Breaking news from Glendale, California! Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar has recently unveiled their new limited-time “Topped & Loaded” menu, starting at just $10.99.
How does one “top and load,” you ask? In addition to their regular lineup of food incongruously topped with other, smaller, saltier food, the new “Topped & Loaded” menu offers customers a choice of chicken breast, pork chop, or two sizes of sirloin steak, topped with one of the following:
- The Marinara Mozzarella Stick Topper, consisting of crispy mozzarella sticks, classic marinara sauce and parmesan cream sauce.
- The Bacon Beer Cheese Topper, made of BLUE MOON®1 White Cheddar beer cheese, bacon, crispy onions and fresh green onions.
- The Cajun Shrimp Topper, including blackened shrimp, sautéed onions and savory lemon butter.
From the press release:
“Our Topped & Loaded menu gives guests what they’ve always wanted – the chance to top one favorite with another to discover a creative and tasty spin on a classic,” said Thomas Yun, Executive Chef of Applebee’s. “For example, pairing the Chicken Breast with the Marinara Mozzarella Stick topper with a parmesan cream sauce is a deconstructed and reinvented chicken parmesan that satisfies and delights the taste buds in a way that is uniquely Applebee’s.”
It sounds good on paper, to be sure. But look, choosing one frozen food from Column A and topping it with a second frozen food from Column B doesn’t make you Wiley fucking Dufresne. You’re not “deconstructing” or “reinventing” a classic chicken parmesan; you’re eating like a drunk divorcee at the end of a three day bender. “Customizing” terrible food to make it taste exactly like something you’ve already eaten a billion times isn’t offering consumers a real choice; it’s trying to fool customers into thinking they’re making creative decisions, instead of being tricked into eating whatever pre-cooked muck is sitting half-frozen in a bag at the bottom of the walk-in, to make space before the next shipment arrives from corporate headquarters.