This TikTok dance trend made Applebee's bring back the Oreo shake

After the "Fancy Like" dance went viral on TikTok, Applebee's President John Cywinski talks to CNN Business about how the trend is shaping the company's marketing strategy.

Posted: Aug 23, 2021 12:29 PM


The Oreo Cookie Shake is coming back to Applebee's, thanks to country singer Walker Hayes and his song "Fancy Like."

Applebee's ditched the item when it slimmed down its menu during the pandemic. But after the song came out in June and started to go viral, the chain decided to bring back the shake for a limited time starting Monday.

Casual dining chains like Applebee's have struggled in recent years as they face more competition from fast casual brands like Panera and Chipotle, and online delivery offered through the likes of Grubhub and DoorDash. The pandemic was the latest blow. But Applebee's is seeing sales grow again — the second quarter was its best in years. A buzzy song can help keep momentum going.

Hayes' tune, which has gone viral on TikTok, mentions the milkshake in its lyrics: "We fancy like Applebee's on a date night, got that Bourbon Street steak with the Oreo shake."

The song "created buzz and chatter and among team members [and] among guests," John Cywinski, president of Applebee's, told CNN Business. "We do have people singing it and dancing to it in our restaurants," he added. "We love being part of the conversation."

When a restaurant chain is referenced in pop culture, it can be good for business.

Sales at Red Lobster spiked the weekend Beyoncé released "Formation," a song that mentioned its food as a reward for sex. And after Taylor Swift mentioned Olive Garden in the song "no body, no crime," from her 2020 album 'evermore,' Eugene Lee, CEO of Olive Garden's parent company Darden Restaurants thanked her. "When Taylor Swift drops our name in the song, our brand becomes very, very relevant," Lee said during a December analyst call. "It's a 40-plus year old brand that's all of a sudden relevant with her audience."

Being part of the zeitgeist can also help recruit employees.

"Hiring team members in this environment is a challenge. And retaining them is challenging," Cywinski said. "What we found is team members really liked to be a part of something bigger."

To ride the 'Fancy Like' wave, Applebee's had to act fast. "There's a window of opportunity when you have a cultural phenomenon like 'Fancy Like," Cywinski said. A song could be viral today and gone tomorrow.

"We had to ensure that all the restaurants had the ingredients on short notice," he said. Typically, Applebee's likes to have about 12 months to launch an item.

It also has to make sure that customers are aware that the item is back. To spread the word, the chain is launching commercials showing people dancing to the song. Applebee's also put together a menu insert featuring a photo of Hayes and his wife sharing an Oreo shake, the relevant lyrics and a QR code that allows diners to see TikTok videos featuring the song, among other things.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1000163

Reported Deaths: 16309
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1347632106
Lake660041156
Allen57441793
Hamilton46100461
St. Joseph44109607
Elkhart35696507
Vanderburgh32087477
Tippecanoe27796257
Johnson24902443
Hendricks23738354
Porter22802362
Madison18614404
Clark18424250
Vigo17347301
Monroe15180197
LaPorte15046250
Delaware14984259
Howard14626287
Kosciusko12217147
Hancock11630175
Bartholomew11505179
Warrick11255189
Floyd11013214
Wayne10897250
Grant9964218
Morgan9404176
Boone8863116
Dubois8227130
Dearborn817093
Henry8139151
Noble7984106
Marshall7838134
Cass7499119
Lawrence7403170
Shelby7138114
Jackson694088
Gibson6533113
Harrison644491
Huntington633999
Knox6273106
DeKalb626397
Montgomery6208109
Miami589797
Putnam575377
Clinton570271
Whitley560455
Steuben554675
Wabash5279101
Jasper524475
Jefferson506996
Ripley495685
Adams476073
Daviess4616113
Scott435869
Greene422096
Wells420987
Clay420260
White415962
Decatur4133101
Fayette404286
Jennings385160
Posey375343
LaGrange353978
Washington353249
Randolph341999
Spencer337342
Fountain332558
Sullivan326752
Starke313369
Owen312070
Fulton306567
Orange291762
Jay280445
Perry264752
Franklin264042
Carroll259132
Rush258832
Vermillion255454
Parke230026
Pike227943
Tipton226659
Blackford190540
Pulaski181855
Crawford158623
Newton156048
Benton150217
Brown144547
Martin137419
Switzerland134211
Warren120516
Union106815
Ohio84112
Unassigned0538

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1499485

Reported Deaths: 23327
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1626291662
Cuyahoga1447662412
Hamilton1044761409
Montgomery731681240
Summit610421094
Lucas55643904
Butler51076707
Stark459431053
Lorain35141568
Warren32476369
Mahoning30315672
Clermont27930321
Lake26669434
Delaware23960162
Licking23547283
Trumbull22550552
Fairfield22179241
Greene22098311
Medina21763305
Clark19630349
Richland18342280
Portage17696247
Wood17244220
Allen15730269
Miami15355296
Muskingum14551174
Columbiana13756263
Wayne13585263
Tuscarawas12479298
Marion11797175
Scioto11388154
Pickaway11286141
Erie10676180
Ross10462196
Lawrence9663137
Hancock9546149
Ashtabula9479197
Belmont9133197
Geauga8829157
Jefferson8481191
Huron8229139
Union810756
Washington8031137
Sandusky7724145
Athens769572
Knox7606138
Darke7553151
Seneca7208144
Ashland6817125
Auglaize667896
Shelby6410111
Brown628582
Crawford6184130
Defiance6087102
Mercer608293
Fulton592996
Highland590099
Madison587576
Clinton576190
Logan574692
Guernsey572467
Preble5660121
Putnam5250108
Williams520184
Perry512561
Champaign505071
Jackson498770
Ottawa479086
Coshocton471582
Morrow451256
Pike430762
Fayette422160
Adams411587
Gallia411265
Hardin411076
Van Wert364078
Henry357871
Holmes3567122
Hocking352578
Wyandot317961
Carroll297059
Paulding275945
Meigs259249
Monroe212953
Noble196546
Morgan190832
Harrison178242
Vinton162624
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 53°
Angola
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntington
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 53°
Decatur
Clear
53° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 53°
Van Wert
Partly Cloudy
60° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 60°
Cold front brings scattered rain showers midweek with much cooler air to follow.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events