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Applebee's Service/Food Which was WORSE???????????>>>BOTH Stank!!

Last night at 8:20PM I wanted a beer, burger and soup. Since I'm caring for and ill, aged parent in South Florida, there isn't much to choose from in the area that is open and serving hot food after 8PM on a Sunday Night.

So, in desperation, I went to Applebee's on Boynton Beach Blvd.

I was alone, and sat at the bar, there were 4 other customers at the bar as well. I ordered a small draught ale and was given a menu. I looked through the menu and was pleased to see that burgers were available cooked to order, Pink or not Pink. At home, Applebee's will only serve well done burgers, so I never order one. I placed an order for a rare Burger and an Onion Soup at 8:35. The bartender informed me the burger would be as rare as possible.

The bartender (female) placed the check in front of me and went about her business. At 8:42 my burger was delivered. I was not surprised that it was well done, as nowhere on the computer issued check, did the word 'RARE' appear. I next saw the bartender/server at 8:50. I asked if they had to send to another restaurant for my soup. Her reply: "I must have forgotten to enter your order." I said, "No, it's on the check" she then said, "I don't get any help, and I'm stuck working open to close."

Personally, I don't give a rat's a$$ how many hours this employee works, she should complain to the manager, not the customer. She input my order, and should have made sure I got the soup, then the meal.

No manager was available, I asked.

I paid and left a meager tip for poor service. As I walked out, to add insult to injury, there was a large sign informing me that the Ale I ordered was the drink of the month, and for each ordered I should have received a free one. I was really ticked off.

When I got home, I went to Applebee's website and filled out their contact us/complaint form.
Sure enough, when you hit submit, nothing happens. Theie website is as useless as their employees.
So this morning I telephoned corporate and made my complaint. I was told that fixing the website could take time, and they would forward my complaint to the franchisee, who has 4 business days to contact me.

For now, I'll avoid any restaurant run by GATOR APPLE.

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    1. re: Fibber McGee

      never heard of or seen Carolina Ale House..........
      Where, what, etc?

      1. re: bagelman01

        Hope I'm not being presumptuos, but since you said Boytnon Beach Blvd I'm assuming you're in Boynton Beach. Carolina Ale House, a small chain, is on Congress where Hops used to be.

        Yes, it's still a chain, but much, much better than Applebee's.

        1. re: Fibber McGee

          after reading your post, I looked at their website and called them. Unfortunately, they will only serve burgers medium well or well.................

          1. re: bagelman01

            Ah. Well, at least you do have other Sunday later options when you're not in the mood for a burger where you can actually taste the burger itself.

            1. re: Fibber McGee

              Thanks, but this post was about bad food and bad service at a particular chain.
              I was looking for responses based on experiences at that chain.

              If I want recommendations for dining in Boynton, I'll post on the Florida board.

              1. re: bagelman01

                Apologies, so, in the vein of the thread you started:

                I have always found I received better service at Applebee's when I was sitting in the bar area. I've never had a horrible experience, but then again I usually don't risk much more than what's on the appetizers menu. The quesadillas aren't half bad. I have never heard a positive story, Chowhound or otherwise, about the occasional all-you-can-eat specials they have, such as their riblets.

                Yours was undoubtedly an experience to remember, and not just a low-expectations-led grouse. Some chains have them more than others. I think Applebee's might be the most hated chain on these boards.

                1. re: Fibber McGee

                  As bad as my experience at the bar was, I hate to have table experience.

                  Each Applebee's franchisee runs service at different standards. I live 2/3 week in CT and you could not pay me to eat or drink in Applebee's due to poor service.

                  I live 1/3 week in Northern Mass. I have a light supper at the bar in the Applebee's every other Thursday night in Leominster and the service is exceptional. The bartender always brings a fresh hot basket of nachos and salsa n/c with my first drink. All staff is attentive. Food comes out fast and hot. It's still Applebee's food, but served correctly.

                  Now I now that the franchisee, GATOR APPLE, who owns the Boynton location does a horrific job and I'll avoid any restaurant they own when in South Florida.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    The bartender said it would be as rare as possible. Plus, I enjoyed how the original poster timed his meal, as in 8:42. I'm surprised it wasn't 8:42 and 35 seconds. He admitted the town rolled up the sidewalks at 8 pm. I wouldn't expect perfect food and service at that hour, I know we have some local coastal Texas towns that are the same, lucky if anything at all is open. With the soup, mistakes happen, smart a$$ comments aren't needed.

                    1. re: James Cristinian

                      Sometimes, well done is as close to rare as possible......at least at Applebee's

                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        Yes mistakes happen, and good servers (and managers fix them). Living in the digital age it is not unusual to look at one's watch or cel phone and see time displayed to the minute.

                        Forgetting about my soup, and then lying about it and saying it was never entered when it was on the check is unexcusable, saying I'm sorry, I forgot is acceptable and maybe excusable. Not entering the burger as rare is unacceptable. The kitchen did it's job correctly, the bartender/server was the lazy and useless one.

                        If a restaurant is open and serving its full menu until 10PM, then ordering at about 8:30 should be problematic. I could understand lesser performance at 9:30.

      2. Sounds like a typical Applebees to me. Two trips about a month apart did it for me and that was 10 years ago. I'll never forget the ramekin of dried out sour cream with cracks in it and the horseradish sauce that the airbrained server brought for tarter sauce for the fried hard as a rock seafood platter. That was the first visit, I'll spare you the second.

        1. bagelman, what about Brewzzi in Boca? Go there and you'll get enough food for a week.

          Surely they are open past 8 on Sundays and can fix you a decent burger. They have good beer too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob W

            I wasn't looking for recommendations, and certainly wouldn't travel to Boca for a burger. I'm here for a short stay caring for a ill parent and wouldn't leave for more than 45 minutes.
            But thanks anyway.

            This had to do with bad food and bad service at a particular chain.

          2. To be fair, I think it's pretty normal to expect others familiar with the area to respond to your post and say gee, you didn't have to eat at Applebee's, you could have gone to X or Y instead, thus hoping to prevent you from having another bad meal. If you only wanted responses that are people commisserating about how bad Applebee's is (which you could find plenty of on CH, I'm sure), you should have titled your post "Bad meal at Applebee's - you too?" or something.

            I mean, sure, maybe the other place won't cook your burger rare, but you're bound to have better food and service, right? I just didn't think the snark was justified to either of the people who responded to you with other suggestions.

            That being said, I quit going to applebee's long ago. The last couple of times I went, it was so bad I kept vowing never to go back, ever. But other people really seem to like it so I kept getting dragged back. Now I beg to go some place else if people suggest Applebee's. If a group is meeting there, I just beg off and don't go rather than face their awful food.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rockandroller1

              bagelman might be (1) under a lot of stress with the parent thing or (2) new to ch, so I'll cut him some slack. Had I known he just wanted to vent, I wouldn't have offered any assistance.

              Back to Applebee's. Even my five-year-old twins have already figured out how rotten their food is, so we never get the "We want to go to Applebee's!" chant. Fortunately. In the past week we've taken them for dim sum and Ethiopian food. Things could be a lot worse, no?

              1. re: Bob W

                #1 yes
                #2 NO

                I deliberately posted this under chains, not Florida as I wanted to vent/discuss bad frood and bad service at Applebees.

                Too many Chowhounders go off in many directions, meaning well, but not responding to the OP.

                I have owned a vacation home in the area for 25 years, and if it wasn't Sunday night after 8Pm (when they roll up the sidewalks, I would have had many, many better choices.

            2. I don't know the Boynton Applebees, if I have to go at all then it's the Delray location on Jog. Service there is only any good if we get one of three waitresses, the rest suck. I remember still eating my soup and my main arrived 2 minutes later. Server didn't know where to put anything so we asked him to take the entrees away and refire the whole dish (not reheat) for 10 minutes later.
              If the waitresses I like have full stations we now wait till a table empties in their section.

              1. There's a reason this place is called Crapplebee's in my world. Basically overpriced nuked frozen food.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MandalayVA

                  Crapplebee's, yes indeed. Possibly the worst meal/service/drinks I've had in the last 25 years. The only thing going for the experience were the numerous large screen TV's all tuned to baseball, yay.
                  Drinks: Large but badly made margaritas. Cold beer, though.
                  Food: Cheaply made and cheap tasting.
                  Service: Virtually non-existant, except when it came to getting the check.
                  That one Applebee's dining experience was 1,000 too many.

                2. I have never had a good experience at Applebee's. I have never had a BAD experience, but nothing on their menu has ever wowed me. I love a good burger and like yourself, I like it pink in the middle. I will never order another burger from Applebee's, someone needs to show them how a burger is done, because their's are mediocre to the point of being offensive.

                  1. On my micros checks you can't see the special prep notes on the customer bill. The cooks can see it on their food chits, but only the line items print out on the bill. You never know, it could have been entered, but you might not have the ability to see it?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mag454

                      As it happens, I have been contacted by the Restaurant GM and the District manager for Gator Apple (Franchisee). The bartender/server NEVER bothered to enter the word PINK in the system for my order. The only choices are PINK--must be entered or NOT PINK--no entry needed. The work PINK does appear on the customer check if entered by the server.
                      An earlier poster made fun of my knowing the times that service problems occurred. Those times I made note of allowed the managers to look up this transaction and see that the bartender/server did indeed lie to me about not enteriong my soup order, and about entering a request for a rare burger. In fact, the GM told me that the proper response to my request for a rare burger should have been: "we can cook it PINK"

                      The GM and ditrict managers had a much greater concern than the bad service I received. They want to know where the manager on duty was, apparently the MOD absented him/herself from the premises fro more than an hour leaving no one in charge.

                      I was offered a gift certificate as an apology, but explained that I am 1400 miles away and it would be of little use. They mailed it anyway. I'd rather have gotten a refund for items rec'd not as ordered.

                      My parent was rushed back into the hospital this week and I had to return to Boynton this morning, I won't be going to Applebees, even to use the gift certificate. I gave it to one of the aides at Delray Community Hospital who has been attending to my parent.

                    2. While I agree it is frustrating to have bad service and more frustrating to not get answers you want...I also find it hard to believe that someone can base one isolated experience in one establishment as the reason for not going back to any of the other establishments associated with that brand.

                      We have all had bad experiences in many places...but if we based our decision to go back to the other locations based on one location, then we begin to lose the parody in our choices. You should rethink your stance and look at the bigger picture...everyone has a bad day and everyone deserves another opportunity. How was your day when you decided to go there? Sometimes that plays a part in our mood.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: toddgeller

                        9 months after the posting and you decide to play shrink.
                        I had a great day before going to that horrific Applebee's.

                        I have complained about Applebee's in other posts and concerning other locations. This was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back.

                        This was far from one isolated experience at one isolation location.

                        As far as I am concerned, Applebee's sucks, boith food and service. They've had their chances in more than 8 states and numerous locations over the years, and they'll not get my presence or dollars again.

                        In my home area they've been closing locations, as people will not pay for their bad food and service.

                        BTW>>>the reason people go to a 'name brand' is the expectation of a standard met. Franchisors and franchisees spend big bucks to assure compliance to standards.

                        At one time I worked for a franchise comnpliance corporation, who undercovered shopped Applebbe's for corporate to ensure standards were met. A number of franchises were pulled when stardards were not met. In this recession, the company has cut back on these expenditures and it is biting them in the ass.
                        If Applebee's doesn't weed out the bad locations and staff, it will go the way of Bennigan's and Howard Johnson's. Out of Business.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          I'll back BagelMan up on the service. SO and I went into AB for a drink and some food on our way to another event. About 2:30 in the afternoon, mid week. We were quickly seated, as soon as we walked in. After sitting in our seat for 15 minutes w/o so much as an acknowledgment much less water, menu or anyone willing to take our order, we walked out. We've never been back, nor will we. Maybe it was 'only one chance' as TG stated but really, it wasn't even busy. SO even told the hostess as we left, "We won't be back"

                        2. re: toddgeller

                          Applebees doesnt deserve anything, they are by far one of the WORST chains in America. I liked them at one point - years ago - and they have gone down hill to the point of no return, they will be out of business in 2 years.

                          1. re: joe777cool

                            Not so sure that they will be out in 2 years if the one by me is any indication. The place is routinely packed and it is not unusual to have to wait for a table. This is in the SF Bay Area where much better options are easliy available. I think it has to do with their incredibly cheap menu in these tough economic times. My kids like it so I am there occasionally.