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A study in comparisons: TGI Fridays and Applebee’s

Soccer - Coca Cola Cup - Notts County v Tottenham Hotspur Photo by Ross Kinnaird/EMPICS via Getty Images

Hi, all!

Today at the top is former Tottenham forward Ilie Dumitrescu, with then Notts County midfielder pointing him out just to make it clear who I’m talking about.

Ramble of the Day

I come again with a question, though it is one that I don’t have the answer to. I won’t stop anyone from offering answers, but I plan to spend the ramble trying to figure out the answer: What is the difference between Applebee’s and TGI Fridays?

From both chains’ early days, they’ve had similar motives. Founded in 1965, TGI Fridays always had a focus on alcohol and classic American food, making it a fairly easy transition from one of the United States’ first singles bars to a family friendly restaurant. Applebee’s had similar focus when founders Bill and T.J. Palmer wanted to open a neighborhood pub in 1980, and has historically been a destination for the family friendly crowd.

A commercial sign of T.G.I Fridays seen in Kuala Lumpur... Photo by Faris Hadziq/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The two also share certain aesthetics: both prioritized red, black, and white as go-to colors, though Applebee’s has also incorporated green into its logo and branding. Outside of that, they also match the barometer only I’m checking in terms of mainstream appeal — both have restaurants in Times Square.

Restaurant Chains Applebee’s And IHOP To Close Over 100 Stores Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The best way to compare any two restaurants is to give the menus a look, and as you’d imagine, they share a number of similarities. Both have the likes of boneless chicken wings and mozzarella sticks for appetizers, and chicken tenders and fish and chips on the menu. Both menus are also structured the same — similar appetizers, pastas, chicken, seafood, steak and ribs, and dessert. The items are pretty similar all around, and there is not anything particularly cringe-worthy.

In my mind, there are a few noticeable differences in the menus. Applebee’s attempts to be classier with items like breadsticks, and tries to be interested in cuisine with chicken dishes inspired by Bourbon Street and Asia. TGI Fridays offers a simpler menu, but does include meatless options — they have a Beyond Meat cheeseburger — while Applebee’s does not.

Overall, there are still a number of items you could get at both restaurants and the menus are extremely similar, much like ... everything else about them. There are clear distinctions in every regard, but they’re hardly distinct enough. I’d love to do a taste test, but I will not immediately open myself up to that (in fact, I’ll classify it as a possible post-pandemic idea), but I think I have enough evidence to rule that TGI Fridays and Applebee’s are basically the same thing.

I’ll always encourage creativity and uniqueness in everything I do, but as far as I can tell, one is not actively trying to imitate the other. Therefore, I will not criticize them for those similarities; there’s clearly a market for it. I just had to ask, though.

tl;dr: I’m going to argue that TGI Fridays and Applebee’s are basically the same thing.

Links of the Day

Coronavirus:

Chelsea’s Fran Kirby said she almost retired after getting diagnosed with pericarditis.

David Squires picks out 24 random but nice things from football in his latest cartoon.

Today’s longer read: scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen on how clubs are helping players manage mental health during the pandemic for ESPN