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Customers Say This Was the Worst Menu Change Applebee's Ever Made

A few disgruntled guests suggest this dish is just not the same.

Love it or hate it, Applebee's "Fancy Like" commercial has been a hotly debated topic lately. (One Internet user said it's so "beyond cringe" that they started a Change.org petition to have it removed from the air.) Meanwhile, some customers on social media are suggesting the "Neighborhood Grill + Bar" chain might want to focus less on buzzy marketing, and more on their menu. Specifically, social media says it still wants to know why Applebee's changed a beloved old menu item. Three decades later, it sounds like what they've served in its place doesn't seem to measure up.

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Earlier this week, Redditor u/enzi000 inquired on the Applebee's Reddit community page: "Chicken shortage over?? Has Applebees gone back to their old chicken yet? I heard about the shortage and the substitute chicken tastes worse than a school cafeteria."

As we explored the page, it became clear that Applebee's chicken is one of the most-discussed social media topics related to the chain. In November, Applebee's will celebrate 41 years since being founded in Georgia… and over the years, they've changed up their chicken in ways that have other guests sounding as puzzled as u/enzi000.

In the summer, u/Pale-Metal-9663 asked: "Did they ditch the four cheese honey pepper chicken tenders?"

Other users said the order was still available at their local Applebee's, but u/Hodor_The_Half-Wit offered: "I just had it and it didn't taste ANYTHING like it used to, the cheese sauce tasted like milk and it had penne noodles?"

Even more recently (as in, earlier this week), u/ryanc_ posted: "Does anyone remember the chicken fingers platter from the 90s? There were 3 different flavors of chicken tenders – a plain one, a ranch dusted one, and i think a spicy one of some kind. They were kind of flat, not as much breading as the modern ones. I've tried to find any online evidence they existed, but haven't found anything. Just wanted to see if anyone else remembered and missed these, they were delicious when I was a kid."

Another commenter, u/applebeesfan1, chimed in: "yes! this was the best back in the good old days! mm mm mmmm."

Applebee's isn't the only chain whose offerings might have have shape-shifted in recent months. Restaurant and grocery discontinuations have been on the rise, thanks in large part to product shortages that have caused chains to adapt, sometimes in ways that don't dazzle consumers.

If you've been nostalgic for a particular restaurant order you once loved, email [email protected] to fill us in.

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Editor's note: Technical choices in user comments were kept to preserve the original quotation.

Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at Eat This, Not That!, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more about Krissy