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Top 5 References to Applebee's in Friday Night Lights

Fans of the recently finished series Friday Night Lights remember the show for its heartwarming depiction of a small Texas town, Dillon, in love with its high school football program. (For you non sports lovers, the series' name refers to the day and time football games are typically contested at the high school level).

True fans of the show also know it for the almost comically constant appearance of the Applebee’s franchise, seemingly the only restaurant in town. To put it mildly, Applebee’s is prevalent throughout the series.

How does a popular restaurant franchise find itself weaved into the storyline of big-time football in small-town Texas? Media agency Starcom worked out the product placement deal on behalf of Applebee’s. Seeing the show in development before it aired, Starcom thought it was a perfect fit for the casual restaurant chain and worked out a deal with NBC for integration into the show before even discussing financial terms. Starcom felt the show would match Applebee’s “Eating Good in the Neighborhood” branding. Prominent use of Applebee’s and other product placement from companies such as Gatorade and Valvoline helped keep Friday Night Lights, a critical darling but never a smash commercial hit, on the air for five years.

We've cataloged five of FNL's most memorable Applebee’s mentions below. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

1. Landry says, "Can you explain why every paragraph has to tie back into Applebee's?," asking fellow high schooler Tyra why every paragraph in her college essay mentions Applebee’s, where she worked as a waitress for much of high school.

2. Julie says, “It’s the car Mrs. Odmark’s going to sell me when I make enough money working at Applebee’s” to Matt, showing the vehicle she plans to buy when she's earned enough from waitressing.

3. “Did they change this menu, or what?,” Coach Eric Taylor asks his wife Tammi in the middle of an argument as they eat at -- you guessed it -- Applebee’s after a game. For good measure, the franchise's logo is prominently shown before the scene begins.

4. “I work at Applebee’s.” - Julie says when Matt runs into her in the Applebee’s parking lot. She wears her Applebee’s name tag for the entire scene.

5. The booster meeting at Applebee's: Applebee’s is showcased in the very second episode of the series when soon-to-be-scandal-racked booster Buddy Garrity is named “Booster of the Year.”


Breaking Down an FDD

Once you've found a franchise (or multiple franchises) that you are interested, the real research and diligence process begins. You need to figure out whether the franchise you are looking at really makes sense for you from a financial and lifestyle perspective. Your best source of information for all of this is the Franchise Disclosure Document, or FDD.

Franchisor-Franchisee Independence and Joint Liability, Redux

In the Tilted Kilt case, the franchisor allegedly published an “employee handbook” for franchisees to distribute to their staff, and exerted significant control over the operation of the franchised outlet in question. If true, these are two factors that typically weigh in favor of finding the franchisor to be a “joint employer” with its franchisee, thereby potentially subjecting it to liability for the alleged harassment.

Financing the Acquisition

Financing the acquisition of a franchise is not a slight affair, as with the legal fees, the initial fee, allocation for resource acquisition and various other expenses the cost raises significantly. Therefore financing often becomes mandatory in that situation. Mostly people concentrate on third party financing where they seek out investors and other debt or equity lenders for their financial needs. However, two of the most overlooked options are: