Entrance to Applebee's restaurant with logo above door, northern Idaho. (Photo by: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Applebee's Used To Have A
Way More
Whimsical Name
By Nico Danilovich
Applebee's is the biggest U.S. casual-dining chain, with over 1,000 locations in the United States and a whopping 97% of Americans having heard of it. However, one has to wonder if it would be such a success if it had kept its original name.
When Bill and TJ Palmer created Applebee's back in 1980, it was instead whimsically called "TJ Applebee's Rx for Edibles & Elixirs," with “TJ" obviously referring to one of the company's founders. An "apple bee" can refer to a New England get-together, although others have assumed that since the name is possessive, it refers to TJ’s maiden name — but there is no record of this.
"Rx" refers to a doctor's prescription, so presumably, "TJ Applebee" was a doctor ordering customers to eat "edibles" that were "good" for them at their neighborhood grill and bar. The Palmers sold their concept to the W.R. Grace Company, who eventually rebranded it to "Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar."