The Duncan Banner
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar opened Monday, with Duncan Chamber of Commerce President Chris Deal hailing it as a progressive move for Duncan.
“This is a very momentous and special occasion,” Deal said, during the ribbon cutting held by the Chamber and city, also noting that it’s a perfect fit for a progressive community. The efforts to bring Applebee’s began almost two years ago, but groundbreaking took place Aug. 13.
On hand for Monday’s opening were numerous city and business leaders, Chamber ambassadors, several Leadership Duncan Class XVII members, along with many of Applebee’s top executives — Concord’s President Maggie Stine, Vice President and Executive Director of Operations Paul Tauscher, Oklahoma Director of Operations Jody Murray, and Duncan’s General Manager John McKinney.
Mayor Gene Brown spoke during the opening, “Welcome to Duncan and thank you for your investment in Duncan. This is good news and we are all excited.”
With the opening, it marked the 45th store for the restaurant which operates on a neighborhood principle and greets every customer at the door.
McKinney said he’s been with the company for 11 years and he’s extremely excited to be put in such a position. He began with the company as a server.
“It’s taught me a lot of responsibility and accountability,” he said. “We believe in welcoming people into our restaurant, just like you would greet them at home.”
He looks forward to helping many other young people interested in the restaurant business to take it on as a career and not just a job.
“I think they’re all real anxious and the training has been very structured.”
Chamber Ambassador Chairperson Billie Strutton introduced the local ambassadors to the Applebee’s team and said they are excited to have their luncheon at the facility on Friday.
The first guests Monday were those attending the ribbon cutting, but it wasn’t long before many community residents started coming in for lunch. The staff were prepared, after having a trial run on both Friday, for friends and family, and on Saturday for many invited guests.
“This is a watershed for retail,” Deal said. “It shows that Duncan is a can-do community and we hope other firms consider looking at us. We hope to establish more corporation partners, especially in the retail industry. This is such a positive, uplifting thing for our community.”
Deal said working with the Applebee’s team has been a great experience.
“The culture, and even Maggie Stine, and all of the team ... they are an extra great group of people and it’s been an awesome experience.”
McKinney told The Banner also that a new restaurant had opened in Pensacola, Fla., Monday. Concord’s Dawn Rudd said it was an old building that the company chose to level and rebuild. McKinney said the Saturday event managed to nudge out in “sales” the Pensacola restaurant, beating them by $19.