The Day Millennials Killed Applebees

Written by

It's not a protest movement or an attack on dining out. Millennials are voting with their feet. reports in an article, Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee's, that generation Y is to blame for declining revenue in the Fast Casual sit-down market. A similar situation exists right here in downtown Jacksonville with brick and mortar restaurants who have requested "protection" from food trucks. Applebees was singing a different tune two years ago when they announced, Applebee’s Recasts Itself as Millennials Bar

It sounded like a great plan: “We’re changing things up and going back to what we do best.” The journey from bright idea to monumental fail was doomed from the beginning. Two words sealed their fate: "Going Back". Like it or not, the world is moving forward. Dining, lodging, and transportation are not the only industries who are facing digital disruption. Your industry is next. If you don't see it, your business will fail. My research indicates 2020 is your deadline. Speed has become the #1 competitive advantage. Your window of opportunity has narrowed. Here are some ideas you can use today to start moving forward.

Stop Buying More Technology

You (and your competitors) have all the technology needed. Digital transformation is not about technology, it's about mindset. Take an inventory of what you have and let go of the technology that no longer serves you. Build a strategy before filling your toolbox with any more tools.

Engage With Your Newest Customers

Not with fancy online marketing or stalking. Stop shouting at them. Start a conversation, engage in social listening. The change you see in your industry is not in technology. It's in the behavior of your customers.

Create Digital Leverage

There are three specific, very important, ways that you can use technology to grow your business success. The technology can help you reach farther. It can bring customers closer while building stronger relationships. It can increase the speed of your execution, operations, growth, and profits. 

The Best Investment You Can Make

Applebees invested $40M in wood-fired ovens for each of their restaurants. Millennials didn't care. As a business owner, your best investment is in building a new mindset. Applebees had all the tools they needed to find out what Millennials DID want. Change isn't about disruption, it's about transformation.


I work with established organizations who want a return on their digital investment. When you are ready, let's talk. 904-566-8325.