Applebee's to offer free meals only to veterans who won in Afghanistan
Freedom isn't free and neither is your meal.
GLENDALE, Calif. — In a move certain to anger veteran groups nationwide, Applebee’s released a statement this morning doubling down on its commitment to only offer free meals to veterans who won in Afghanistan this year.
Up until this point, all soldiers and veterans were offered free, 6,000+ calorie meals at any Applebee’s location each Veteran’s Day. That stops now as the revamped policy effectively ends the wildly popular 20-year old program started in the wake of 9/11, despite technically leaving the door open for Taliban or Pakistani Army veterans to take advantage.
“Our free meals for U.S. servicemen and women cannot in good conscience continue while we abandon our commitment to achieve stability in the Middle East,” the statement said. “A Bourbon Street Steak is meant to stand for something, not just at home but worldwide.”
These sentiments were further reinforced by Applebee’s founder Tommy Applebee.
“Maybe if our troops spent half as much time crushing the Taliban as they spent crushing appetizers these last 20 years we wouldn’t be in this mess,” said Applebee. “Politics and strategy be damned, these boneless wings are for winners so unless you’re coming home with a W, be prepared to pay your tab.”
Applebee's ‘losers pay policy’ update should come as no surprise to the military community. After the U.S. withdrew from Iraq in 2011, the company announced it was “abandoning cheese Kurds” by leaving them off its appetizer menu until troops were re-deployed to the region.
Mr. Applebee also cited the way in which the U.S. left Afghanistan as a key reason for cutting free meals for losers. “Most E-3’s leaving our Fort Hood location at last call have a better exit strategy and they’re 6 to 8 Long Island ice teas deep,” said Applebee.
The immediate reaction from veterans online has been a mix of shock and anger. Several former service members have already asked that the policy be revisited for Grenada, Panama, and Desert Storm veterans. Many others are instead assigning blame within the ranks for the program’s demise.
“This is because the woke military has become a social experiment instead of warfighters like when I was in during the mid-’90s,” said Twitter user @USMC4Life69. “All four years I served we never lost a single NTC rotation.”
Up until this point, Applebee’s has maintained an extremely amicable relationship with the military having beat out 80’s juggernauts like Sizzler and Ponderosa to establish itself as the dominant “good enough place to get hammered off post.” This new policy, combined with last month’s AUKUS agreement, may open the door for Outback Steakhouse to challenge that position. Despite concerns, Applebee’s remains committed to its new winners-only policy.
“It’s about principle,” said Applebee. “Freedom isn’t free and neither are our signature riblets. Not anymore.”