New Year's Resolutions Never Tasted So Good

Applebee's Launches "Unbelievably Great Tasting & Under 550 Calories" Menu

LENEXA, KS (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) -- Great taste or lower calories? At Applebee's, guests can have their "steak" and eat it too. The world's largest casual dining chain announces the launch of its groundbreaking menu featuring five unbelievably tasty entrees, all under 550 calories.

The "Unbelievably Great Tasting & Under 550 Calories" menu marks a first for casual dining chains, offering guests unexpected lower-calorie options like steak and potatoes or grilled shrimp and pasta with the same powerful flavors and generous portions guests count on at Applebee's.

"We know our guests want choices, including lower-calorie entrees, but they still want meals full of flavor," said Mike Archer, president of Applebee's Services, Inc. "We've created a menu that doesn't compromise. It has all of the taste with none of the trade-offs."

In fact, a recent survey of casual dining users posed the question: What would you do if you were president of Applebee's? One in four said they'd put lower-calorie options on the menu.

"We're listening," said Archer.

In restaurants now, the Under 550 menu along with the company's Weight Watchers(R) selections demonstrates Applebee's ongoing commitment to provide guests a variety of great-tasting choices when dining out. According to The NPD Group's Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers, approximately 65 percent of Americans are trying to cut back on calories. NPD also reports that one in four Americans say restaurants don't meet their needs for better-for-you food options.

"We are the neighborhood grill and bar, so it's important we have satisfying choices for everyone," said Archer. "Whether you want a real burger or a steak without the extra calories, you'll find it at Applebee's."

The new Under 550 menu is the brainchild of Applebee's executive chefs Shannon Johnson and Jason C. Amell, who spent more than a year developing the menu line up. Working with professional nutritionists, they carefully crafted the lower-calorie recipes to be as satisfying to the palate as the rest of Applebee's menu.

"We've set a new standard with this menu," said Johnson. "We use great ingredients, rich spices and innovative cooking techniques to create meals that, frankly, are surprising our guests. This is a menu that people will order on taste alone. The lower-calories? That's a bonus."

Unbelievably Great Tasting & Under 550 Calories items include:

Grilled Shrimp and Island Rice

Seasoned, grilled shrimp skewers on citrus island rice served with seasonal vegetables.

Asian Crunch Salad

Grilled chicken breast served over crunchy salad greens, roasted red peppers, sugar snap peas and refreshing cucumbers, finished with Applebee's tangy Asian vinaigrette and sliced almonds.

Grilled Dijon Chicken and Portobellos

Marinated chicken breast grilled and topped with roasted red peppers, Portobello mushrooms, Dijon sauce and aged cheddar cheese. Served with steamed herb potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Asiago Peppercorn Steak

Applebee's classic 7-ounce sirloin grilled and topped with cracked peppercorn and melted Asiago cheese. Served with steamed herb potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

Spicy Shrimp Diavolo

A spicy tomato-basil Diavolo sauce with chili-seasoned shrimp tossed with diced vegetables. Served over a warm bed of whole wheat penne pasta and topped with shredded Parmesan.

About Applebee's Services, Inc.

Applebee's Services, Inc. and its affiliates franchise and operate restaurants under Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and are a DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN) brand. There are more than 2,000 Applebee's restaurants operating system-wide in 49 states, 16 countries and one U.S. territory. Additional information on Applebee's can be found at the company's Web site.

SOURCE: Applebee's Services, Inc.

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