Applebee's Bruschetta Burger Menu Picture Vs Reality


Reader Megan is troubled by the strange, slimy cylinder of fries she received from Applebee’s:

I went to dinner at the Applebee’s in Woodland, CA a couple nights ago and ordered their bruschetta burger. As soon as I saw my order, I immediately took a picture and thought Consumerist needed to see it because it fits so well in the ad v. reality posts. The burger itself was a bit sloppy, but still looked similar to the menu picture. The fries, however, were a different story. In the menu photo, “garlic parmesan fries” are served in a ramekin and look quite tasty. Instead, I was served a cylinder of slimy, greasy fries with a couple pieces of parmesan cheese on top.

Enjoy!

Ohh, we know where we’re heading for lunch! No, just kidding.

(Photo: defective burger)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. BobCoyote says:

    I sincerely hope Megan sent those fries back…

  2. jbohanon says:

    I remember reading once that the majority of food you see in advertisements would probably hospitalize you if you tried to eat them. For instance, they use glue instead of milk in cereal commercials to make the “milk” pour slower and the cereal bounce a little. This might be the only case of the opposite.

  3. Schminteresting says:

    hahahahahahahah. Sorry. That’s kinda funny. Gross, but funny as in I-can’t-believe-they’d-actually-serve-that funny. I’d totally send that back.

    Oh, and I’m just waiting for the obligatory “that’s what you get for eating at Applebee’s/a chain restaurant”.. c’mon, I know someone’s gonna say it..

  4. DashTheHand says:

    I would have thought that people would realize by now that Applebees, TGI Fridays, Chili’s, Ruby Tuesdays, and all similar sit-down ‘fast foods’ were not actually gourmet meal restaurants. Silly me.

    No really, your meal is like what, 10 bucks or less? Its about as good for you as a McDonalds meal. You want good food, go to a real restaurant where they require things like a dress code and the wait staff don’t wear ‘flair.’

    • ShizaMinelli says:

      @DashTheHand: It’s not a consumer’s fault that they want semi-decent food for the semi-decent price. This whole “blame the victim” mentality is asinine.

  5. blue_duck says:

    Those fries look glued together. Tasty…

  6. DashTheHand says:

    Yea, send the food back, that’ll teach them as they sneeze on the next order they send out.

  7. acambras says:

    That reminds me of church potluck dinners I attended as a child. One lady would always bring some sort of congealed salad. It was amazing the kind of stuff you’d see suspended in Jello. The photo here looks like a congealed french fry salad.

  8. DeeJayQueue says:

    Ok, those fries are foul. I’d have sent them back and told them to try again.

    Just to make a point that I’m sure will be echoed many times over, Photos of food are so staged and groomed that they bear no resemblance to what you’re going to get no matter what. They simply can’t make a real burger look like the one in the picture, because the picture isn’t of a real burger. Photographers use all kinds of fake food and other chemical substitutes for things because real food doesn’t hold up under the intense lights they use, and it just doesn’t photograph well. Photo shoots can last hours, sometimes a whole day, just getting the lighting right and making things look just perfect. No real food would hold up that long, and if it did I wouldn’t want to eat it.

    I generally don’t expect things to look as pretty as the photo, but man those fries were nasty.

  9. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    Those fries don’t even look cooked! Gross!!!

  10. blue_duck says:

    @DashTheHand: Such hostility…

  11. Schminteresting says:

    @DashTheHand: Ding ding ding! I knew someone would say that.

    Seriously, though, because Applebee’s isn’t a ‘gourmet meal restaurant’ you shouldn’t expect your fries to be properly cooked? Interesting argument.

  12. Saboth says:

    Applebees is one of the few chain restaraunts I refuse to eat at, because it is usually sub-par. The food isnt good, the atmosphere is too corporate and the “deals” aren’t that great. I recall a deceptive ad they ran a few years back that made it seem like you bought a meal and got one free. The picture showed 2 plates of food and something like “buy one get one”. Well, turns out you got a meat entree, and you could get a second piece of meat “free”. Never been back.

    • Paperclippe says:

      @Saboth: Are you sure? My aunt works at an Applebee’s and I remember that campaign, as that was the first time I had even been to an Applebee’s; we definitely got a second entree free (obviously, the cheaper one was free, but still…).

  13. BeastMasterJ says:

    I had that burger once. It was tasty, and my fries were fine. Seriously, anything that looks like it plopped out of a can needs to be returned. I think (hope?) this was just an aberration between franchises.

  14. Zanpakuto says:

    That sounds about right for an Applebee’s. I recently took my family to one in Oregon during our summer vacation. Normally I can’t stand Applebee’s as I’ve always found the food to be overpriced and bland but I figured it’s been a few years and it beats the McDonald’s that was across the street.

    My wife and I had the lunch specials, soup and a sandwich (and some fries). The soups were very salty and very tepid. The sandwiches that made up the other half of the lunch special weren’t too bad, a bit greasy but easily washed down with some of their tepid coffee, or in my wife’s case, super sweet lemonade.

    Service was pretty mediocre, I think I tipped $2, a buck for each meal.

    Speaking of service, I’m used to food servers coming by every 10-15 minutes just to glance at your drinks but that seems to be a thing of the past, so here’s my tip for getting your coffee refilled more often: put your empty cup right at the edge of the table. They seem to notice that more, I don’t know if it’s because they are worried that you’re going to knock the cup over or what, but they will come by with a pot of coffee, refill your cup and put it done away from the edge. :)

    • @Zanpakuto: Wow, how’s the weather up there on your horse? No wonder the waiter didn’t want to come near your table with an attitude like that. Also, a dollar a meal? You get what you tip for.

      • Pyrusticia says:

        @Vivelafat says Vive La Obama: Or rather, you get the tip you earn. Normally, you tip after the meal. Zanpakuto didn’t say anything about pulling the stunt where you stack bills up and take them away, or anything cute like that. He just didn’t receive a level of attention that satisfied him, and he left a tip that reflected that dissatisfaction. If the waiter/waitress had been more attentive, he would’ve left more. Where’s the high horse there?

    • evixir says:

      @Zanpakuto: I do that same thing with an empty water glass if they don’t seem to notice I’m out. Usually gets their attention pretty quickly.

  15. mrjimbo19 says:

    Thats just gross, I hope as others have said it was either not eaten and not paid for or sent back and corrected. I could understand being slightly different then the picture but I have never seen a “fry log” before

  16. floofy says:

    I ate at Applebee’s a few days ago. While my food did not look as disgusting as the fry glob, I did get the sh*ts for 2 days. :(

  17. blue_duck says:

    Who knew fries came out of a can?

  18. DashTheHand says:

    @Schminteresting: First off I wouldn’t eat at one of said chain restaurants because the food is overpriced, equally as bad for you as McDonalds, and they honestly give zero shits about your satisfaction as just shown by how they prepare food.

    Second, sending the food back to tell them to try again is just going to get your food sneezed in or worse. Only fools send their food back in restaurants of this type.

    Spend some time finding smaller mom & pop restaurants where the cooks actually care about what they serve patrons because they enjoy having loyal customers.

    Better yet, make it yourself. Its not like its complicated to make a burger and fries at home.

    • Paperclippe says:

      @DashTheHand: Actually, it’s way worse than McDonald’s; most sit-down restaurant burgers are over 1000 calories while McDonald’s double cheese burgers are 400 something.

      It is, however, cheaper to order vegetarian burgers at a restaurant than to make them yourself at home, especially in the case of mushroom (portobella) burgers.

  19. Pipes says:

    As with most chain restaurants, quality varies WIDELY between stores. I used to work at a Bob Evans – my store was ranked #1 in our region, and it showed. It was clean and the food was awesome. But if you went to the next nearest store (I got sent there a few times when they needed help)…man, I don’t know that I’d give that food to my dog.

    And as other commentators mentioned here, chain restaurants and a decently priced meal does not mean you can serve sub-par food. Nobody’s expecting a $10 plate to taste as good as a $50 plate, but even McDonald’s cooks their fries.

  20. morganlh85 says:

    Yeah that’s pretty gross looking. I’ve had those fries there before that were pretty good…somebody dropped the ball here obviously!

  21. Schminteresting says:

    @DashTheHand: I worked in restaurants of this type back before college and during. The whole “getting your food sneezed in or worse” argument is 99% folklore, 1% truth, in my experience. If cooks were to sneeze in (or do worse to) all food that gets sent back to the kitchen, they’d have no bodily fluids left at the end of their shift.

    I agree about finding smaller mom & pop restaurants, but I don’t believe it’s fair to lump every chain restaurant into the “uncaring” category. I’ve been to some wonderfully managed and well-staffed chain restaurants.

  22. spinachdip says:

    @jbohanon: I’ve been on a few commercial shoots and it’s a lot of fun to watch the food makeup people at work.

    But yeah, the stuff you see in print ads and on TV are not edible. Pretty amusing to watch the actors take a bite, act like it’s the tastiest food in the world, then spit it out.

  23. bohemian says:

    It looks like they jammed the fries into a cup and then dispensed them upside down into the ramekin.

    Even sit down fast food like Applebees bears some responsibility to serve you something edible and at least meeting the basic expectation of not totally gross.

  24. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    Obligatory link to ads vs reality. You know, for the linkless:
    [www.thewvsr.com]

  25. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Fries like that would be acceptable if your server had enough flair.
    Insinuations that “this is what you should have expected” I am sure go right out the window when you go there to eat, friends.

  26. Beerad says:

    @DashTheHand: “Better yet, make it yourself. Its not like its complicated to make a burger and fries at home.”

    I’m going to take a wild guess and say that your average Consumerist reader doesn’t own a giant food fryer. And even assuming Megan does, she probably doesn’t want to spend over hour making her nice uncomplicated meal, including forming her hamburger from ground beef, dicing the tomatoes to make bruschetta, cooking the burger, frying the fries, etc.

    Yes, that fry-sculpture thing should be sent back posthaste. And I agree with Schminteresting that reports of kitchen staff messing with food are vastly exaggerated. I mean, there are normally lots of people working in a kitchen, and I doubt that Happy McSpitsalot is going to keep his job there for long — his coworkers will rat him out (because he’s probably a jerk in the first place) and restaurant managers generally don’t like lawsuits.

  27. ancientsociety says:

    @DashTheHand: 100% agree.

    Seriously people, the locally-owned hot dog & burger stand in ANY city in the US has better food than Applebee’s, TGI Friday’s, etc.

  28. howie_in_az says:

    Great, now I want parmesan fries.

  29. ancientsociety says:

    @Beerad:

    “I’m going to take a wild guess and say that your average Consumerist reader doesn’t own a giant food fryer. And even assuming Megan does, she probably doesn’t want to spend over hour making her nice uncomplicated meal, including forming her hamburger from ground beef, dicing the tomatoes to make bruschetta, cooking the burger, frying the fries, etc”

    Actually it’s not hard to make excellent fries @ home without a deep frier. I make fish and chips all the time at home.

    Just a chop a few potatoes into slices, immediately submerge in an ice bath and let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour (this will leech out most of the starch), heat a pot of peanut oil on high until VERY hot, drain the ice water and pat dry the potatoes, cook the potatoes in batches for about 5 mins., let them sit for about 5 mins. and then cook them again in batches until golden brown. Altogether that takes about 15 mins. of actual labor to make.

    Courtesy of Bourdain’s Les halles cookbook

  30. Jon Mason says:

    Yes, Applebee’s is not gourmet. Generally, you get what you pay for. However, she didn’t even get what she paid for – that food looks simply disgusting and is well within her rights to be complaining about it.

    Just because you choose to use a cheaper product/service doesn’t mean you’re not entitled to complain when it isn’t of even a basic quality
    (though you also shouldn’t expect it to be top quality either).

  31. liquisoft says:

    I wonder if Tyler Florence is aware that his supposed creation is coming out of a cylinder.

  32. soldierblue says:

    Yeah, lets go on the intarwebs to complain about Applebee’s messing up my fries! I would never complain to them and allow them to give fix the issue!

    I’m sorry. You’re entitled to complain, please do so to your waitress or waiter, not the Consumerist.

  33. weg1978 says:

    Having worked in several restaurants of varying class, the saddest part is how many people had to see/sign-off on that plate before it went out to the table. I know it’s Applebee’s, but come on. Perhaps they are rebelling against the degree of flatness that will be brought about by their pending sale to IHOP.

  34. samurailynn says:

    To everyone saying that people should just make the food at home:

    That is a great idea. However, there are times when you really want to just eat and not have to do anything. I am moving into an older house and doing some renovations before getting completely settled in. After working for 8 hours, and then going home and working for 4+ more hours and spending 10+ hours working on the house on weekends, there have been a few times recently that I have needed to just sit down and have someone serve me food – nothing to prepare, cook, or clean up. This is even though I am typically a cook at home kind of person.

  35. babaki says:

    that looks awful

  36. acambras says:

    @soldierblue:

    1) You don’t HAVE to read this post and its accompanying comments if you don’t find them interesting.

    2) You ask her to complain to her server — if the server, kitchen staff, and/or manager had been doing their JOBS, they would have never let anything that looked like that leave the kitchen.

  37. lalahsghost says:

    Megan, I know this is pretty inconsequential, but around what time of day did you visit the restaurant?

  38. Beerad says:

    @ancientsociety: That does sound delicious, and my hat is off to you for your culinary skills, but I tend to avoid pots of oil heated to a very high temperature in my kitchen. I have been known to fry up some delicious corn fritters on occasion, but that’s definitely the exception rather than the rule.

    I was simply suggesting that for many people the advice to “simply make it at home” isn’t really that feasible. Restaurants exist for a reason (as do accountants, doctors, tailors, etc.) — they provide a service or a good that oftentimes people would prefer to purchase rather than do themselves. And while our intrepid reader could conceivably have cooked her own burger and fries, it’s a little harder to just whip up a slab of ribs or a buffalo fried chicken sandwich.

  39. Jon Mason says:

    @samurailynn:

    Ditto – and sometimes going out to eat is just an excuse to get out of the house, or to sit and socialize with friends/family without having to getup and get yourself food/drinks and take care of cleanup etc. In those situations I’m not after the best food in the world, just a decently made meal with reasonable prices/service – it’s really not too much to ask.

  40. Asvetic says:

    They really need to post the addresses of these places. How am I supposed to know which Applebee’s to avoid if I don’t know where it is?!

  41. Obtusegoose says:

    It still baffles me when I drive by my neighborhood Applebee’s that the place is always crowded. I’ve eaten there two times in the past 5 years. Both times the food was absolutely terrible. Seeing those fries doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  42. BillyMumphry says:

    Chili’s has never done me wrong but the only thing you should do to applebees is drive by. Eaten there one time in my 24 years…no plans to return.

  43. doormat says:

    Heh, my buddies always order that when they go to Applebys (we call it the BFP burger – big F*ing pig). Its apparently really good, and the fries (when served properly) are very good as well. I try to avoid it so I can try and lose some weight.

  44. kewl132 says:

    Yeah, my dad does food photography. Some tricks include:

    Using a blowtorch to put grill marks on meat

    Glue instead of milk(lots of thing accually

    Plastic cubes instead of ice

    fake lettuce , tomatoes, and almost any sliced or cut up vegetable.

  45. My girlfriend ordered the Country Fried Chicken from Applebee’s and when it arrived, she found, under the chicken, the mashed potatoes still within a plastic bag! Needless to say she returned the item, and they came out with a new plate, but they probably just opened the bag and gave her the same food back.

  46. McWatt says:

    Why anyone who lives in or around LA would eat at an applebees is beyond me. LA is full of great mom and pop restaurants that blow that chunk of coagulated starch out of the restaurant it was served in. Just use yelp.com if you need recommendations.

  47. ancientsociety says:

    @Beerad: I didn’t mean to say that people should just make it at home and never eat out. Just that it’s VERY easy to make excellent fries (from scratch) at home.

  48. Mom2Talavera says:

    who eats at Applebee’s? Its overpriced frozen shit!
    Its just like every other(Olive garden,TGIF,red Lobster..ect) casual dining monstrosity that dots main street USA.

    Its called “food styling” and “food photography”

  49. Mom2Talavera says:

    @ancientsociety: I made some yummy roasted rutabaga fries the other night.

    @ancientsociety: exactly,People need to get a dining guide to their city and support local businesses!

  50. travisw says:

    Gross. As my wife and I call it, Crapplebee’s. The only time I eat there is because I have a gift card, and I am always disappointed.

  51. protest says:

    i hate applebees, but my boyfriend likes their burgers so i end up going more than i like. last time we went i had one of those tylor florence specials or whatever the hell they are called, it was roasted chicken with spinach salad with apples and cranberries, and came with those parmesan fries. i gotta tell you, the chicken and the salad were damn good, like i almost forgot i was in an applebees good.
    my fries looked exactly like the pretty picture but didn’t taste very good, OP didn’t miss much.

  52. MiltyKiss says:

    I’ve seen that served before and the fries sure as hell didn’t look anywhere close to that bad. Maybe it was just the “chef”?

  53. rveedee says:

    I ordered this several months ago at another California Applebees and I was really upset when my fries came molded into a shape like that. I have no idea why they chose to make it that way, especially since the fries in the picture were not shown that way. It made the fries soft and soggy and I really should have complained. The burger was very good though.

  54. ancientsociety says:

    @Mom2Talavera: Rutabega? Will have to try that, is it in season right now?

  55. OKH says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that to be a good cook and not have to rely on these places relies on relatively basic cooking skills and equipment. Further, preparing a meal with other people is a bonding experience. A burger that would smoke Applebee’s needs cheapo cast iron skillet, a food processor to grind the meat, a 50/50 blend of chuck and sirloin and kocher salt. The end. And you don’t have to worry about suspect parts like spinal cords and brains getting into your ground beef.

  56. harshmellow says:

    That looks STRANGE. Was it even hot!? How the hell do you get fries to do that!?

    @Obtusegoose: I agree–the Applebee’s near me is ALWAYS crowded, and as many people have said before, it is terrible. In fairness, I have eaten at a decent Applebee’s before, but not in my hometown…

  57. timmus says:

    Applebees is a chain restaurant I no longer go to, period. Several months ago I ordered a Cowboy Burger, and what arrived was not a made-to-order beef patty but rather a tough, thin factory patty like what you get at supermarkets. Yuck. They obviously do not care about quality.

  58. spinachdip says:

    @OKH: Comments like this aren’t helpful because they miss the point (though this one isn’t nearly as bad as the “Don’t want to overpay for childcare, don’t have a baby” comments from a few weeks back, though it’s along the same line).

    The food isn’t the issue (nor is the food the only reason we choose to eat out) – the issue is that the consumer received a product that failed to meet reasonable expectations.

    That one can create an equivalent or better product at home for cheaper doesn’t change the fact that a business should deliver on what it advertises.

  59. UpsetPanda says:

    The two applebees that i have been to were…mediocre. For 11.99 a plate, I got what I paid for. I tend to get the same thing at Applebees because I am wary of “taking chances” at chain restaurants. At least if I go to an expensive restaurant, and the food isn’t to my liking, there’s the restaurant experience to fall back on. Applebees? Not really.

    I think it’s also about being wise in knowing where you are eating. I don’t expect prime rib at Applebees to taste just as good as prime rib at Morton’s. I expect to have good service at both places though and that is definitely not what the OP got.

  60. royal72 says:

    i know it sucks and yes they should make their food look like the picture, but we should know better in the first place… think of the last tv dinner you had, how it looked and how it tasted. now fast forward to the next time your having dinner at (crap)plebees or any other quasi-fastfood chain and remember the following:
    (a) you needed to get your lazy ass off the couch, so you could watch your sports program on the bar tv across the room, while pretending to be interested in the conversation of whomever your with.
    (b) there are actual plates, utensils, and napkins that you don’t have to clean up, so use them.
    (c) the flare infested server bringing you the garbage pretending to be anything, but a tv dinner, is just as unhappy to be there as you are (note: tip well).
    (d) tv dinner+flare+no dishes=(crap)plebees… or claim jumper/ ruby’s/ marie callendar’s/ sizzler/ chili’s/ macaroni grill/ bob’s big boy/ outback/on the border/ cpk/ deny’s/ friday’s/ houlihan’s/ red lobster/ red robin/ coco’s/ ihop/ bennigan’s/ hard rock cafe/ chi-chi’s/ etc.

  61. soldierblue says:

    @acambras:
    Don’t equate my response as a lack of interest. The point of all this to ensure the consumer is treated fairly and with respect. Not to ensure the consumers experience is completely perfect. Yes, they let disgusting looking fries leave the kitchen. Should they have? No. But is it a big deal? Absolutely not. Just ask for new fries and go about your business there. This incident with disgusting fries could have been fixed on the spot in a matter of minutes.

    They weren’t doing their job? Chill. I went to Burger King last night and the guy gave me a tray with my food on it despite me ordering it to-go, was he not doing his job either?

  62. pyloff says:

    I’m fascinated by posts with the picture of the food vs. the actual food.

    Why should it spur such heated discussion? My guilty pleasure is reading the people who decry that the pictured food is doctored beyond the point of being consumable.

    Interesting how 2 simple pictures can create so much debate. Rock on consumerist.

    My fav is definitely the Awesome blossom.

  63. CoffeeAddict says:

    I like Applebee’s but that meal looks disgusting. I have had good and bad experiences at Applebee’s but in general their not bad. They are a chain restaurant and being that some things are very similar to McDonald’s, etc.

  64. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Hm. So Megan should have known better than to go to Applebee’s, because she should’ve expected the food to be crap.

    By the same logic, she should have known better than to email her story to Consumerist, because she should’ve expected the commenters to question her good taste, her intelligence, her work ethic, and her financial skills, all over choosing to buy a damn hamburger instead of making one from scratch.

    I guess that one’s true, though… pretty soon no one will be sending in stories anymore, because who needs this crap?

  65. spinachdip says:

    @pyloff: For the record, I have no problem with doctored food, per se. As anyone who’s done food photography or filming can tell you, logistics and lighting make it hard to shoot untouched food and still make it look appetizing (plus, the fact that most customers don’t use professional cameras or studio lighting makes the food look even crappier compared to the beauty shots on menus and ads).

    That said, the photographed food should give the consumer a reasonable idea of what to expect. And even at places like Applebees, you’re paying for presentation in addition to the food itself. This one doesn’t come close.

  66. pyloff says:

    @spinachdip Shouldn’t it be obvious. I guess I will use you as the foil, however it becomes a joke when the dichotomy becomes so far reached that one either laughs or cries at the distance.

  67. SaveMeJeebus says:

    @pyloff: Click the tag for this article and check out a variation of “Awesome Cracklins.”

  68. Hoss says:

    Strike 1 – kitchen passes that as food.
    Strike 2 – wait staff passes that as food.
    Strike 3 – manager trains everyone.

  69. spinachdip says:

    @pyloff: I guess what I’m trying to say is that touch-ups for beauty shots and crappy looking food are two separate issues.

    Doctoring foods to the point they’re inedible is a necessity, and I don’t think it’s dishonest or unethical to, say, add varnish to toaster pastry so it looks better on screen.

    This story has less to do with the doctoring, and everything to do with quality control. The culprit isn’t the art department for raising expectations, but the kitchen for sending out food looking like that.

  70. pyloff says:

    Amazing…

  71. Navin R Johnson says:

  72. acambras says:

    @soldierblue:
    The Burger King guy is working for minimum wage + no tips. The Applebee’s server is working for tips. That doesn’t mean s/he must be perfect, but it does mean s/he might be a little more invested in serving food that doesn’t look like crap.

  73. onewatt says:

    As a former employee of an Applebees, I can’t imagine how they could get something as simple as fries in a ramekin so wrong. It almost looks like somebody grabbed the fries and smooshed them into the weird fry monolith with his or her hands… Not an appealing idea – and certainly not a standard at any of the Applebees I’ve worked at. And mainly… why?

  74. it5five says:

    Applebee’s is quite possibly the worst chain “restaurant” ever.

  75. AbstractConcept says:

    no doubt other places have better food.. and service. My friend looked at his bank statement and found $50 missing from his account, with a transaction done the day we went out to eat at Applebees. An employee named “Daniel D” tried to steal $50 from his account. He claimed it was an accident, but he had been kind of a tool all night.. and the time before that I had him. His manager allowed him to get away with it, but my friend got refunded.

    However, I tried this burger and it was actually delicious. It looked a lot more like the store picture than the other picture. Personally, I didn’t like the fries.. But the presentation was great.

    My girlfriend loves it there, as well as her family.. Personally I think there are much better chain restaurants.. Uno, the 99, Joes bar and grill…

  76. deviationer says:

    It must be the people who work at Applebees outside the pacific northwest, because I have been at 3 Applebees locations in my metro area, many times, over a couple of years, and have never had an issue.

    Same with a similar place, Red Robbin.

  77. tmweber says:

    Actually, when made correctly, those fries are delicious. Sad to see them in such a horrid state.

  78. waxer says:

    tasty nugs yes indeed!

  79. billybastion says:

    thats what he gets for eating at applebees.

    save your taste buds, eat local.

  80. Anonymous says:

    It might be hard for some of you to believe this, but Applebee’s used to be a pretty decent chain back in the mid 1990s. And they were pretty consistent, too! I ate at a few Applebees in different states (mostly in the Midwest, but also in Montana and Wyoming) and the food was actually quite good! When I moved to Maine in 2001, I went to the local Applebees and it was horrible. My wife hated it too. We assumed at first that it was just that one location, but no….they seem to be pretty lousy across the board now, and other friends of ours have noticed the same decline in quality over the years. In fact our local Applebees closed shop after opening in 2003. It’s an abandoned restaurant on an empty lot! What happened to this chain?

  81. wernercd says:

    I’ve cooked for Applebee’s before. And I want to say first off that is NOT what the fries are supposed to look like, obviously.

    First, what time was this taken? Tuesday late-afternoon is VERY different than friday/saturday night. YMMV, but the sheer VOLUME of people during peek hours where I worked was astonishing. During those times, things get rushed and cooking staff can make mistakes.

    Second – why does it look like a cylinder? The basic idea on cooking those is – Fries, put in a glass (about the size of the glass you drink your soda from), then pour the garlic-butter sauce, then flip over into the green serving dish and remove glass.

    Those fries don’t look like they cooked long enough. And then maybe a rushed cook ‘packed’ em into the glass… butter on top, sit in a window for a moment while butter dries and bam… that’s what I think made the cube.

    Not to defend it, but mistakes happen. Friday night, every seat full for 4 hours on end, I can see mistakes like this happen. Common place? obviously not, otherwise stories like this would be falling out of the sky. But often enough to where it does happen.

  82. yetiwisdom says:

    People still eat at CrApplebee’s? Why? What, no TGIFridays, ChiChi’s Ruby Tuesdays or Red Robin in your neighborhood?

    I got the worst service I ever had at a CrApplebee’s back round 1997 and haven’t been back since.

    I’m fortunate that I live in an area packed with amazing local restaurants of all types – particularly Italian. Mmmm, homemade Baked Ziti made with pride and not a microwave in sight! A few years ago all the local Pizza Huts closed down because they couldn’t compete with business owners that cared.

    Support your local restaurateurs! Your tummy will thank you!

  83. LucyInTheSky says:

    That looks like something that would be extruded from a tube in a factory. yum yum. a cylinder of cold, greasy, potato (maybe…) matter. my mouth is watering.

  84. anita_job says:

    The reason the fries came out cylindrical like that is because they took regular fries, put them into a cylinder with garlic butter on the bottom, turned the cylinder upside down to coat the fries with the g-butter, and then took the now-cylindrically molded fries out and put them into the bowl to serve.

    This happens when either the restaurant is busy or the guy working fry side forgot to make the fries and now he’s staring at a freshly made burger without the fries and rushed the job. Either way, it’s not acceptable but I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes and I understand why they come out like that sometimes.

    People blame servers for not fixing it, but the only way to fix it is to touch the fries and your server isn’t wearing gloves. And if your server goes to get gloves, that’s another few minutes lost and then the posts on Consumerist about Applebee’s will be about “why did my food come out cold?” instead of “the fries don’t look like the picture.” Or it would be, “why do my fries taste like the server’s hands?”

    If there was an expo in the kitchen, he would have been able to fix the fries before putting the parmesan on top. If not, the server put the parm on top with his/her hands, probably in an attempt to make the best of a bad situation.

    Also, it’s perfectly OK to tell the server that these fries are gross/cold, can I get another set? The server will order another set of fries, the manager will have to remove them from the bill, and 9 times out of 10 re-orders come out right because no one (especially the server) wants an unsatisfied guest.

    Last thing I’ll say is that the person lodging the complaint didn’t even say whether or not the fries tasted good!

  85. Well, I am probably the last person who would speak up for Applebees. I’ve had few good experiences there, but I did order this meal before and it actually looked a lot more like their picture than the amateur pic… Don’t know what’s up with those fries…

  86. batsy says:

    Advertisement food looks different than real food? Since when?!

  87. Anonymous says:

    Don’t eat there. I used to work there. Almost all of their food is microwaved in plastic or Styrofoam and then thrown onto plates to make it looked cooked. Trust me i have a scar from transferring beans from Styrofoam cups to a ramekin.

  88. dwcusc says:

    Can O’Fries…the newest invention from those that brought you the Tube of Burger mush.