NC Applebee's Can't Afford Breadsticks Or Candles Anymore

Glenn’s family went to Applebee’s last night and discovered that the restaurant is cutting back. Really cutting back. You have to bring your own candles now for their birthday cakes, because “Applebee’s doesn’t supply birthday candles anymore.”

So we took our five year old to an Applebees in Charlotte, NC last night for his fifth birthday. He ordered their “mac & cheese” and when it arrived we noticed that it did not have the usual breadstick. We asked why and were told that corporate felt that “they weren’t healthy for kids” so they have been dropped from the menu. So the dinner cost the same as before, just that the kids get less. Very nice.

Then the real kicker. He wanted chocolate cake for dessert. I told the waitress that it was his birthday but when they started coming out with the cake there was no candle. I asked that they put one in. They went back into the kitchen and came back out five minutes later – again no candle. They sang the song and he ate his cake. I asked “why no candle?” and was told that “Applebees doesn’t supply birthday candles anymore. If you want a candle in your cake, you have to bring your own.” Amazing. Things are so tight that they can’t put a candle in a five-year olds’ cake. I guess every penny counts today.

Our advice to Applebee’s customers in Charlotte: if you have a kid, bring a couple of phone books with you next time. You know, just in case they’ve sold off the booster seats.

(Thanks to Glenn!)

UPDATE: After reading the negative vitrol posted in the comments, Glenn sent in the following clarification:

Chris, it appears the my original post yesterday was completely taken out of context by the vast majority of those that posted comments in response. I was not upset that we didn’t get a candle. My five year old was not upset. It was simply a candle. Not a big deal. I didn’t feel that Applebee’s “owed” us a candle. We stuck one in a cupcake for him at home and there was no issue. The point I was trying to make was that chains such as Applebee’s must be hurting financially if they are cutting back on things such as bread and candles. They told me that they used to supply them and now they aren’t – I just found that interesting that a chain as big as Applebee’s is looking so closely at small things, such as candles, to save a few dollars. I understand that every expense impacts their bottom line, but things must be worse than we thought if they are proactively removing candles from their kitchens.

And as far as the bread, again, I just found it interesting that it used to be part of the kids meal, but now they have removed it, while keeping the price the same. If McDonald’s removed fries from their “Happy Meals” but didn’t drop the price, I am sure that people would complain that they are paying the same but getting less. That was all I was trying to say. My son got along just fine without the breadstick. He wasn’t upset.

As for taking my kid to Applebee’s for his birthday – he turned five. He likes their “mac & cheese.” As a parent, I just wanted my kid to be happy on this birthday. Nothing more, nothing less. It certainly doesn’t make me a bad parent. Is Applebee’s the best restaurant in the world? No. Are there better places to go? Yes. But he asked to go there, and it wasn’t a big deal. It was his birthday. I wish the people that posted responses would either remember what it was like to be 5, or had a 5 year old of their own. When you have a young kid, you do end up going to restaurants like this. That is why they are called “family friendly.”

(Photo: jemsweb)