Applebee’s is planning to roll out a new All-In Burger platform next week with a digital marketing campaign that unveils its “secret” recipe.

An amusing spoof video titled “You’ll Never Believe How These Applebee’s Burgers are Made” hit social media Tuesday. It portrayed a faux fan who infiltrates the chain’s Kansas City, Mo.-based test kitchen, plants several hidden cameras, walks in and pronounces, “I work here.”

The spy, who also wears a camera embedded in his glasses, asks for a full description of the new burger, which is made with grilled onions, bacon and pickles, on which the burger patty is smashed. When the burgers are ready, the spy grabs them and makes a dash for the parking lot, almost leaving them on the roof of his car.

The burger line is scheduled to debut on Aug. 18, and features four: varieties such as Mushroom Swiss, Triple Bacon, Sweet Asian Pineapple and The American Standard.

The company has not recommended pricing, leaving that to operators of the mostly-franchised chain.

In a statement that carries on the ruse, Applebee’s senior vice president of marketing and culinary Darin Dugan said: “By now you no doubt have seen the video from YouTube user brgrzbrgrzbrgrz who has ‘uncovered’ one of Applebee’s most closely held trade secrets. It’s true: Applebee’s All-In Burgers are real and revolutionary. We sear ingredients like bacon, pickles, onions, mushrooms, even pineapple (yes, pineapple) right into our fresh (never frozen) ground beef.

“Our All-In Burgers are so good that we couldn’t keep this kind of information secret any longer,” he continued. “While our video gave guests an insider’s look at how we’ve changed burgers for the better, they’ll have to wait until Aug. 18 to try them firsthand. Until then, our apologies for the cravings.”

Janney restaurant analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a note Tuesday that the upgraded burger line fits with the casual-dining chain’s recent efforts to stay relevant with consumers.

Applebee’s same-store sales have outperformed the Knapp-Track casual-dining index so far in 2014, as well as over the past six full years, Kalinowski said.

“Menu innovation is one reason why, and no doubt DineEquity hopes that Applebee’s All-In Burger will help continue this pattern,” he said.

Though Applebee’s same-store sales rose a modest 0.6 percent for the second quarter, Kalinowsky predicts sales will increase 0.3 percent for the fiscal year, and rise 1 percent in 2015.

Contact Lisa Jennings at lisa.jennings@penton.com
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout