The fast casual chain is proving that cheap drinks are always an easy way to get people on your side.
Applebee's has had a pretty rough 2017. As one of the biggest names in the struggling casual dining sector, the Neighborhood Grill & Bar found itself stuck in one of the most talked about headlines of the year: "Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee's." Granted, Applebee's is only one of many things millennials have been accused of killing – and the accuracy of all of these claims is up for debate – but confronted with the reality of declining revenues and restaurant closures, Applebee's had to have been looking for a way to hijack the conversation… or at least distract from it. So they've turned to the tried-and-true method that has warmed people's hearts for generations… cheap booze!
Over the weekend, Applebee's launched its nationwide promotion, the "Dollarita." (That's capitalized and trademarked, of course.) These $1, 10-ounce takes on a margarita will be available at participating Applebee's locations, all-day, every day, all October long – "part of the month-long national celebration of Applebee's Neighborhood Appreciation Month," according to the brand.
The promotion has already proved successful in one regard: word of mouth. Though the chain officially announced Dollaritas on September 26, the press didn't pick up on them until they officially hit restaurants and actually began to receive some public groundswell. As both an earnest proclamation of a desire for cheap drinks and an easy reference for drinking-related jokes, Dollaritas have done well on social media regardless of how they do in stores – though according to Applebee's Texas, Dollaritas have proven to be very successful in the past. Regardless, Dollaritas are certainly helping to improve public perception. Do these tweets sound like they're talking about a chain that is struggling…
Of course, the real ramifications won't be known until after October is over. Did Dollaritas really boost revenue or just boost the sale of cheap margaritas? Either way, for now, Applebee's can bask in its lime-green glory.