Applebee's International is contacting a number of agencies nationwide about its account through a West Coast consultant, sources said.
The Overland Park, Kan.-headquartered chain puts about $35 million a year behind its Applebee's Neighborhood Bar and Grill restaurants.
Mike Marsak of Effective Marketing Strategies, Marina Del Rey, Calif., has contacted agencies on both coasts and in the Midwest, inquiring about interest in a food-service client, sources said. The shops contacted all have food experience.
Karen Eadon joined Applebee's within the past month as senior vice president of marketing after serving as a marketing director at Atlantic Richfield. Marsak in 1995 conducted a review for Atlantic Richfield's Arco unit, which led to the selection of Rubin Postaer and Associates in Santa Monica, Calif.
Applebee's advertising is currently handled by Wyse Advertising in Cleveland. Marc Wyse, chairman and chief executive officer, said he was not aware of any review by the client.
Eadon could not be reached for comment.
Wyse's latest work includes TV spots touting Applebee's sirloin steaks as the best-selling steaks in America. The restaurant chain's $35 million in advertising spending last year was a 24 percent increase from 1997 expenditures of about $28 million, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The company operates about 1,000 restaurants in 48 states and six foreign countries.
--with Angela Dawson