Applebee's knows you're stressed, and it wants to make you feel better with cheap alcohol and lots of food.
That's been the brand's strategy since John Cywinski took over as its president in March of last year. And it's working: Applebee's US same-store sales increased 7.7% in the third quarter of this year, setting a 14-year record.
While fast food brands are ditching artificial ingredients and offering healthier alternatives, Applebee's has embraced comfort food for a banner year.
“Americans are stressed,” Cywinski told CNN Business.
“When stressed, they tend to go to comfort food … and we're pretty darn good at comfort food,” he said. “That's the role we play.”
“We look at ourselves as America's kitchen table,” he said, noting that with about 1,800 locations, most Americans are within driving distance of a restaurant. “We're that affordable indulgence.”