The latest Applebee’s to open in New York City in East Harlem on 117th St. will soon qualify as the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold restaurant in the Big Apple. Another recent just-opened location in Parkchester drew so many people to its grand opening that lines stretched outside the door. The Times Square locale is the top grossing Applebee’s in the world, hosting 20,000 diners in a good week.
There is an explanation for this success. Over the past 18 years since Apple Metro started opening franchises in New York, Tankel and company have created a company that relies on customer service, a committed ownership and personal pride to bring diners back.
The company has also become a school of life for its many employees and helped improve the retail offerings in emerging and marginal neighborhoods from Flatbush to Jamaica, Queens.
‘We give people careers, not just jobs,” says Tankel, who grew up in a tough section of Paterson, N.J., to middle-class hardworking parents. “We also make everyone who works here or comes to eat here feel special about themselves. It’s about fulfillment for all of us. We want all of our employees to know they can have a good life with us or anywhere they go after us.”