge salad.
After Tabla merged with its downstairs sibling, the Bread Bar at Tabla, in October, Mr. Meyer and his team spent months pondering such matters before unveiling a new menu earlier this month. The price of Boodie’s chicken livers, for example, is $9, written simply as 9. This is a friendly and manageable number at a time when numbers really need to be friendly and manageable. Besides, it has no dollar sign. In the world of menu engineering and pricing, a dollar sign is pretty much the worst thing you can put on a menu, particularly at a high-end restaurant. Not only will it scream “Hello, you are about to spend money!” into a diner’s tender psyche, but it can feel aggressive and look tacky. So can price formats that end in the numeral 9, as in $9.99, which tend to signify value but not quality, menu consultants and researchers say.
Tabla is just one of the many restaurants around the country that are feverishly revising their menus. Pounded by the recession, they are hoping that some magic combination of prices, adjectives, fonts, type sizes, ink colors and placement on the page can coax diners into spending a little more money.
“There is constant tinkering going on right now with menus and menu pricing,” said Sheryl E. Kimes, a professor of hospitality management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. “A lot of creative things are going on because the restaurants are trying to hold on for dear life to make sure they get through this.”
For the operators of most high-end restaurants, the menu psychology is usually drawn from instinct and experience. Mr. Meyer, for example, said he had developed most of his theories through trial and error.
“We thought long and hard about the psychology because this is a complete relaunch of a restaurant entirely through its menu and through the psychology of the menu,” Mr. Meyer said. “The chefs write the music and the menu becomes the lyrics, and sometimes the music is gorgeous and it’s got the wrong lyrics and the lyrics can torpedo the music.”
The use of menu engineers and consultants is exploding in the casual dining arena and among national chains, a sector of the business that has been especially pinched by the economy. In response, they are tapping into a growing body of research into the science of menu pricing and writing, hoping the way to a diner’s heart is not only through the stomach, but through the unconscious.
Huddle House, the family-dining chain with more than 400 restaurants in 17 states, is rolling out a test menu at 20 restaurants next week. The company hired Gregg Rapp, a menu engineer and consultant who holds “menu boot camps” for restaurants around the country. He said he had been “taking dollar signs off menus for 25 years,”
Susan Franck, vice president of marketing for the chain, said she was intrigued about the four types of diners Mr. Rapp had identified. The customers he calls “Entrees” do not want a lot of description, just the bottom line on what the dish is and how much it is going to cost. “Recipes,” on the other hand, ask many questions and want to know as much as they can about the ingredients. “Barbecues” share food and like chatty servers who wear name tags. “Desserts” are trendy people who want to order trendy things.
“We can’t do much of a price increase, yet we’re searching for ways to increase our profit for the franchises,” Ms. Franck said. “If you have a signature item, make a logo for it, put more copy to it, romance the description with smokehouse bacon, country ham or farm fresh eggs.”
She said the chain took dollar signs off the menu in 2007, and now on the test menu, instead of an omelet and orange juice, there is “the light and fluffy Heavenly Omelet” and “Minute Maid orange juice.”
In the “Ten Commandments for Menu Success,” an article published in Restaurant Hospitality magazine in 1994, Allen H. Kelson, a restaurant consultant, wrote, “If admen had souls, many would probably trade them for an opportunity every restaurateur already has: the ability to place an advertisement in every customer’s hand before they part with their money.”
And like advertisements, menus contain plenty of subliminal messages.
Some restaurants use what researchers call decoys. For example, they may place a really expensive item at the top of the menu, so that other dishes look more reasonably priced research shows that diners tend to order neither the most nor least expensive items, drifting toward the middle. Or restaurants might play up a profitable dish by using more appetizing adjectives and placing it next to a less profitable dish with less description so the contrast entices the diner to order the profitable dish.
Research by Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University and the author of “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think,” suggests that the average person makes more than 200 decisions about food every day, many of them unconsciously, including the choices made from reading menus.
Menu design draws some of its inspiration from newspaper layout, which puts the most important articles at the top right of the front page, where the eyes tend to be drawn. Some restaurants will place their most profitable items, or their specials, in that spot. Or they place a dotted outline or a box around the item, put more white space around it to make the dish stand out or, in what menu researchers say is one of the most effective tools, add a photograph of the item or an icon like a chili pepper.
(Photos of foie gras on the menus of white-tablecloth restaurants would be surprising, however. Menu consultants say those establishments should never use pictures.)
Unless a restaurant wants to frighten its customers, the price should always be at the very end of a menu description and should not be in any way highlighted.
A study published in the spring by Dr. Kimes and other researchers at Cornell found that when the prices were given with dollar signs, customers the research subjects dined at St. Andrew’s Cafe at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. spent less than when no dollar signs appeared. The study, published in the Cornell Hospitality Report, also found that customers spent significantly more when the price was listed in numerals without dollar signs, as in “14.00” or “14,” than when it included the word “dollar,” as in “Fourteen dollars.” Apparently even the word “dollar” can trigger what is known as “the pain of paying.”
Mr. Rapp, of Palm Springs, Calif., also says that if a restaurant wants to use prices that include cents, like $9.99 or $9.95 (without the dollar sign, of course), he strongly recommends .95, which he said “is a friendlier price,” whereas .99 is “cornier.” On the other hand, 10, or “10 dollars,” has attitude, which is what restaurants using those price formats are selling.
A dash or a period after the number appears to be more of an aesthetic choice than a psychological tool, according to one of the authors of the menu pricing study, Sybil S. Yang, a doctoral student at Cornell. Numbers followed by neither a dash nor a period are most common.
Mr. Meyer said that in his view, adding zeros to the price, as in 14.00, is not a good idea because “there’s no reason to have pennies if you’re not using pennies, and it takes the price from being two digits into four digits, even if the two last digits are zeros. It’s irrelevant, and the number could feel more important, which is not a menu writer’s goal.”
(Some prices at his restaurants do end in .50, and at Mr. Meyer’s Shake Shack burger joints, his foray into retro-casual dining, some end with .25 or .75 but the prices are always rounded to the quarter. The Shake Shacks are the only of Mr. Meyer’s restaurants with menu prices preceded by dollar signs.)
Other research by Dr. Wansink found that descriptive menu labels increased sales by as much as 27 percent. He has divided descriptions into four categories: geographic labels like “Southwestern Tex-Mex salad,” nostalgia labels like “ye old potato bread,” sensory labels like “buttery plump pasta” and brand names. Finding that brand names help sales, chains are increasingly using what is known as co-branding on their menus, like the Jack Daniel’s sauce at T.G.I. Friday’s and the Minute Maid orange juice on the Huddle House menu, Dr. Wansink said.
Dr. Wansink said that vivid adjectives can not only sway a customer’s choice but can also leave them more satisfied at the end of the meal than if they had eaten the same item without the descriptive labeling.
Indeed, restaurants like Huddle House and Applebee’s are adding language that suggests a rush of intense satisfaction. At Applebee’s, dishes are described as “handcrafted,” “triple-basted,” “slow-cooked,” “grilled” and “slammed with flavor.”
BUT many higher-end restaurateurs say they are paring the menu by using cleaner and simpler copy. In those cases, many of the items are inherently descriptive, like the Roasted and Braised Suckling Pig at Craft in Manhattan. There, the left side of the menu lists the farms and other sources of its ingredients. Those names were removed from the individual item descriptions in a streamlining effort, and the serving staff is required to explain many of the accompanying ingredients, including sauces, so the copy is spare.
In contemplating the Tabla menu, Mr. Cardoz said he and Mr. Meyer decided there were too many unusual Indian terms that were alienating customers, so they kept only the most recognizable words, like tandoori, paneer and tikka.
Tabla experimented with several different fonts and colors before settling on the final version. At one point, the cost of the liver and other prices were shaded navy blue, and some menu headings were orange. While the final version is in black and white, Mr. Meyer said he was thinking about adding orange and red. He remembers, from a hospitality management class he took years ago, what he learned about the gospel on color: red and blue stimulate appetite, while gray and purple stimulate satiation. You will not find a shade of gray or purple on any of the menus at his 11 restaurants, he said.
Mr. Cardoz, who is also a partner at Tabla, said he considered the menu to be an important tool for communicating with his customers.
“I feel most guests want to know what my inspiration was for any dish, and when they realize there is a connection for me doing something, they want to try it and they want to know it,” he said.
And there was one connection he was definitely not going to take off the menu, whether it was on the chicken liver or the onion rings, which come with “Boodie’s Ketchup”: his mother.
Even brief descriptions on menus like Tabla’s and Craft’s seem verbose compared with those on the menu at Alinea in Chicago, which on a recent night featured esoteric dishes called Peanut Butter and Bubble Gum, with a few more words that did not provide much more illumination. Next to Lemon Soda, the menu simply said: “one bite.”
Alinea offers no à la carte choices, only predetermined tastings, so the menu is not a sales pitch. Instead, it is “a language tool, so we’re trying to uphold the philosophy of the entire restaurant with every component the sense of nostalgia, the sense of humor,” Alinea’s executive chef, Grant Achatz, said. “With Bubble Gum, there is a kind of mystique to the lack of description. I came from the French Laundry, and each dish came with a paragraph-long description. We want it to be more mysterious as a clean, crisp, graphically laid out object.”
He said he wanted the menu to resemble sheet music, so it has a line of bubbles snaking through the copy. The bigger the bubble, the more bites it takes to consume that dish.
When Alinea opened in 2005 it gave out menus at the start of the meal, like other restaurants. But they were of limited use to diners, Mr. Achatz said, because “our food is so manipulated that even if I wrote ‘venison, cranberries, lentils and beets,’ it’s not going to look like they think it’s going to look anyway.”
Now Mr. Achatz has adopted a practice that turns the world of menu psychology upside down: his customers do not get them until after they eat.
Oriental Chicken Salad Wrap
Courtesy of Applebee's
A wrap and some French fries—it can't be that bad, right? Well, sadly, it is. And Applebee's proves that with the Oriental Chicken Wrap.
This dish takes the chain's beloved Oriental Chicken Salad and serves it up in a wrap, which seems harmless at first glance. Each bite is stacked with crispy breaded chicken tenders, fresh Asian greens, crunchy rice noodles, and almonds—all rolled up in a warm flour tortilla and served with Oriental vinaigrette on the side.
Right away, "crispy breaded chicken" is a red flag, as that's just a nicer way of saying "fried." Taking a closer look at the nutrition breakdown, this entrée serves up 1,810 calories, making it the most caloric entrée on Applebee's menu. Most people consume around 2,000 calories for the entire day, so you can see how problematic this one meal is.
This wrap has more than 100 grams of fat, and according to the 2015-2020 American Dietary Guidelines, the average person should consume 78 grams of total fat per day. Plus, the sodium and sugar are through the roof. This one meal contains nearly 2,700 milligrams of sodium, when the average person should be having no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, per The American Heart Association. The fact that it's also serving up more sugar than you would get if you ate eight Oreo cookies is alarming. This is a savory dish, after all, so naturally, you wouldn't expect it to be so high in the sweet stuff.
Knowing that this is a sodium and sugar bomb is reason enough to stay away, as a sodium and sugar-packed diet can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease. (Looking for more helpful tips? Well, your ultimate restaurant and supermarket survival guide is here!)
Vegetarian Dinner Ideas That Are Quick, Easy, & Fun!
Easy Veggie Pizza
When it comes to meat-free dinner ideas, pizza is yet another Italian classic. Everybody loves it!
This easy veggie pizza is made with buttery crescent rolls for the crust, &ldquowhite sauce&rdquo made with cream cheese, sour cream, and dill, then topped with your choice of fresh vegetables.
The crisp from the fresh vegetables contrasts the chewiness of the crust. I think it&rsquos an ingenious way to trick the kids into eating their veggies. It&rsquos still technically pizza, right?
A combination of rich, creamy soup and delicious potato chunks, this potato soup is the ultimate comfort food.
It&rsquos fairly simple but makes for a savory and filling meal. You&rsquoll find yourself craving this creamy soup. If you&rsquore short on time, you can make it in the slow cooker.
It&rsquos loaded with cheddar and parmesan cheese, with tangy notes, thanks to the sour cream.
This soup is comfort food at its best. Top it with extra cheese, bacon, and red onions for an extra dose of flavor.
The next time you find yourself rushing to make dinner on a weeknight, turn to this lifesaver chickpea curry recipe.
Would you believe me if I told you it only takes 20 minutes to make this meal including prep time? It&rsquos true!
This plant-based meal is bursting with the flavors of Indian cuisine.
You and your family will enjoy this fusion of curry, tomato, and coconut milk. Pair it with rice for the ultimate meal.
Mexican Buddha Bowls
If you&rsquore looking for healthy dinner ideas, these Mexican buddha bowls are the answer.
Buddha bowls are known for their nutritious ingredients, which are mostly vegan, but you can choose to add meat if you like.
They consist of grains, beans, veggies, and dressing.
This recipe is packed with rice, black beans, cherry tomatoes, avocado, hummus, with some lime juice and guacamole. It&rsquos healthy but still fun.
Savory Korean Pancakes
Never let any veggies go to waste ever again with these savory Korean pancakes!
This recipe is super easy. Think of it as an elevated omelet with a Korean twist. Exciting!
You might be thinking, &ldquoAren&rsquot pancakes for breakfast?&rdquo Well, these savory pancakes are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Butternut Squash Soup &ndash The flavor in this soup is velvety, sweet, and oh-so-yummy! Top with a dollop of dairy-free cream for an extra treat.
Creamy Pumpkin Soup &ndash Nothing screams fall like a piping hot bowl of pumpkin soup!
Eggplant Parmesan &ndash This classic Italian dish is comforting and cheesy. A winning combination, if you ask me.
Vegetable Fried Rice &ndash Recreate your favorite takeout with this easy recipe for vegetable fried rice.
Southwest Veggie Quesadillas &ndash These quesadillas are versatile, so you can swap out whatever ingredients you like!
Chickpea Stew &ndash If you&rsquore looking for a hearty vegetarian meal, this stew full of chickpeas and potatoes will fit the bill.
IHOP and Applebee's Are Creating A Combo Restaurant That Fulfills Your Drunkest Fantasies
For when you really can't decide what to order.
You've probably seen a combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, or a combo Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin' Donuts. Now, two more chains are combining to form the mega-restaurant of your dreams: Applebee's and IHOP. They will try out their very first combo restaurant in Detroit later in 2017.
The Detroit Free Press reports that the restaurant, located in downtown Detroit's Millender Center, will cater to people staying in nearby hotels as well as office workers in the area. The restaurant will take up 12,000 square feet, enough room for 300 diners at a time, and employ 100 people. Both companies are owned by the same company, so this partnership makes sense. IHOP purchased Applebee's for about $2.1 billion in 2007.
At this point, it's unclear what will be on the menu. A press release from parent company DineEquity says it "will incorporate the classic Applebee's menu [&hellip] along with many of IHOP Restaurant's freshly made signature breakfast foods and beverages, including the brand's world-famous buttermilk pancakes." Naturally, they would never take the pancakes off the menu. And WJBK reports that there will be a barista-manned coffee bar to go along with those pancakes.
But what's the most exciting prospect of an IHOP/Applebee's is the possibility of having Applebee's cocktails alongside IHOP's pancakes. Happy hour will never be more carb-packed.
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'Guests should be kind and patient now, more than ever'
Another incident that surprised the food community this month was CZN Burak’s temporary closure for Covid-19 breaches. The restaurant has since explained the popularity of its celebrity chef caused people to crowd around him to get selfies. But it took the closure as an opportunity to revise safety measures.
It is a reminder that the onus of being safe when dining out doesn’t just fall on the restaurant, but on everyone involved.
“Customers need to understand that restaurants bear the consequences when guests don’t follow rules. Guests should be patient and kind more than ever – not entitled,” says Andre Gerschel, chief operating officer of hospitality company Loud Table.
If not, they could risk the temporary or full closure of the restaurant itself, he says.
Samantha Wood, founder of impartial restaurant review website FooDiva.net, further reminds diners to be more understanding towards staff.
“Some restaurants are running at reduced staff levels so service could be a little slow. On top of that, due to management of food costs, not all dishes may be available,” she says.
Samantha Wood, founder of FooDiva. Courtesy Samantha Wood
When it comes to visiting popular restaurants, she advises reserving well in advance and, if you change your mind, cancelling with adequate notice.
“No-shows are a dirty word now more than ever," she says. “Finally, if the experience has impressed you, make sure you tip in cash. Many team members at some point over the past year have had to work on reduced salaries so every little bit helps.”
9 Meat-and-Three Dinner Menus for the Ultimate Comfort Food Feast
In the South, the meat-and-three restaurant is a quintessential comfort food staple. Menus vary at each restaurant but often are handwritten in chalk. With several entree meat options and a list of vegetables, salads, desserts and bread selections, diners can create their own custom plate. Whether you choose the traditional three sides to accompany an animal protein or opt for an all-veggie meal, the meat and three is made to fill your belly without emptying your wallet. Bring the meat and three home with these menu options. Mix and match your favorite meat, veggie, bread and dessert recipes to create your own comfort food fun at home.