SPARTANBURG S.C. On the heels of its successful Grand Slam giveaway in early February, Denny’s is getting ready to do it again, this time as a buy-one-get-one free offer using the chain’s Grand Slamwich.
Executives at the 1,500-unit family-dining chain told Nation’s Restaurant News this week that on April 8, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., participating Denny’s restaurants will offer customers a free Grand Slamwich when they buy a Grand Slam breakfast. The Grand Slamwich features scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, mayonnaise and American cheese between two pieces of maple-glazed toast.
The offer will be advertised during the final legs of March Madness, on Saturday during the NCAA semi-final men's basketball games, and again on Monday, April 6, during the college tournament’s championship game. The chain is setting up the promos as a way to thank consumers who enjoyed the Grand Slam giveaway in February and to encourage future visits.
“The creative is ‘Bring someone special in for a free breakfast. Thanks, America, for enjoying our free Grand Slam event where 2 million of you had a free breakfast,’” said Mark Chmiel, Denny’s chief marketing officer.
The original giveaway, held Feb. 3, was part of a marketing campaign targeted toward lapsed users of the brand in the hopes of getting them to return to the fold, Chmiel said. Denny’s has struggled of late against declining sales.
The company spent about $5 million on the original giveaway promotion and garnered “the equivalent of $50 million in free public relations,” Chmiel said.
He added that after the first promotion ended, the chain’s executives were overwhelmed by consumer response to the giveaway.
“They sent [e-mails] thanking us for giving them a free meal, especially in this economy,” he said. “One person wrote, ‘Thank you for giving America a big hug.’ Obviously, we did it for business reasons and consumer reasons, but we were really affected by the outpouring.”
Preliminary data collected by the chain after the first giveaway found that 49 million consumers visited the Denny’s website, and nearly 80 percent of those who received the free breakfast said they would come back to dine within 90 days.