Gary Landers and his staff are no longer surprised when they see someone walking around a local Applebee’s restaurant, standing and scanning the walls for a few minutes.
“At first we’d ask if we could help, you know? We didn't know what they were doing,” says Landers, executive director of operations for T.L. Cannon, the franchisee for all 10 locations in the Rochester area.
The answer usually produced a smile and laugh: “I’m trying to find myself,” customers say.
Applebee’s will celebrate its 25th anniversary in Rochester next month. The first location opened March 12, 1991, on South Winton Road. And did you know this fun fact? It was the first Applebee’s in all of New York state, says Matthew Fairbairn, the chief executive officer of T.L. Cannon, which is based in the Buffalo suburb of Williamsville.
When Cannon remodels a restaurant in the local sports theme it contacts local schools, colleges and organizations asking for them to submit pictures and give the restaurant permission to use them. In the Pittsford Plaza location, for example, there are students from Mendon and Sutherland, Brighton and The Harley schools, among others. College athletes from Nazareth, St. John Fisher, University of Rochester and Monroe Community College are also displayed.
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