WhatsApplebee’s is a secret social platform exclusively for the chain’s diners.
The iOS app was created by New York-based developer Mike Lazer-Walker who apparently built it as a joke or as his own take on apps that seem like a parody of the tech culture but are actually real products.
The app is exclusive for Applebee’s customers who are at the restaurant at the same time. The app uses iPhone location services to determine whether the users are currently inside an Applebee’s or are within 100 meters of one. Once a user is out of that coverage area, they can no longer chat up anyone who’s in the restaurant.
The app is completely anonymous and users are not even allowed chat usernames or assigned random user numbers. Conversations are simply made up of text and a timestamp for each line. Threads are archived later on and users can go back to them to reminisce the good times if they want. Photos have no place in the app either and it’s not clear whether the developer will be adding other features to the app any time soon.
The app is not affiliated with or endorsed in any way by Applebee’s, but it works in any branch of the restaurant chain. It may even just give the company the idea to include something like it in their table-side tablets, which already have games for diners to kill time with while waiting for their orders to arrive.
The app itself may seem a little ridiculous, but it points to the very real possibility of restaurants – or any establishment, for that matter – creating their own location-based social networks, which they can take advantage of by using it to send promotional messages or create in-store communities, and they can even throw in perks and incentives for members to join in.
The app is available for free on the iOS app store.