Restaurants like Applebee’s and Olive Garden love offering an all-you-can-eat deal to get more customers in the door. While the deals are real, some customers are disappointed when realizing that chains sometimes skimp on the all-you-can-eat servings.
In a viral TikTok, Jacob (@djacques4) shared his experience with Applebee’s $15 all-you-can-eat shrimp, wings, and ribs. He explained that he was at Applebee’s with his friend, taking advantage of the deal. When his friend finished her wings, the server came over to ask if they’d like more, even offering to bring two plates out at once.
Jacob’s friend orders the shrimp, and Jacob gets the wings.
“We order both of them, and I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ My friend is like, ‘That’s too much, that’s too much,’ and I start feeling full,” Jacob said.
Turns out the server wasn’t bringing out a huge plate of food like the pair of friends expected. On the shrimp plate are four teeny fried shrimp. The portion is so small it’s comical. The tartar sauce cup takes up nearly as much space on the plate as the shrimp.
“Was not expecting four shrimps,” Jacob said alongside the crying face emoji. In a comment, he added that he had to hold in a laugh as the server slowly set the plate of shrimp down.
But Applebee’s tactic, while considered by some to be them cheating out, makes sense for some patrons like Jacob and his friend, who admitted to already starting to feel full after one plate.
Completely unrelated, but the music at Jacob’s local Applebee’s was giving party vibes. “is it Applebee’s or a rave?” one person asked. “okay, but why was the music popping at Applebee’s,” another said.
@djacques4 Wait till the end 🍤 #applebees #happyhour #tiptiptiponhardwoodfloors #firstdayofschool ♬ original sound – Jacob
The video has nearly a million views and hundreds of comments.
“HELPPP I THOUGHT THAT WAS THE LEFTOVERS,” the top comment read.
“lmao I used to work at applebees. I hated bringing out these small portions the second time. they basically didn’t want people to share,” a former worker said.
“Same for Olive Garden endless pasta. I got my second plate ready to chow and it was the size of a child’s meal,” another chimed in.
The modern-day version of all-you-can-eat food started at a Las Vegas casino/resort with a buffet-style spread open 24 hours a day. The point wasn’t to make a profit off the food but to get people to come and gamble for as long as possible, Food & Wine reported.
This all-you-can-eat food style has since expanded into a less self-serve option that’s left some customers wanting more. Several fast-casual restaurants around the country, like Applebee’s, offer all-you-can-eat deals on things like shrimp, wings, and ribs, but the catch is that you don’t serve yourself. You must ask the server for more food each time you finish your plate.
It’s a more cost-effective approach that leads to less food waste, but some customers think the restaurant is stingy with their portions.
The Daily Dot has previously covered other Applebee’s stories, like one person who had the complete opposite experience at the $15 all-you-can-eat, a customer who saw a person get fired mid-shift and the secret behind the sizzling plates.
The Daily Dot reached out to Jacob for comment via Instagram direct message and to Applebee’s via email.