The Shady Thing Applebee's Is Doing During The Pandemic

Restaurants are having to resort to all kinds of extraordinary measures to make sure they survive the pandemic. While a few restaurant chains such as Steak & Shake have sadly announced large-scale closures and cutbacks, others are still valiantly fighting to stay alive. Some are coming up with make-at-home meal kits like Chick-fil-A and Taco Bell, or special family-sized bundles like Popeyes. Still others are building goodwill through releasing once-secret recipes like Shake Shack with its cheese sauce and the IKEA cafes with their world-famous meatballs.

A few restaurants, however, are going the opposite route and earning a place in the consumer hall of shame by resorting to shady measures that essentially trick people into ordering their food.

Applebee's adopts an alias in an attempt to sell more wings

One notorious example would be Chuck E. Cheese, who rebranded themselves on GrubHub under the pseudonym Pasqually's Pizza & Wings. Now it seems Applebee's is also getting into the GrubHub identity-switching game, quietly launching a spinoff called Neighborhood Wings.

Applebee's rebranding, like Chuck E. Cheese's, was not announced to customers with great fanfare, but was instead outed by sharp-eyed Twitter users. Applebee's VP of strategy and development, when contacted by Today, attempted to put a positive spin on it, saying "We launched Neighborhood Wings by Applebee's on GrubHub to make it even easier for guests to get their wings fix and to give us the opportunity to test out new items made for wing lovers that aren't on our main menu." But not all GrubHub users felt Applebee's move was very neighborly.

Customers were not happy to learn who Neighborhood Wings really was

Sandwich University tweeted "How is this possible?!?!" in response to the revelation that Neighborhood Wings was really Applebee's, while another GrubHub customer was downright enraged, and tweeted the accusation: "Why are you lying to me about where my food comes from? Applebees is listed separately. If I wanted their s***** food, I'd order it." A commenter responded by telling them: "grubhub isnt lying its applebees lying so they can get more business," and even GrubHub reached out with an apology: "We do sincerely apologize for the experience. Please DM us with the order number so we can better assist. Thank you!" As for Applebee's...not a peep.

Well, everything's still in flux in the post-pandemic restaurant industry, so whether we're still eating good in the neighborhood this time next year, or this latest Applebee's scandal finishes them off for good remains to be seen.