Customers can order online at Applebees.com as well as the restaurant’s mobile app. The company is offering free delivery through Sept. 1, and every Sunday through football season.
“This latest Applebee’s Delivery innovation allows our neighbors to enjoy their favorite Applebee’s dishes wherever they are,” said Scott Gladstone, vice president of strategy, off-premise and development at Applebee’s. “Within the casual dining category, we continue to be at the forefront of innovation in off-premise offerings, and will continue to look for ways to make enjoying our food available to our guests for any occasion. Plus, there is nothing more satisfying than having warm, delicious food delivered to you, wherever you are — with free delivery.”
In a recent interview with PYMNTS, Gladstone expanded on how mobile order-ahead behavior by consumers is reshaping how people view casual dining.
“[In the broader retail landscape], behavior is changing, and guests are more comfortable consuming and purchasing things on their phones and online,” Gladstone said. “Consumption patterns are changing, [too, and] most restaurant concepts in casual dining are really pursuing to-go because it’s incremental — and it’s where the customer is going.”
Even though Applebee’s has launched its national delivery service, on-premise dining is the core of the business, and it’s likely to remain as such in the near future. The restaurant chain is recognizing the growing importance of offering mobile order-ahead and online ordering channels, however.
Its dine-in and order-to-pickup offerings don’t compete thus far, according to Gladstone. Instead, order-ahead services seem to cater to the millennial crowd and to customers who are too busy to dine in. Meanwhile, Applebee’s Carside to Go takeout diners tend to have children or pets in their cars, making it more difficult for them to come into the restaurant.
“They want to have that Applebee’s experience, but they might not have the time, or it’s not the right occasion to consume it in the restaurant,” he explained.
One major difference between dine-in and pickup orders is readily apparent: Gladstone said consumers who eat in tend to order more beverages than those who take their items to go. These order-ahead customers are taking their meals home, where they may already have drinks, but check totals tend to be comparable when it comes to food items.