“From a strategic perspective, Applebee's has returned to its roots. We have embraced our core DNA as the neighborhood place folks come to connect with family and friends, and we remain fixated on restaurant-level excellence and guest satisfaction is our top priority,” Cywinski said at the time.
On February 4, Applebee’s unveiled its latest campaign, intended for all the “Runaround Sue’s” out there. The message is that there’s always an occasion, ballet lessons, working late, last-minute cooking, where you could use someone to do the cooking for you. It’s a push for Applebee’s rapidly growing Carside To-Go business (Cywinski was actually responsible for that initiative, too) while sticking to the everyday vibe and personality the chain wants to reinforce. The music is classic and the message straightforward. And it’s right in Applebee’s wheelhouse. At the same time, it highlights what’s rapidly becoming a booming channel (off-premises upped 37 percent this past quarter to about 10 percent of total sales mix).
Applebee’s new CMO, Joel Yashinsky, took some time to chat with FSR about the chain’s fresh campaign and how it’s continued to dial back the good vibes. He joined Applebee’s in January from McDonald’s, where he most recently served as the marketing president of McDonald’s USA.
Firstly, talk about the inspiration behind the new campaign, and how it came about.
While this ad highlights Applebee’s guests’ need for convenience and experience with To Go, it is really about the simple insight of providing a critical solution for our guests’ needs. While our restaurants provide a comfortable escape from the daily grind, sometimes they need an easy on-the-go solution. Through insights that our guests share with us daily, we know that this will be very relatable to families across America in 2019.
Given Applebee's push over the last year or so to return to its core values, specifically the "Eatin' good in the neighborhood" verbiage, how is this new campaign an extension of that premise? How does it fit into that positioning and direction?
“Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood” means stopping by your local Applebee’s to escape from a hectic day to enjoy good food and drinks. By extending this notion to eating occasions outside of the restaurant, we’re filling a need for our guests who, like the hero character in the ad, don’t always have time for a sit-down experience but want to enjoy Applebee’s. We’ll even bring it out to your car.