We have been to Applebee's a couple of times in the past month and while I've left generally irritated each time, no one encounter has been "bad service" My parents have started weight watchers and asked if we would like to go there with them because of the "point" meals. Easy dining out for them and mom was picking up the tab so who was I to argue. We had a fairly large group (my parents, my husband and I and our 2 kids and my brother) so I expected a wait at 6:30 on a Friday night. I was pretty suprised when we walked in and were seated right away. That was were everything started sucking. We requested non-smoking and she leads us down the ramp, into the bar, where someone was smoking. I said "we asked for non-smoking" and she responded with "oh this is non-smoking, the bar is the only place where smoking is allowed" I looked at her and then at our booth (which there was no way that all of us were fitting in) and said "we are in the bar". Apparently not. We were close enough to talk comfortably without yelling to the people sitting at the bar, but that is good enough for non-smoking. The rest of the group didn't want to wait so I agreed to go ahead and sit there, against my better judgement. I scoot in to the booth, only to find that the tabletop came to around my armpits (now I know what my 4 year old feels like without a booster seat)and I was sitting all the way back against the back of the seat and the table was still pressing on my chest. It occurred to me that since I was there last time, they had replaced the tables that were there with booths and went from 3 tables to 4. They all were completely squished and I don't know how they expect people to sit comfortably at them.
The food was fine and came out faster than I expected. The waiter was a little distracted but he was trying to train a new guy (who I heard say to the table next to us "I just had a total brainfart and can't remember what ordered" LOL) so forgiven. My major complaint was just total lack of space. The last time we were there, my dh and I couldn't sit across from each other and both put our feet flat on the floor without kicking each other. It was just a good thing that we weren't eating with more adults because with the kids we were able to stagger ourselves and it was ok. I know they don't people to camp out and they want to maximize space, but it is just getting stupid. We raced through our food and declined all extra offers because we didn't want to spend anymore time than we had to squished like that. BTW, we all couldn't fit. Dh and my brother ended up sitting at the bar, while my parents and kids and I sat in the booth.
So nothing terrible just me being nitpicky and a bit grouchy. However, as long as they continue to cut personal space, I doubt I'll be going back anytime soon.