Good PR: Denny’s Free Breakfast

This morning, at 5:45, I awoke to three text messages from my best friends asking me if I was up and ready to head to Denny’s for our free breakfast this morning.  Along with one of my roommates, my sister and her hall mates, my three next door neighbors, and my two friends from Berkley Place, we headed into Anderson and arrived at Denny’s around 6:15.  When we arrived, there was already very little room to move in the waiting area because it was so packed.  Looking around, I tried to categorize the types of people waiting for the “Grand Slam Breakfast”, but it was almost impossible.  There were groups of college aged students, families with small children, a table with men all wearing the same work uniform, old couples, young couples, and people of all different backgrounds and cultures that gathered at Denny’s to enjoy each other’s company and eat breakfast for free.


For those who don’t know, Denny’s offered free breakfast for customers nationwide from 6 in the morning until 2 in the afternoon on “Fat Tuesday”.  The breakfast offered was called “The Grand Slam Breakfast” and included two pancakes, two sausage links, two eggs, and two pieces of bacon.  Denny’s offered the breakfast so that Americans could see that in this time of recession, they could still afford a breakfast at Denny’s.  After participating in the free (awesome!) breakfast, I now think that this was great PR for Denny’s.

Denny’s aired a commercial during the third quarter of the Super Bowl, which was seen by millions of American football fans.  Not only were there commercials prior to the big day, but newspapers wrote stories about the free breakfast and radio stations mentioned the breakfast on their morning shows.  Newspaper articles, like USA Today, mentioned that they thought that Denny’s would serve free breakfast to about two million people at its 1,500 chains nationwide.

While sitting with our group of 10, we all decided that it would be fun for all of us to wake up early once a month and drive to Denny’s to eat breakfast together before class.  I’m sure that we’re not the only ones who have decided to head to Denny’s instead of their competitors (Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Perkins…).

Tom Barlow wrote an article for Wallet Pop that figured out that all in all, Denny’s spent $400,000 on this promotion.  With all of the publicity that Denny’s attracted, that sort of money was definitely worth it.  So, Denny’s received free positive publicity and happy customers that plan on returning for the sweet breakfast.  Since Denny’s quarterly report won’t come out for a while, we won’t know for sure if this PR stunt helped bring in more customers.

However, I think that Denny’s free breakfast left a good taste in every customer’s mouth… figuratively and literately.


2 thoughts on “Good PR: Denny’s Free Breakfast

  1. Thats some interesting marketing strategy. What surprises me the most is that most people who went to Denny’s did not complain about the service or the quality of food. So it was a true Grand Slam for Denny’s and the Customers.
    Good Going. Hopefully, more will follow. Like Mcds or BK.

  2. I enjoyed the article, but just wanted to point out that Tom Barlow is way off in his calculations. It cost 3 million dollars to advertise for a 30 second slot during the superbowl.

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