From the corporate world here’s another get-them-talking idea, and every marketing student needs to pay close attention to this.

Applebee’s, the fast-casual chain which has 55 locations in New Jersey and over 1,500 across the country recently did a promotion that is both generous and genius at the same time. They call it the date night pass.

On Monday, Jan. 22, their website started selling a limited number of date night passes for $200. For that money you got $30 per visit for 52 visits towards food and soft drinks. This amounts to over $1,500 (not covering gratuities or taxes) in a year and you had to use your date night pass between Feb. 1, 2024, and Jan. 31, 2025.

Romantic table setting for Valentines day

You would be a fool not to get $1500 for the low cost of $200. That is as long as you like Applebee’s and will go at least seven times in a year you’re going to be saving money. Go once a week for a year and you’re saving a ton of money.

Well, much like Taylor Swift tickets or Bruce Springsteen tickets these Applebee’s date night passes sold out within minutes.

Here’s what we don’t know and what the company isn’t saying. Just how many of these were available? When they say something like while supplies last it could be anywhere from 5 to 100 to 300 and no more. We just don’t know.

Restaurant Chains Applebee's And IHOP To Close Over 100 Stores
Getty Images

Let’s say these were limited to 200 nationwide. And let’s say for each one sold they take a $1300 loss. $1300 times 200 is $26,000. This deal is so amazing though that it gets people’s attention and people like me in media end up talking about it. What does that do marketing students?


Gets you recognition well over $26,000 in advertising would get you. Gets you talked about gets you noticed. Well worth the loss. And that’s the whole idea.

Restaurant Chains Applebee's And IHOP To Close Over 100 Stores
Getty Images

Will there be a repeat of the date night pass? I kind of wonder with what they’re calling this if they’re going to have a repeat of it just a few days before Valentine’s Day. That would make sense to me. And Applebee’s isn’t saying one way or the other if there might be more to come.

This was shrewd. It’s a great deal for anybody lucky enough to snag one. And Don Draper from “Madmen” would be impressed.

Kudos Applebee’s! Could you do me one favor and just bring back those Coronaritas? We miss them.

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