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Neighborhood Responsibility

Being neighborly every day

There are almost 2,000 Applebee’s locations in North America – and we’re aware that small changes made at each of our neighborhood restaurants can add up to big things nationwide. That’s why we are dedicated to acting responsibly – both towards our neighbors, our neighborhoods and our planet.

When thousands of people embrace their responsibility to our neighborhoods, the results can be astounding. Since its beginning in 1980, Applebee's has recognized our responsibility to operate with ethical business practices and to be a force for social good. This makes good business sense as it resonates with our associates, franchisees, and most importantly our guests, who are looking more and more closely at how all businesses contribute to society.

In short, Applebee's strives to make a positive impact in the neighborhoods we serve because we believe we have a responsibility to do so. We have seen firsthand that embracing our responsibility to our neighborhoods builds value for our guests, associates and franchisees.

Respecting our Neighborhoods

From the food we sell to the buildings in which our iconic brand is housed, our business affects the environment. In addition to complying with applicable laws and regulations, our team works to promote compliance among our suppliers.

Our Concern for Animals

We believe in and support efforts within and outside of our industry to improve the welfare of farm animals. We also rely on experts in the field, such as Dr. Jeffrey Armstrong of the Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, to provide scientific guidance on animal welfare issues.

Applebee's accounts for only a small fraction of the animal-based products purchased each year in the U.S., making our ability to impact industry-wide practices somewhat limited. Regardless, we will continue to explore opportunities to improve the treatment of farm animals within the context of our business and the industry.

We source a large amount of paper and plastic goods for our restaurants. In choosing vendors, we not only consider quality and price, but we are also beginning to look at other factors including the amount of recycled content, the types of bleaches, inks or dyes used, and whether sustainable forestry and production practices were utilized. By working with vendors who share our interest in and commitment to good practices, we hope to, over time, improve the environmentally friendly attributes of the goods we purchase.

We have removed 95% of all polystyrene packaging products used in our "to go" orders. We have replaced it with 100% recyclable packaging, allowing safe and clean transport, as well as reducing our impact on the local landfills. We are currently working on the final products that will make us 100% polystyrene free.

Energy Consumption

We continue to work to reduce the energy consumption in our restaurants and our restaurant support centers. For example, nearly all offices in our non-restaurant facilities have motion-activated light switches that automatically lower or turn off the lights if no movement is detected after a period of time.

Many of our restaurants have late night operations, so we are mindful about eliminating lighting for security reasons. However, we have been aggressive about replacing traditional lighting with compact fluorescent lighting wherever possible.

Waste and Recycling

A number of our environmental programs focus on reducing waste generated by our operations. We continue to look for ways to eliminate, reuse or recycle potential waste. One example is the regular recycling of used cooking oil at most of our restaurants.

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Supporting our Neighborhoods

We value the neighborhoods in which we do business and strive to improve them with our presence. We recognize our success depends not only on the skill sets and contributions of our associates and the relationships we foster with our franchisees, but also on the health and prosperity of the communities in which we do business. We have seen clear and tangible results through our efforts in supporting programs that care for children and improve education.

Our franchisees are a significant source of inspiration and commitment to our neighborhoods. Last year, Applebee's franchisees' employees donated 54,000 hours of community service with an average of 30 employees per restaurant donating their time.

We hope to make a difference by giving back in the communities where we operate. In its purest form, it is one way we say "thank you."

Every year Applebee's Services and its franchisees host hundreds of fundraisers and events across the country. Results from various fundraisers include:

  • Alex's Lemonade Stand, since 2005 raised $1.2 million
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation, raised $300,000 in 2008
  • The V Foundation for Cancer Research, more than $120,000 donated in 2008

We also seek to engage our associates in community-investment and development initiatives that serve the communities where we live and operate. Last year, associates at our Restaurant Support Centers invested more than 2,500 person hours of work in our neighborhoods with organizations like Harvesters and Christmas in October.

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Valuing our Associates

We believe our corporate responsibility begins with our associates. We're proud of programs we've designed to attract, retain and engage a diverse and talented workforce – programs like our tuition reimbursement programs or the benefits package we offer.

  • Competitive salary
  • Medical, Dental, Vision
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • Deferred Compensation Program
  • Flexible Dependent and Health Spending Accounts
  • Life Insurance
  • Supplemental Life Insurance for you and your dependents
  • Domestic Partner Benefits – same sex or opposite sex
  • Pay for Performance culture where employees are rewarded for performance based on agreed upon objectives and ratings targets
  • 2 personal days per year (Philanthropy & Employee Choice)
  • Business casual dress

We Embrace Diversity

We value, encourage and recognize the diversity of our workforce. We embrace our personal differences—whether it be race, gender, age, religion, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation, veteran status, national origin or physical ability—and the benefits that an array of backgrounds, cultures and thinking styles bring to our organization. After all, the heart and soul of our brand is the people who take pride in their job and help those around them. Our associates are integral to our success. While the world and our business change rapidly, respecting individual differences will continue to be essential to our long-term success.

Above and Beyond

The Applebee's Heidi Fund was established in 2002 in honor of Heidi Tomassi, an Applebee's server in Olathe, Kansas. At the time, Heidi's four-month-old son was suffering from a rare heart defect. After two open-heart surgeries, she and her husband were deeply in debt. But when one of her customers accidentally left behind $3,300 in cash, Heidi instinctively did the right thing and returned the money. Her kindness was repaid with an outpouring of financial support from others. To honor Heidi, Applebee's created the Heidi Fund to provide financial assistance to other Team Members at corporate stores who also find themselves in a financial crisis brought on by a catastrophic life event. The Heidi Fund has also been able to make special grants to employees at franchise locations who have suffered through recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.

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