Applebee’s First Taste #BehindTheMenu

As most of you know I was in Kansas City at the Applebee’s Blogger Summit this weekend. I had a blast and learned so much about Applebee’s! The trip was relatively short, 6 hours there, 7 hour conference,  and 6 hours back- but the Applebee’s Headquarters was definitely worth the travel!

The Applebee’s shuttle picked myself and a few fellow bloggers up at 7:15 AM and we headed to the Applebee’s corporate headquarters for a scrumptious office breakfast! Applebee’s had our day all set out and we stuck to our schedule all day! I was so excited to meet a few great blogging friends and got to enjoy the entire day with them!

We got a tour of the entire Applebee’s headquarters- I fell in love with their office building. Specifically their amazing three story timeline. The short 15 minute tour was packed full of Applebee’s information! Applebee’s is actually owned by DineEquity, who also owns IHop- And DineEquity has a female CEO! The first Applebee’s was opened in 1980, and the franchise rights were purchased in 1984 and the 500th store was opened in 1994! Talk about rapid expansion! (and now there are 2,000+! stores)

After the quick tour we went back to our special blogging room and two Jessica and Shannon, two of Applebee’s most important chefs gave us insight into the recipe development process! In my mind, the chicken gets a bit of spice on it, the veggies are steamed and them plated and brought to me. But that is so not the case! Applebee’s does so much research and tests that sometimes it takes over 18 months for one dish to be brought onto the menu! While Chef Jessica was super informative and fun- I must say Chef Shannon was the highlight of my Applebee’s trip, he was amazing!

The first part of the morning was super informative about the actual Applebee’s brand but all the talk of food was making me, and fellow blogger super  hungry. When it was finally lunch time my tummy was rumbling! We got to sample 4 of their new U550 items. These are dishes all under 550 calories.

Eating healthy and making healthy food decisions is not something I have really ever done. However both my husband and I are over weight and just recently decided that we have to start watching these things.  Applebee’s is a place that we will be able to continue to dine at even on a diet with the U550 and Weight Watchers items. We were all sad to see Shannon and Jessica go, but we knew they would be back!

First dish was the Sizzling Chili Lime Chicken– This was my favorite dish (minus the mushrooms) that I tried the entire time I was there. The light chili sauce added a bit of spice that made the meal both spicy and sweet the same time. The chicken was grilled to perfection, and the large portion of veggies were just crunchy enough to make the entire plate come together!

Next was the Signature Sirloin & Garlic Herb Shrimp. I honestly do not care for Applebee’s steak- well at least I used to not care for it. The cream sauce on top, slivered almonds and diced tomatoes melded so well with the huge 7 ounce sirloin steak. The potatoes and vegetables were such a generous amount-yet still this meal was somehow under 550 calories- how they do it, I have no idea! It is seriously unbelievable!

Then they brought out the Sizzling Asian Shrimp & Broccoli! This plate looked, smelled and sounded amazing. It literally sizzled on its skillet! However I am not a shrimp eater (gasp!) so I did not try this one.

Last up was the Roasted Garlic Sirloin.  This was a heavily garlic marinated 7 oz. sirloin, with a bed of delicious sautéed onions. The main star of this dish was the portobello mushroom cap filled with cream spinach.

For desert we even got to try the SkinnyBee Margarita! I don’t think most people realize that drinks have calories in them too, especially alcoholic drinks- however this little bugger only was only 100 calories! It did come on the rocks and I prefer my drinks frozen, but it was not bad, not bad at all!

After eating to our hearts delight we headed into the super secret test kitchen. There were no cameras allowed, and no media had been let into this secret area before! It seemed like a typical kitchen to me so I am not sure what the big secret was but we were able to watch them prep and prepare 3 of the new Weight Watcher menu items! Then we got to sample each one!

Seafood and mushrooms neither myself or my husband will eat, and yet almost all healthy food comes with one or the other. Thankfully at Applebee’s you can customize your order to take things you do not like out! I always feel like a pain in my waiters butt when I do this, but I learned that over 80% of Applebee’s orders are customized so I feel less like a pain now!

Overall the trip was super informative and insightful! Applebee’s is an amazing company and I learned so much about eating healthier when we go to a restaurant

Disclaimer- My trip to Applebee’s headquarters was sponsored in full by Applebee’s


  1. cherise kachelmuss says

    How fun! Love the SkinnyBee Margarita, will have to check that out!

  2. Oh, I am SO jealous!! I love Applebees.. you should’ve took me along. lol I love that they have a healthy menu now.. guess I’ll be visiting them more often! So cool that you got to go through their headquarters and taste test all their fab meals! Did I tell you I am JEALOUS?! lol

  3. SO fun! I’ll have the Chili Lime Chicken please! =) So awesome that you got to go and experience all that!

  4. I am so jealous! And I am also now super hungry… wish Applebee’s delivered 🙂

  5. Mama Chocolate (Johanna) says

    Mmm! Now I’m hungry!
    The Chili Lime Chicken looks delicious! I love rice dishes and I can’t believe how huge the servings are and how tasty those look and are still under 550 calories! This is good stuff to know to recommend to my health coaching clients who want to go out now and then!

  6. I have had the Chili Lime Chicken and i loved it. I am a big chicken fan though. Is this off the lights menu they have?

  7. So sad… thought WE were the highlight of the trip ;O) LOL. Yes, I totally agree… fabulous trip and some unbelievable food at under 550!

  8. ohkeeka [The Type A Housewife] says

    What an awesome trip! All that food looks fantastic! I’m on WW, so I’m excited about those menu items.

  9. It looks like you had an amazing time and those dishes look scrumptious.

  10. It looks like you learned a lot & had a lot of fun there! I love that they’re focusing on making their dishes lighter so that those of us who are trying to watch what we eat can still enjoy a night out with our families. 🙂

  11. Trista Anderson says

    Looks like you had fun and the food looks yummy I hope it was!!

  12. The food looks great, and I love that they have healthy choices.

  13. It looks like you had a great time! That salad looks amazing!

  14. How Fun! I would love to try that skinny bee margarita

  15. It looks like a great time. It would have been great to be a part of this. The chance to share ideas and to learn new things. Then on top of that you get to eat some great food. The food looks so good. Thanks for sharing this I never knew that Applebee’s did things like this.

  16. I am so jealous! That looks like an amazing event.

  17. Looks like you had a lot of fun! And now I’m hungry! 🙂

  18. Our family LOVES Applebee’s! I love the new U550 menu items too, because, well, I LOVE SHRIMP! Now I know if Hubby wants to eat out, I can tell him I want Applebee’s because I can stay on my diet!

  19. All the food looks delicious!

  20. What an awesome opportunity! That Sizzling Asian Shrimp & Broccoli is making my mouth water!

  21. We went to Applebee’s for lunch today, I was happy to be able to choose something healthy 😉

  22. Okay, you’ve successfully made me crave steak and shrimp for BREAKFAST! yum!!

  23. Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell says

    I would be all over that chili lime chicken too! Looks amazing!

  24. sounds like a really informative trip! I miss their Weight Watchers selections they used to have!

  25. This looks like it was so much fun and tasty! That shrimp has me drooling. I need to put Applebee’s on next weeks menu. If I am super lucky I can get a date night out of it too!

  26. I need to check out the “class” on eating on the go. Yummmmm…this looks so good right now up late in hotel room. Wish an Applebees was near!

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