Applebee's is on the rise for the first time in years. A hit country song is helping drive new customers alongside a TikTok trend.

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Applebee's is on the rise for the first time in years. A hit country song is helping drive new customers alongside a TikTok trend.
Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
  • Applebee's president said Walker Hayes' song "Fancy Like" has helped provide buzz around the brand.
  • The song has spawned over 360,000 videos on TikTok and millions of views.
  • Last quarter, Applebee's sales beat 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
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Applebee's sales are higher than they've been in several years and a new hit country song might have something to do with it.

In June, pop country artist Walker Hayes released "Fancy Like," quickly topping Billboard's Hot Country Songs. The song features a nod to Applebee's - a restaurant chain that saw its heyday in the early 2000s and has since seen sales decline.

"We fancy like Applebee's on a date night, got that Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake," Hayes' chorus says.

The song has spawned a dance trend on TikTok, with users posting videos of themselves in front of their local Applebee's. To date, the sound has over 360,000 videos, with some users garnering millions of views.

@keepingitroe

Fancy Like with SHAQ!!! #fancylike #shaquilleoneal #applebees #fypシ

♬ Fancy Like - Walker Hayes

"This song lyrically is all about date night at Applebee's, and it's gone viral in a big way on social media - TikTok, Instagram and YouTube - providing great buzz for the Applebee's brand," Applebee's president John Cywinski said during a call with investors on Thursday.

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One Applebee's location even decided to follow the trend.

@applebees

That’s how we do, how we do, #FancyLike @walkerhayesofficial (via: @dianalubov)

♬ original sound - Applebee' Grill + Bar

Applebee's sales saw a 102% boost last quarter as compared to the same period last year. The company has even beaten out pre-pandemic numbers, topping 2019 sales by about 10%.

While the song has helped build awareness of the brand, especially with younger generations, much of the credit for Applebee's increase in sales can be attributed to increased vaccination rates and pent-up demand for dining out, Cywinski said.

"Relative to 2019, Applebee's posted its best quarterly sales performance in over a decade," John Peyton, CEO of Applebee's parent company Dine Brands Global, said on Thursday.

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