Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar announced Monday it has completed a $75 million overhaul of its menu in hopes of revitalizing the chain to increase foot traffic and boost same store sales.
The casual-dining restaurant known for its hand-crafted drinks and American fare is kicking off the “largest and most comprehensive marketing and advertising campaign of its history,” according to the company.
As part of the menu revamp, the chain owned by Glendale restaurant operator DineEquity Inc. has installed American-made, wood-fired grills as the centerpiece in roughly 2,000 of its U.S. restaurants. The new grills will be used to cook new menu items including Sirloin steaks and bone-in pork chops. The restaurants previously used gas grills.
This announcement follows a disappointing quarter for the restaurant operator that resulted in same-store sales for Applebee’s that declined by 3.7 percent compared to the year ago quarter.
For the first quarter ending March 31, DineEquity reported earnings of $29.1 million ($1.58 per share) on revenue of $163 million for the quarter. This fell short of street estimates of $1.69 a share on revenue of $166 million.
DineEquity said this is the first of a series of changes to come.
“We’re in the midst of a transformation at Applebee’s, and we are recommitting ourselves to every aspect of the guest experience,” Julia Stewart, DineEquity chief executive said in a statement. “This goes far beyond a few new menu items or a limited-time offer. This is the biggest investment in culinary excellence in the company’s history.”
Shares closed up 38 cents or half a percent to $82.29 on the New York Stock Exchange.