Applebee’s express lunch service — a test it first introduced at one area location last summer — is working so well it is now offering the service in all of its local restaurants.
By JOYCE SMITH
The Kansas City Star
Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays, a portion of the restaurant turns into a “fast casual” operation. Customers who are in a hurry can order and pay upfront at the Applebee’s Express Lunch counter, then take a number and seat themselves in a designated express lunch area or anywhere in the restaurant.
An Applebee’s server will bring their drinks and food to the table. Customers can leave when they are finished — no more waiting for the check and then settling the bill.
“It’s really a way to have the same Applebee’s experience — quickly,” said Bob Rentfro, director of operations for the Kansas City-based company.
The restaurants also offer their traditional full service.
Applebee’s has been rolling out the new service to its 23 area operations — all corporate-owned — since last summer, with about half the locations coming on board in the last few weeks.
It will continue the test through the first half of the year before deciding whether to roll it out to its franchisees, Rentfro said.
“People are driven by value, they are certainly driven by quality and I think they are driven by time,” Rentfro said. “I think consumers in general are more driven by time especially at lunch, and you see that in the marketplace and the types of restaurants” now in the market.
Along with the new express lunch service, Applebee’s is introducing several more lunch options, including a French dip sandwich and a lemon parmesan shrimp dish.
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