UPDATE: Applebee’s Adds More ‘Date Night Passes’

You’ll recall that Applebee’s restaurants offered a very limited number of ‘Date Night Passes’ in an unintentionally controversial promotion earlier this year. They sold out in less than  a minute. Now, the chain is offering a bunch more, under new rules…

Date Night Pass - © 2024 - Applebee's

The original Date Night Pass promo simply offered ‘a limited number’ of the passes, for sale at the resto’s website, on a first-come, first served basis. They sold out in less than a minute. Some folks who tried to snag one said they were skunked after a mere 30 seconds.

What it is

As a refresher, the Date Night Pass is a plastic card (physically, just like a credit card) which gets you up to $30 worth of free food and non-alcoholic beverages per visit through the end of this year. It’s worth up to $1,500 of free food at a cost per card of of just $200. That’s equivalent to one dinner for 2 per week through 2024. The No wonder folks scrambled for a chance to get one.

The problem

Applebee’s never officially revealed how man passes they were going to release. But a hostess at one resto did tell a Redditor there were only 250 being offered over the entire chain. The ‘contest’ was technically not illegal, but was perceived as a cheat by the masses. And fans demanded more be made available.

The solution

After a week of deliberations Applebee’s has announced it will release an additional 1,000 Date Night Passes.; But this time, the contest will be more of a contest, and less of an Oklahoma Land Rush.

The resto is asking folks who want a pass to register at its website: Applebees.com/DateNightPass for a draw. Lucky winners will get the chance to buy a pass. They’ll be notified on Valentine’s Day. You have until Friday, midnight to enter.

My take

It’s obvious that Applebee’s is admitting they got it wrong. And only a dramatic move, like offering an additional 4 times the original number of passes, could hope to repair the damage to their brand image.

But they’re only making the new gesture out of shame and embarrassment. Because they got caught limiting their liability (read: ‘costs’) on the promo to a ridiculous minimum.

Let this be a lesson to all the Fast Food and Fast Casual sit-down joints who attempt to spike business through really hot promos. Times are tough everywhere, not just in the resto business. But you still have spend money to make money’.

As King George tells Teresa in Queen of the South: “No risk it, no biscuit!”

~ Maggie J.

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