CULLMAN – Unless you have been living under a rock the past few months, then chances are you have seen or heard about the new Applebee’s restaurant that has made its new home in Cullman. Opening at the beginning of this past week, the restaurant has already fed hundreds of hungry Cullman residents. The crew and management have big plans to make this restaurant Cullman’s favorite place to eat.
Kurt Guttshall is the CEO of 61 Applebee’s across the region; his knowledge of what it takes to make a restaurant great comes from years of experience. He was ready for action at the Cullman store Wednesday, and took some time out to speak about why he chose to open a new restaurant here.
“We’ve been looking at Cullman for a while now,” said Guttshall. “The closest to this area is either Fultondale or Decatur. We didn’t want to cannibalize either of those, but the fact Cullman went wet really opened up the opportunity for this. The bar business is a big part of our business so before it just wouldn’t have worked, but now we are glad to say we’re here.”
The restaurant décor was simple, chic and had a very hometown vibe. With paintings of Auburn and Alabama on the back wall of the building, and another beautiful mural of scenes from Cullman, the restaurant has a personal feel to it. A beautiful bar top sits in the center of the restaurant, and flat screen TVs could be found on almost any wall for everyone to watch the big games.
In addition to a welcoming atmosphere, the restaurant has the key ingredient that makes a good establishment, into a great one – hardworking employees. Before the opening for lunch Wednesday, this reporter was able to hear a pep talk given to everyone by General Manager Debbie Wilson who has been with the company for nine years. She talked to her employees about safety, great work ethic and how they were there to have fun and make some money. All the employees got themselves ready for the lunch shift with smiles on their faces.
“I think the most important thing for me as a manager is to take care of my people,” said Wilson. “So if my people are happy at work, then they will do a better job of taking care of my guests. If the employees are happy, then our guests are happy. When I hired this group, I told them they were like my children now, and my job was to take care of them.”
All the ingredients for an amazing restaurant were there so far, with a great staff and atmosphere, but how was the food? The menu had lots of options to fit anyone’s needs or appetite. The Shrimp ‘N Parmesan Sirloin was particularly delicious. Top the meal off with a dessert like their scrumptious pretzel bites and you will be one satisfied customer!
Debbie Wilson lastly stated she and her crew’s commitment to trying to get things right for their customers, and their willingness to correct any mistakes that may arise.
“I just want everyone to know how much we all care about their experience here,” said Wilson. “We’re here to make things right for them. If they have a bad experience with their food or service, which will happen at times because we’re human, but we want to make it right before they leave. All they have to do is ask for a manager, and we will take care of whatever the issue is.”
Applebee’s is located at 2106 Cherokee Ave SW. For more information, please call 256-736-6336.