ELV usually doesn’t eat at possessive restaurants (Applebee’s, Chili’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, et al), but occasionally his staff does. To us, they symbolize all that is wrong with eating and eating out in America. The faux homey-ness, prepackaged protein, mass-marketed fat, carbs and sugar are revolting to anyone who cares about what they put in their bodies. And that preternatural cheeriness and forced fun is cheesy beyond belief. But as we all know, cheesiness (in all its forms) is what sells food to A-mur-i-cans.
Nothing corporate America has ever done with food (with the possible exception of milk) has ever been beneficial to the American diet. And the cheap sustenance put out by corporate chains are one of the reasons America is the only country on earth where the poor folks are fat.
But there’s no underestimating the power of the marketing dollars to keep the hoi polloi thinking they’re getting something good, when, in fact, they’re not.
Now, along comes this NYTimes article last week to trumpet what some new executive will do to hype Applebee’s stock to new heights, on the strength of whatever “drink equity” or “re-branding” con she can pull off to keep the opiate of cheap, fast food flowing to the credulous masses.
Needless to say, it was the most depressing thing ELV read all week….with the possible exception of the pre-season forecasts for the San Francisco Forty-Niner’s.
And believe it or not, I actually reviewed an Applebee’s once for Nevada Public Radio. Click here to hear my review, but keep in mind it was done on a dare. To endure the evening, I recruited celebrity chef Rick Moonen, chef and Master Sommelier Steven Geddes and uber-wine-guy Jaime Smith for my foray into the world of nasty nachos, syrupy barbecue sauce and fishy ribs.