In a move to embrace its heritage as America's bar and grill, Applebee's just ignited a $75 million advertising and marketing campaign.
Applebee's unveiled American-made, wood-fired grills as a centerpiece in its U.S. restaurants and will now begin featuring USDA choice steaks that are hand-cut in-house.
"Our franchisees are into this in a big way because they believe it begins to change the story about Applebee's and eventually the trajectory of sales and traffic," DineEquity CEO Julia Stewart told Jim Cramer on Thursday.
DineEquity, parent company of Applebee's and IHOP, made the move shortly after reporting an 11-cent earnings miss from a $1.69 basis and weaker-than-expected revenue in the beginning of May. Applebee's announced the turnaround plan as just the first chapter of a new story.
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Stewart estimated that the company spent $75 million in new advertising, growth and training of Applebee's 100,000 employees. Employees were trained on how to cut, cook and talk about the new product.
"At the end of the day, people want to go into an Applebee's and have a $30 experience for $13.75. And that is what we are able to do here," Stewart said.
Stewart says this launch is not about taking price, it's about delivering a better price value to guests and a better product.