Saying Goodbye to Applebee’s

Sometime around 2011, I am not sure of the year, I ate at a restaurant that I have never dined at before.  The place was called Applebee’s.  After that first meal it was not very long before I became a regular fixture at our local Applebee’s.  I remained a regular for many years, until about a month ago…

Needing a place to be my “go-to place”

Living North of Joplin in Webb City, with a transit system that is good for a town this size – but not very accommodating for the disabled ad being surrounded by family through our neighborhood, I needed a placed to go to that would allow me to escape my problems, the drama of family, and my desire of wanting to live in a big town.

Thankfully I found Applebee’s.

I loved the food, the service and especially the fact that they are a Pepsi restaurant (I do not like Coke) so I quickly became a regular.

It wasn’t long before Kimberly and I knew the servers by name and they all knew us by name.  Then came the managers getting to know us and visa versa.

I became Norm – except for the beer.

Soon I had my own barstool where I always sat when I visited Applebee’s.  I was there so often that when the server saw me at the bar, they brought me a Pepsi without having to ask me what I wanted to drink or me having to tell them.

It got to a point that whenever I entered Applebee’s I played the Cheer’s theme on their jukebox and they servers had my Pepsi at my seat before i sat down.

My years at Applebee’s as a regular.

My visits to Applebee’s grew over the years.  By around 2015/2016 we were spending over $3000 a year at Applebee’s.  Most of that money went to the Joplin restaurant, while the rest went to Applebee’s we visited in other cities including Tulsa OK and Branson MO.

We became friends with some of the servers, and many of the managers and are connected with them via social media such as Facebook,

When we dined there we would always do a survey.  One of our surveys resulted in us winning $1000.  We shared the news with the crew of the Joplin Applebee’s, but we kept the money for ourselves.

I even celebrated several birthdays at Applebee’s

Over the years things change.

Some of our manager friends have moved away from the Joplin Applebee’s.  One moved to the Washington MO Applebee’s.  Whenever we are in the St. Louis area, we visit her at her restaurant.

Another manager moved from Joplin to the Springfield MO Applebee’s on Glenstone.  Two other managers moved to the Pittsburg KS Applebee’s.  We visit our manager friends both in Springfield and Pittsburg whenever we are in the area.

Sometimes change is good…and sometimes it is not.

Over the past six months we have cut back on going to Applebee’s.  Most of the servers we know have moved on.  There is only one server we know well at our Applebee’s and she only works once a week.  Management has gone through a lot of changes as well.

Sadly, since Thanksgiving we have dined at our Applebee’s seven times – five of those seven times the food was not prepared correctly.  I have grown tired of talking to the manager and getting excuses instead of an explanation and replacement food.  I have grown tired of calling the customer service number, getting a voucher for a free dinner and again being disappointed – so I have stopped calling.

I am also tired of how Applebee’s is promoting alcohol over their food.  In my opinion, it sound like the are wanting to be a bar and not a family friendly environment.

I miss the good ole days at Applebee’s.  I have found memories of the fun we had there, but those days re gone and I am looking for a new getaway place.