The History of Applebees according to Wikipedia:
The Applebee’s chain was started by Bill and T.J. Palmer who opened their first restaurant, T.J. Applebee’s Rx for Edibles & Elixirs, in Atlanta, Georgia on January 1, 1980. After opening their second restaurant the pair sold their company to W. R. Grace and Company in 1983. As part of the transaction, Bill Palmer was named president of the Applebee’s Division an indirect subsidiary of W. R. Grace and Company. In that capacity, Palmer guided the operation from its entrepreneurial beginnings to a full-fledged franchise system. He became an Applebee’s franchisee in 1985 and today owns more than three dozen Applebee’s restaurants.
In 1986, the name of the concept was changed to Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar to reflect the Palmers’ original concept of a place people could call their own.
In 1988, Applebee’s International, Inc. became the restaurant chain’s franchiser when Kansas City franchisees Abe Gustin and John Hamra purchased the rights to the Applebee’s concept from W. R. Grace.
Today, with more than 1,900 restaurants, Applebee’s is the world’s largest casual dining restaurant chain. From 1993 to 2005, Applebee’s opened 100 or more new restaurants each year. The company estimates the development potential of the Applebee’s concept in the United States to be at least 3,000 restaurants.
On July 16, 2007, IHOP Corp. announced that it agreed to buy Applebee’s International for about $2.1 billion. Applebee’s shareholders would receive $25.50 in cash per share, representing a 4.6% premium to the closing price on July 13, 2007. IHOP, which franchises nearly all of its restaurants, said it hoped to employ that strategy with Applebee’s. “We believe we have an opportunity to re-energize the brand and get franchisees, employees and guests all sort of thinking about the brand in a different way,” Julia Stewart, IHOP’s chairman and chief executive officer, said. “Obviously, we have opportunities to find points of differentiation – things that no one has but Applebee’s – and I think the future is very bright.”
As part of the company’s new marketing campaign and slogan, Wanda Sykes was hired to voice the chain’s new mascot, the Applebee’s Apple. The character currently appears in new commercials touting Applebee’s various specials and stating the new slogan, “Together is good.” or saying, “Get it together, baby!” as the slogan appears at the bottom right of the screen. A new campaign started on February 25, 2008, without Wanda Sykes’ character (the spokesapple) with its most recent slogan, “It’s a whole new neighborhood.” The commercials used both the company’s original and new logos.