It's hard for fans of generic American food and family-friendly casual chain restaurants to find a place to discuss their passions, but finally there may be an answer. The new iPhone app WhatsApplebee's gives Applebee's patrons a private place to chat, while keeping out everyone else who isn't current inside one of the chain's thousands of restaurants. The app is entirely unaffiliated with Applebee's itself (though it may want to borrow the idea for the 100,000 tablets it's installing at tables), but developer Mike Lazer-Walker tells us that the app does in fact work nonetheless.
"I like the absurdity of it actually being a real thing."Though WhatsApplebee's sounds like it may not have been intended as anything more than a funny play on WhatsApp, Lazer-Walker actually created it as a broader parody of the startup scene. "The basic idea was just being frustrated with tech these days, and seeing all my friends go off and do these startups where they're spending so much time and so much effort building something that's so silly and so frivolous that you're not actually sure if it's a real idea or not," he tells The Verge by phone. "It came out of wanting to build something that seemed so over the top and so silly that there was no way that it could be real, but at the same time you sort of believe that it would be."
As a developer himself, Lazer-Walker instead splits his time between client work and developing his own "weird indie games, like one that makes you a 19th century telegraph operator. WhatsApplebee's isn't in the usual type of weird app that he's making, but he says it only took a day to put together. "You see plenty of these sites that are a silly parody, 'Oh look we're making fun of startups,'" he says, "but I like the absurdity of it actually being a real thing that you can download and use." Lazer-Walker hasn't actually used it in an Applebee's himself, though he says that he's been meaning to. Next time you want a margarita, you could always swing by Applebee's and see if anyone's around to chat too.