Applebee's corporate chefs typically work on new menus a year ahead, creating as many as 200 dishes in their quest for the perfect 20 or so to feature the following year, said culinary VP Peter Czizek. "We do surveys and focus groups, the results of which the marketing folks give to the chef team in fairly broad terms. It's up to us to take ideas or terms like 'fresh' or 'healthy,' and foods like strawberries, blueberries, green beans, or spinach and turn them into not just dishes, but menu items," he said.

Related Summaries