Applebee’s used to pitch itself as a place for customers to come, sit, and stay a while. Then the pandemic happened, and Applebee’s had to pivot.
When local governments ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms, they had to quickly make their food available for delivery or pickup. For some restaurants, like pizzerias, that wasn’t such a big deal. But for others, like Applebee’s, it meant a drastic change in their operations — and a huge dip in sales, at least at first.
It’s also led to a seemingly permanent change in behavior. Prior to the pandemic, in the last three months of 2019, Applebee’s pickup and delivery orders accounted for about 12.8% of sales. In that same period two years later, even after its dining rooms re-opened, its off-premise sales spiked to about 27% of all sales.CNN