Walker Hayes shares why Applebee’s dinner is meaningful family tradition, interview

MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE - JULY 06: Walker Hayes and wife Laney Beville Hayes are seen at Applebee's on July 06, 2021 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Applebee's )
MURFREESBORO, TENNESSEE - JULY 06: Walker Hayes and wife Laney Beville Hayes are seen at Applebee's on July 06, 2021 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Applebee's ) /

While everyone knows the Walker Hayes “Fancy Like” song and coordinating Tik Tok dance, the popular country music artist has some Applebee’s family traditions that were made long before the song was a viral hit. Whether it was the catchy tune or the sentiment in the words that he sings, that song struck a chord with millions, and Applebee’s, too. More importantly, that one song is changing that classic Applebee’s dinner forever.

For non-country music fans, “Fancy Like” has become Walker Hayes’ signature song. While that idea of a special date night with a loved one has universal relatability, the reality is that a few lyrics got people, and Applebee’s, talking. Although television shows and social media make it seem like every date night comes with a red rose and a movie like setting, the reality is a great date night is simple. Good food and great company will make any night special.

Given the popularity of the song, Applebee’s reached out to Hayes and now is using a clip of “Fancy Like” in its commercials. More importantly, thanks to Hayes’ song, Applebee’s has brought back its Oreo Cookie Shake, yes the one mentioned in the song.

As Joel Yashinsky, chief marketing officer at Applebee’s congratulated Hayes’ on the hit of the summer, the brand knew that it had to bring back the favorite dessert. While many people will be ecstatic with the dessert’s triumphant return, dancing in the restaurant is not required to order.

Recently, FoodSided had the opportunity to chat with Walker Hayes about his hit summer song, his partnership with the brand, and why Applebee’s dinner holds such special meaning for him.

Walker Hayes usually orders this meal at Applebee’s

While the line in Fancy Like mentions that Bourbon Street Steak, there is good reason why that one dish sticks out to Hayes. When asked, he admitted that he never deviates from that Bourbon Street Steak and potatoes. Specifically, he said, “I’m a creature of habit.” He even recalled the time when he was little and graduated to the adult meal. After that “rite of passage” moment to the larger menu item, there was no turning back.

Even when he first started dating his now wife, his favorite menu item has always been the same. Even though his dad might have cringed a little at all the credit card charges for his son’s date nights, there is something to be said for the tradition. Special occasions were marked by dinner at Applebee’s.

Although his food preferences never vary, Hayes admitted that his kids have different Applebee’s food choices. They love to order mozzarella sticks. And, Hayes shared that on more than one occasion he has taken a few of French fries off his kids’ plates.

But, those special moments around the table are one of the reasons why this idea resonates with so many people. While the food is important, it is about using that time together to reconnect.

Recalling growing up in Mobile, Alabama, a date night was a time to celebrate not just the trip to Applebee’s but also the person sitting across the table. As Hayes said, “the simplicity of a date night is kind of beautiful.”

Whether it is a couple at the table or the family gathering around, Hayes believes that “little moment” needs to be celebrated and it is something “that we all share.” That “the nostalgia of just going to a restaurant and sitting down with your family as a beautiful thing.” In some ways, “Fancy Like” captured that idea and maybe even inspired some people to enjoy that moment for themselves.

And, while everyone has fallen in love with his song this summer, there might be another reason why Walker Hayes earns high praise in the pop culture moment. He is more than just a singer song writer, he is the guy who brought back the Oreo Cookie Shake to the Applebee’s menu and he’s ok with that.

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Walker Hayes and his song Fancy Like that are featured in the current Applebee’s commercials. The Oreo Cookie Shake has returned to the restaurant’s menu and is priced at $2.99

Whether date night comes with one shake and two straws or a plate of mozzarella sticks to share, take a moment to enjoy each other’s company. Being fancy like that might be a memory that lasts a lifetime.