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THE SCARY TRUTH BEHIND THE WALLS OF APPLEBEES 1

The Scary Truth Behind the Walls of Applebees

A Rhetorical Analysis of the Literature,

The American Way of Eating

Sierra Wegener

UNVI 1059 Cornerstone Section 5

Professor Nikki Harken

October 23, 2013


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Restaurants have been serving food in America since 1827, beginning with

Delmonicos a warm, cozy restaurant where people went to relax. (Welcome to

Americas First Restaurant: Delmonicos. Home of Americas First Restaurant.

Delmonicos Restaurant. October 26, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013.) Today, we have

places like Applebees that offer the same feeling. Applebees stood out to Tracie,

triggering McMillans research further. Im writing about the research McMillan did at

Applebees because I want to find out how McMillan knew Applebees would have

secrets in their working confinements to explain why she chose Applebees to research in

for her book, The American Way of Eating. Throughout the process, McMillan promotes

the message about what Applebees is really like to her audience. Tracie dug deep into

Applebees to expose them and to prove her message that Applebees hides what their

food is really made of, how much they could save, how unhealthy it is, and how bad the

corporation treats the employees.

Applebees always promotes their cheap food. Americans realize, most food, costs

more depending on the nutrition within the food. Cheap food is normally the fatty and

greasy food. People look for ways around spending the least amount money possible.

College students are willing to eat out and spend money on whatever they afford.

Students are less likely to care about the nutrition facts when they eat out, unlike

someone who is older. Tracie McMillan could tell that Applebees is popular; they have

over 1,400 restaurants world wide within 49 states and 17 different countries. (Our

History. Applebees: See You Tomorrow. Applebees International, Inc. October 28, 2013.

Web October 31, 2013) Applebees allows a cheap meal but a higher calorie intake.
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Applebees hides more than the common people see including the unhealthiness

of their food, where it comes from, and how the employees are treated. Restaurants like

Applebees are just a modern expression of a midcentury invention: the family

restaurant. (Tracie McMillan. The American Way of Eating: Who eats at Applebees-

and why?Slate. The Slate Group. February 16, 2012. Web. October 31, 2013.)

Applebees is a friendly family environment. Its faster food than cooking at home, but no

one realizes the fat and calorie intake. Discounting the stuff that comes out of the deep

fryer, most of what Applebees serves is basic American fare thats easy to make: steak,

chicken breasts, potatoes. (McMillan, 2012, The American Way of Eating) This proves

that the food at Applebees is simple and easy to make like something from home.

Applebees is easier than cooking at home but customers do not realize how much they

could save by eating at home.

Tracie proves Applebees rips off many of their customers. In strict dollars and

cents, eating out costs four and a half times as much as eating at home. (McMillan,

2012,The American Way of Eating) A meal at Applebees called Four Cheese Mac and

Cheese with Honey Chicken Tenders costs about eleven dollars and forty-nine cents. (4-

Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders. Applebees: See You

Tomorrow. Applebees International, Inc. October 28, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013.)

Compared to the closest home meal, Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni, which

costs two dollars and fifty cents for the package, an average of 2-4 dollars for a pound of

ground beef plus milk usually costing an average around three dollars. This adds up to

eight dollars and fifty cents that serves five people. (Hamburger Helper: Cheeseburger

Macaroni. General Mills. General Mills, Inc. October 31, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013)
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Tracie McMillans point shows families the danger of what they consume. The message

is not that Applebees is bad for you, but more to the point that major corporations get

away with serving unhealthy food.

People stray away from McDonalds because they have a reputation. Its greasy

burgers with French fries, while Applebees has dishes that range from chicken and steak

to pasta. Could it be that bad? The meals we served here share a kind of social DNA

with Hamburger Helper, said McMillan about her time at Applebees. (McMillan, 2012,

The American Way of Eating) Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni has 320

calories while the 4 Cheese Mac and Cheese with Honey Chicken Tenders has 1820

calories. (4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders. Applebees:

See You Tomorrow. Applebees International, Inc. October 28, 2013. Web. October 31,

2013.) (Hamburger Helper: Cheeseburger Macaroni. General Mills. General Mills, Inc.

October 31, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013.) This point shows that Applebees food is

unhealthier than a meal at home. Tracie McMillan writes how the food is a lot like home

style food but filled with grease and fat. Most dont even know where the food,

Applebees serves, comes from.

The ground beef we use at Applebees may have carpooled on an Arrowstream

track with patties for Wendys, or wontons for P.F. Changs or drumsticks for Churchs

Chicken; those restaurants use Arrowstream, too. (McMillan, 2012 The American Way

of Eating) This proves that Applebees serves food that comes from the same company

that serves fast food. Other corporations serve unhealthy food for your body including

IHOP, Ruby Tuesdays, and Red Lobster. The Applebees company also runs the IHOP

Company and both have high calorie amounts in their foods. Sadly, the nutrition at
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Applebees is horrific. The highest content of calories, fat, and sodium on the Applebees

menu is the Appetizer Sampler. This contains 2280 calories, 143 grams of fat, and 5650

milligrams of sodium. This is just one example that shows how unhealthy Applebees

appears. Tracie McMillan proved a point that not just Applebees serves unhealthy food

but also do many other chain corporations. Chain corporations dont treat their employees

right.

Applebees customers always look like they are happy and love their job but

every job has perks and cons. The management can also make the job better or worse.

Major corporations get away with paying their women less than their men. On average,

women in the restaurant industry are paid significantly less than men, and the wage gap

attributable to gender is larger than the one attributable to race.(McMillan, 2012, The

American Way of Eating) Depending on the position, some employees dont even see the

customers they serve. At a large corporation, it is difficult to be promoted within the

company. Applebees employees do not receive a free meal when working and only get

one break. There are many disadvantages to working at Applebees and they dont

promote the disadvantages; they just show they what they think is good. Tracie McMillan

had a specific audience that she planned on reaching when she started this book.

The author was trying to reach people who care about working conditions, the

healthiness of the food that they eat, and the big corporations. The audience that Tracie

McMillan reaches ranges over many different aspects of peoples lives. The first one is

the working people. Applebees tries to make it look like theyre cheap and like home.

People who get off work dont want to come home to cook. Applebees is a place where

the working people can relax. The working class ranges from teens at the age of 16, when
THE SCARY TRUTH BEHIND THE WALLS OF APPLEBEES 6

they are legal to work, until right before retirement at age 65. In addition, McMillan

chose the working class because it is the broadest section of America. Nearly half of

America is in the working class. Government and schools try to cut the obesity rate but

the rate still continues to increase.

21st century people care about healthy food. The obesity rate in America goes up

every year. The obesity rate for teens in 2010 was 18.4% while the adults, over 20, have

69.2% of Americans who are overweight or obese. (Office of Information Services.

Obesity and Overweight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.p. May 30,

2013. Web. October 31, 2013.) McMillan targeted the people concerned about their

health because most dont realize how unhealthy eating out can be. Americas rate of

obesity and overweight goes up every year but every still goes out to eat. By 2010,

Americans were spending 42 percent of our food budgets at the restaurants, states

McMillan (McMillan, 2012, The American Way of Eating) Tracie targeted people who

care about their health but her writing also brought a perspective to people who had never

thought about the calories and fat intake taken in at restaurants. McMillan went

undercover, doing actions not advised.

When Tracie McMillan published The American Way of Eating, people began to

wonder if she was really credible or not. My initial sense of Applebees is that it is a bad

environment for working and an unhealthy state for eating. The communication choices

the author used were a little different than what Ive read before. She used statistics and

her experiences to explain what the restaurant felt like in her sense. The author used the

city surrounding to affect the mood of the restaurant. The feel of the restaurant is fast
THE SCARY TRUTH BEHIND THE WALLS OF APPLEBEES 7

pace and hustle and bustle. The mood of the fast pace city is the authors strategic use

within the section of the book.

The author was trying to convey what secrets Applebees hid. She lied to people

about why she was there and what was really happening in her life at the time. I didn't

tell everyone. Just the folks I naturally would have kept in touch with. The families I had

lived with and worked with. (William Heisel. Q & A with Tracie McMillan, Part 2:

Examining The Diet While Undercover. Reporting on Health: The California

Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships. N.p. March 28, 2012. Web. October 31,

2013.) If she had not lied then the people around her may have acted differently. On the

other side of logic, she has gone to school, became a published journalist, worked and

experiences all the jobs before she wrote the book, which proves she is credible.

Tracie McMillan wrote The American Way of Eating to show the people what big

corporations, like Applebees hides behind their walls. From reading the book, many

people find the way Applebees serves their food is disgusting and wrong. Tracie

McMillan was right to expose the corporation for what it was worth. She almost tarnished

her reputation as a writer and could have lost her audience with it. Tracie used her facts

and statistics to show the true message of what is wrong with our big food industries in

the world today. Tracie used her message, the audience she wanted to reach, and her

background as an author to reveal what Applebees was hiding behind there walls to

expose there unhealthy food state to the world.


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Citations Page

(Our History. Applebees: See You Tomorrow. Applebees International, Inc.

October 28, 2013. Web October 31, 2013)

(Hamburger Helper: Cheeseburger Macaroni. General Mills. General Mills, Inc.

October 31, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013)

(McMillan, 2012, The American Way of Eating)

(Tracie McMillan. The American Way of Eating: Who eats at Applebees- and

why?Slate. The Slate Group. February 16, 2012. Web. October 31, 2013.)

(Office of Information Services. Obesity and Overweight. Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention. N.p. May 30, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013.)

(Welcome to Americas First Restaurant: Delmanicos. Home of Americas First

Restaurant. Delmonicos Restaurant. October 26, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013.)

(William Heisel. Q & A with Tracie McMillan, Part 2: Examining The Diet

While Undercover. Reporting on Health: The California Endowment Health Journalism

Fellowships. N.p. March 28, 2012. Web. October 31, 2013.)

(4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders. Applebees: See

You Tomorrow. Applebees International, Inc. October 28, 2013. Web. October 31, 2013.)