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Thread: Applebee's: "Your Neighborhood Restaurant" But where's the neighborhood?

  1. #1

    Applebee's: "Your Neighborhood Restaurant" But where's the neighborhood?

    Perhaps you have seen the commercial for Applebee's Bar & Grill that has the familiar tag line: "Your Neighborhood Restaraunt"

    I just don't get this commercial. I have never seen one in an actual neighborhood (unless you count those jive-plastic condo developments they build off the highway interchanges these days). One of the Applebee's in our town was actually built in a cornfield - now all sprawl - about four years ago. There are no neighborhoods nearby. None at all. All that there is surrounding this establishment are post-1995 gas stations, motels, fast food fry pits, and other forms of creeping crud.

    Worse yet, you cannot walk to this Applebee's, at least without taking your life in your hands trying to cross a six lane highway dodging cell-phone yapping yuppies in SUVs on their way to Outback Steakhouse. No you have to drive there. You have to go in cars. Now wouldn't "neighborhood restaurant" signify a place that you can walk to? I guess not.

    How can this restaurant claim to be "your neighborhood restaurant" when there is no neighborhood? I just don't get it. It would be more appropriate to say "Your strip shopping center restaurant" or "your collector road restaurant"

    I refuse to patronise this restaurant on this misleading commercial alone. Also, I cannot, in good conscience, pay to eat at an establishment that contributes to traffic congestion, contributes to drainage problems by having an oversized parking lot, steals business from older, local establishments, or funnels money down to some corporate fatcats in Atlanta or wherever their bloated headquarters are.

    Oh, and their food is overpriced too.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    I'd like to pickup on your statement that you cannot walk to any of these new establishments. One rare Saturday night my husband and I went shopping at Nordstrom's (The Rack) and popped across the street to eat. This is the 28th St shopping district in GR. THere are absolutely no sidewalks for miles. We parked by Outback Steaks and the wait was toooo long, so we picked our way across lots and forgotten landscape islands to another place. Hardly any of the lots are interconnected and there is no pedestrian culture at all.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    There is one at about Rainbow Blvd & 39th in K.C.K. near Kansas University Medical Center. That’s in the old neighborhood my family is from. And it is the "edge-hood." It is my perception that Applebee’s actually markets towards a Black/Urban clientele in the Midwest. Good for them.

    Speaking of: Is there anyone out there that doesn't think McDonald’s and Burger King’s commercials targeting blacks are anything but the most stereotypical "hip hop" embarrassing crap? If I was black I think I'd be raising hell - those commercials are insulting and play upon some and maybe even reinforce some bad stereotypes.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    Aug 2001
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    Western Pennsylvania
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    Well, as long as we're talking restaurants... I hate the ones that tell you that they are the family's dinner table, and they show playful, happy families smiling their way through a restaurant meal. Maybe the one I'm thinking about is Bob Evans.

    At my dinner table, you don't get to choose from a menu.

    A restaurant owner in our town told me that the biggest problem with eating in town is that a family might meet there and need 2 or 3 parking spaces. We have a small dowtown area and parking can be a problem.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Can I offer a contrarian viewpoint?

    The town that I work for doesn't take a proactive stance towards economic development. Still, though, town leaders are desperate for a good restaurant. The nearest "quality" restaurants are about 10 km to the west. The adjacent larger community, because of its downscale demographics, is filled with greasy spoons, sports bars and fast food joints -- noplace considered "nice."

    When chain restaurants look at a location, they don't see if they'll be a pioneer, if they'll be the only "good restaurant" in the area. They use a standard formula that includes traffic counts, accessibility to the site, the presence of a certain amount of high-paying daytime jobs near the restaurant, and a ccertain amount of high per-capita income families near the place, Thus, you'll see clusters with tens of quality chain restaurants -- the numbers work there. What about someplace with enough middle and upper-middle class families to theoretically support one or two good restaurants? Nope -- if the formula doesn't work, forget it.

    We're not just a neighborhood without a restaurant -- we're a TOWN without a restaurant. Town leaders would love to have an Applebee's -- the chain has no presence whatsoever in Orlando's western suburbs. The store buildings are usually well designed, with no offensive architectural elements acting as "trade dress." It's an unpretentious, affordable restaurant wth quality food and interior furnishings, a good "first date" kind of place, which isn't done up with the pseudo-Celtic or stuff-hanging-everywhere-on-the-walls theme of other places. It's a pretty good fit for the town, actually.

    (When I was asked by my P&Z Board "what quality chain restaurants do you think would locate here, given the numbers and the blue-collar demographics of the adjacent municipality;" I could think of only two. One ... any good barbecue place. There's little daytime employment from offices, but a HUGE amount of construction-related traffic. Rednecks like their 'cue. Two ... Hooters. Seriously. It has a huge appeal among the blue-collar crowd, who are willing to pay a few extra bucks to see bodacious waitresses while they're hauling dirt or drywall between Orlando and Clermont, and the food is halfway decent.)

    Whether it's a growing, affluent town where there's noplace to eat out, or a spaghetti bowl of suburban streets, they're all still neighborhoods in the eyes of the people that live there.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The Cheese State
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    I also work for a community that would like an Applebee's. Hell, we'd like a Denny's. We would let them have their parking lot, but there would be standards. Landscaping. Pedestrian access. A building sited forward on the lot, with parking to the side and rear. A site more or less contiguous to existing development. Tied into the community, if not perfectly.

    I just toured another community yeasterday. They were proud of all the commercial development they have going on. Many of us groaned. Same old same old. Large parking lots with no landscaping, mediocre buildings to the rear, no sidewalks much less pedestrian access from the street to the building. Most developers and chains will give you more if you require it, but some communities still don't understand.

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