Hungry for company? There's an App(lebee's) for that
May 16th, 2014
12:45 PM ET
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The next time you settle in to an Applebee's for a beer and some queso blanco, you may be struck with the urge to speak with one of your fellow patrons. But, instead of just turning to the booth behind you, or (gasp!) walking up to a nearby table full of strangers, why not use an app?

“What’s Applebee's” (a play on What’s App, the target of a recent $19 billion Facebook acquisition) advertises itself as the latest hot new social network. The app allows you to connect with other Applebee’s fans around the country.

But this is a highly exclusive network; you must be physically inside an Applebee’s to use it. Think of it as a virtual red velvet rope.

Applebee’s is no stranger to social media attention. In addition to the millions of likes for their Facebook page, they have ravenous fans and one man even developed a blog dedicated to his interactions with the brand. But, the ownership of “The Bee’s” (the Applebee's core, if you will) confirms this is no official app, though they’re flattered by the attention.

Dan Smith, spokesman for the Kansas City, Missouri-based company, says that it’s no surprise that people wonder if the app is actually associated with the Applebee's chain, because of the brand’s “dynamic and strong social following.”

For all the sarcastic fun the app espouses, including the joking reviews from some ironic users, the goal isn’t a multi-billion dollar buyout or the search for brand recognition.

Developer Mike Lazer-Walker says there’s actually more behind what appears to be such an absurd app: it’s intended to start a deeper conversation.

“It mostly came out of frustration with the current tech industry,” he said, “seeing so many of my friends and colleagues spending so much time at work building completely meaningless things.”

The intention was to create something that’s so outwardly silly, yet just on the cusp of plausible in today’s landscape of social-media driven brand engagement. “There's so much talent being wasted on apps that don't actually make people any happier,” Lazer-Walker said.

So, if the capabilities of technology are speeding past the public’s ability to really harness their benefits, what’s the solution?

Lazer-Walker doesn’t know, but he hopes that starting that conversation may guide us down the road closer to an answer.

For now, even he admittedly spends most of his time on the phone playing games.

Asked if he uses “What’s Applebee's,” Lazer-Walker says he checks in from time to time using a special build that affords him access from anywhere. And, while he hasn’t befriended any strangers through the app yet, he “did have one guy e-mail me to invite me to his birthday party.”

And if he gets hungry? They do have that "2 for $20" deal - and surely someone will want to share.

Give a snarky quip (and no tip) and thy receipt shall end up on the internet

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Filed under: Applebee's • Chain • Restaurants • Social Media

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Why?

    Why all the hatin on the Bee?
    They do a pretty good sirloin, and free meals for vets? What is wrong with that?

    May 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm |
  2. Infinitus Max

    Ate at one just once, which was enough. Personally, the food was too bland for me.

    May 19, 2014 at 8:09 pm |
  3. Shart Vader

    Apple beez? Nikka please!

    May 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm |
  4. AleeD®

    Went this weekend for a Quesadilla burger. When you're having a hankerin', nothing else will do. Yum

    May 19, 2014 at 7:28 am |
    • TNT

      If I ever go there again, I will try that. I haven't had anything there that I just had to go back for. All tho, the fajitas weren't too bad.

      May 19, 2014 at 7:59 am |
  5. Thinking things through

    We have an Applebee's near me. Somewhere I have a gift certificate for it. Dunno if it is still good, but I am personally not in a rush to find out.

    May 16, 2014 at 8:43 pm |
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