Friday, November 6, 2009

Applebee's Remembrance Day promotion: buy three, get one free!

Pass the freedom fries.

Applebee's Canada is offering Canadian veterans a Remembrance Day promotion aimed at the heart. Yet there's something about it that may not sit well with the stomach.

The promotion: show proof of your military service on Remembrance Day, and you can select one of six Applebee's signature entrees for free.

Seems like a nice idea on the surface, until you stop to think about it: is this simply a nice way to say thanks to veterans, a cynical attempt at building brand image by associating a family restaurant with military heroism, or a little of both?

The devil is in the details: to get the free entree, you need to show military ID, show up in uniform, or have a photograph with you in which you appear in military uniform. Further, the promotion is at "participating restaurants," "from a limited menu only," and "beverages and gratuity are not included."

Maybe I've just grown jaded and cynical in my medium age, but it also occurs to me that, at a time when family restaurants are hurting for business, giving away one free meal for a promotion clearly marketed to families (see the above screen capture from the Applebee's Canada website) is literally the very least you can do to say "thanks" to our veterans.

Maybe it's just me, but I always thought that the best way a business could honor veterans on Remembrance Day is to close for the day. Quaint.


  1. Wow! That's truly pathetic. Great find, Kenton. I was discussing the issue of stores being open on Remembrance Day with someone just a couple days ago.

    Not only is it disrespectful in my opinion, this continual march of consumerism threatens to overshadow any holiday. I mean seriously, is there no way that we can stay away from stores for one day? Do we consume that much as a society, that one day without being able to go to the store is unbearable?

    Furthermore, it sucks for retail workers because they're low paid and never actually get holidays off. They get the joy of bigger crowds, more messes to clean, more tempers to calm, but at least they're making time and a half.

    I'd like to see a movement against holiday shopping. I would really like to see a boycott of holiday shopping that would send a message to the retailers. Too bad I would have to convince too many people to put their consumerism on the back burner and think beyond their own needs and wants for one day...

  2. Oh man, that's pretty awful. I agree with you when you said that the most respectful thing to do would be close on Remembrance Day. If they feel the need for such a promotion, maybe they could have it the week of Remembrance Day? Because I think eating at Applebee's on November 11th is likely pretty far down the priority list for most veterans.

  3. Thanks for agreeing: I thought it might just be me...gettin' all riled up and all, as usual!

    Might be interesting to go to an Applebee's on Remembrance Day to find out if anyone is actually taking advantage of this promotion.

    Now, all I need is a photo of myself in uniform. Haw, haw.

  4. Try digging up a boy scout picture of yourself and see how that goes over with them...

    On a similar note, I saw an Outback commercial this afternoon while watching college football. Their deal for Veterans Day is a free bloomin' onion appetizer and drink with proof of military service (6 ways of doing so listed here: That free meal from Applebee's doesn't seem so bad after all, does it? Better hold out and see what the other chains offer up before committing to where you'll go on the holiday...


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