In recent years, casual-dining chains like Applebee’s and Chili’s have faced significant challenges in winning over the appetites and wallets of the younger generation. Let’s compare the meals and deals at both restaurant chains, and declare a winner in each category.
Drinks Winner: Chili’s
At Applebee’s, the “Perfect Cosmo” drink, which is their version of a Cosmopolitan cocktail, was sweet and boozy but nothing special or memorable. At Chili’s we absolutely enjoyed the “El Presidente” margarita – it’s delicious and strong, and with the purchase of the meal deal, it cost only $5. Both chains left the shaker tin on the table, but Chili’s won this round for its delicious and affordable drink.
Appetizers Winner: Applebee’s
At Applebee’s, we tried the boneless Honey BBQ wings and it was absolutely delicious. The honey barbecue sauce was tasty. Their chicken quesadilla was also a delight. The Caesar salad was bland, but this was expected after the portion size of the wings.
At Chili’s, we also tried the BBQ wings but they were rather dry, and the barbecue sauce was neither enough or delicious compared to Applebee’s. Chili’s loaded potato soup was superior to the Caesar salad at Applebee’s, but the cheesy quesadillas and juicy wings at Applebee’s won over the appetite by the end of this round.
Entrées Winner: Chili’s
At Applebee’s, the Chicken Tenders Platter we ordered looked sad and unappetizing, and although the chicken had a nice crunch to it, it was nothing to write home about. The meal was part of the three-course meal deal, and at $21.99, the expectation was a yummier-looking plate.
At Chili’s we ordered Cajun Chicken Pasta which was creamy, spicy, and filling, and the chicken was tender. The Cajun spice provided the perfect amount of zing to the almost-too-rich pasta sauce, and the dish was paired with a warm piece of toasted garlic bread on the side. Although neither chain impressed, the portions and meal choices at Chili’s ultimately won this round.
Overall, we can honestly say that both Applebee’s and Chili’s have made a comeback by offering monthly deals on drinks and meal combinations. While Applebee’s won the appetizer round with its juicy wings and cheesy quesadillas, Chili’s won the drinks and entrées round with its strong and delicious margarita and creamy and spicy Cajun Chicken Pasta.
Whether you prefer one chain over the other, both Applebee’s and Chili’s are worth a visit for their affordable meal deals and tasty dishes.
In Mexico you can find Applebee’s and Chili’s in various locations. Applebee’s entered the Mexican market in 1998 and currently operates over 40 restaurants in the country. Chili’s, on the other hand, has been in Mexico since 1995 and has over 80 locations across the country.