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Statement from Applebee's President Mike Archer

You are right, and we apologize.
Whatever anyone thinks about the personnel decision made by our franchisee in St. Louis, everyone agrees our communications afterwards made the situation worse. We agree. It doesn't excuse us, but we were simply overwhelmed by the outpouring and made decisions that failed the strong online community we've built with you for years.
We have every intention of learning from our mistakes. To help us determine what happened and how we can get better, we will enlist an independent, objective advisor to review the entire situation with us -- a respected and recognized social media expert who will give us impartial insights to strengthen our community management process. We will let you know who that is just as soon as we make final arrangements. We commit to taking whatever steps are needed to ensure we are as responsive and open with our community during difficult times as we've always been during good times.

Even before starting that important work, we are re-dedicating ourselves to the community’s right to air its opinions as our guiding light. All comments – positive, negative, and in between – that are shared according to acceptable community standards can help us improve. We’ve taken the first step by posting clear Content Guidelines to guide our moderating.

We believe we can do better, and hope you will give us the chance to prove it by our actions. Thank you.

Mike Archer