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Applebee’s: A Terrible Customer Service Experience

Applebee's 13th St & Greenwich, Wichita, KS

Today, my wife and I had an unexpected break as my mother-in-law offered to take the kids for an afternoon. We chose to use the time to dine out and see a movie, the movie, Hidden Figures was fantastic, however, our dining experience at Applebee’s on 13th & Greenwich, Wichita was disappointing.

We had allocated just under an hour to eat, which should have been enough time as the movie theater was just across the parking lot. My wife and I had arrived a little after 2:20pm, we were seated and our server collected our drinks order, which, incidentally she got wrong. My wife asked for an iced mango lemonade and a shot of Patron, what arrived at our table was an alcoholic margarita and a shot of Patron. My wife gracefully accepted the incorrect order before patiently waiting for our food order to be taken.

The wife and I are talking when I pull out my phone to check the time, it was now 2:49pm and our server had not returned to take our food order. At this point, we did not have time for food to be prepared and to eat it being just 20 minutes away from showtime. My wife walked up to the bar, where she went unacknowledged for a few minutes until after I joined her, we just wanted to pay and leave at that point.

Our server finally came out from the back to close out our check and made some excuse that she had to work the bar and wait tables. Which is a poor excuse given that there was one other couple in the restaurant, so they were not busy, no excuse for the tardiness of service? A 25-minute wait when its quiet is unacceptable. I don’t blame the server, there was no need for her to be tending bar and waiting tables, c’mon Applebee’s, staff your restaurants properly and give customers the service they deserve.

We asked to see the manager, who apologized but made zero effort to make it right. We explained the situation and that we had to leave for our movie, she just suggested we come back after our movie, no offer of a free meal or even a discount on the drinks my wife ordered and could not drink. We literally paid $17 for nothing as the drink was left on the table while we grabbed some food in the movie theater.

It’s a great shame that Applebee’s have such apathetic managers and staff at this location, normally service is good at this restaurant, albeit in the evenings, this was our first-afternoon visit. And sadly, it’s likely to be our last visit and will not recommend this specific restaurant to friends and family.

I tweeted out my displeasure and someone from their social media dept pointed me to their website to submit my complaints, which I did. We’ll see if they respond to me in 3 to 5 days like they claim. At least the movie was great, a real feel good story, taking away some of the sour taste left in my mouth.

UPDATE [Feb, 8 2017, 9:31]: This Wednesday morning, I did indeed receive a phone call from Applebee’s regional management office to follow up on my complaints. Their representative said that he would send us out a gift card to make up for the treatment we received during our visit. It’s good to see that Applebee’s as a corporation care about their image, I say image and not customers as in today’s connected world, customers can express their displeasure immediately, at their location. Anyway, I digress, this whole situation could have been avoided by better customer service at the location.

UPDATE [Feb, 10 2017, 16:34]: We received the gift cards, which totaled $20 and unfortunately, they are only valid in the offending location, so we probably won’t bother using them. Hopefully, the staff members that provided the poor service, who were talked to by regional management as claimed in the letter sent to me realize the error of their ways and provide better service to other patrons in future.

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