Applebee's Employee Chosen as Best in the StateThe Apple Gold Group, franchisee of Applebee’s restaurants in North Carolina, Oklahoma and Arkansas, is proud to announce employee Kim Almond has been named Employee of the Year by the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA).

“Kim embodies Applebee’s mission to be a great neighbor in the community and is a vital addition to our team,” said Michael Olander, President and CEO of the Apple Gold Group. “Her hard work, charisma and passion about our guests and community have made a huge impact on her restaurant and fellow employees.”

Almond, who works at the Applebee’s located at 1240 US Highway 29, Concord, N.C., is an expert in nearly all aspects of the restaurant, especially as a bartender and server. Her enthusiasm and devotion to her work makes her a proven leader in her restaurant, delivering superior service time after time. She trains new employees with an approach that reflects the Apple Gold Group’s key principles and always leads by example. Her achievements are recognized by her management staff, who chose her as the recipient of several Applebee’s internal awards, including AppleStar of the Year in 2009 and AppleStar of the month in August 2010.

Beyond her outstanding work ethic, Almond generously gives back to the community. She raised over $1,100 for The V Foundation during the company’s “March Madness” Fundraiser, contributing to her restaurant’s total of over $5,700 and a company total of $175,000 donated for cancer research. She also volunteers her time on Saturday and Sunday mornings at Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraisers to help local charities and non-profit organizations raise money for their cause. She has only missed one Flapjack Fundraiser in the Concord restaurant’s history.

Almond will be presented with her award at the 2011 Taste of North Carolina event on February 28, 2011, at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham, N.C.

Apple Gold, Inc., one of the original five Applebee’s Franchisees, was founded in 1984 to develop and operate Applebee’s restaurants in North Carolina, opening its first Neighborhood Grill and Bar in North Carolina in 1985. A decade later, the company expanded its territory to include Oklahoma and then Arkansas, and currently operates 73 restaurants in those three states. The Apple Gold Group strives to be a recognized leader in both the casual dining industry and in local charitable fundraising. For more information on the Apple Gold Group, please visit www.AGGrestaurants.com.