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Denny's new LTO menu celebrates bacon

Maple Bacon Sundae creating buzz for the 'Baconalia' promotion

Denny’s has gone whole hog in its effort to court bacon lovers with the launch of its new promotional menu, “Baconalia! A Celebration of Bacon,” that features a buzz-worthy dessert called the Maple Bacon Sundae.

The limited-time menu offers patrons seven bacon-centric items starting from $2.99 and includes a Facebook sweepstakes to send one winner and a guest to Baconfest 2011 in Chicago on April 9.

Citing a National Pork Board study that said the average American eats more than 18 pounds of bacon per year, Denny’s said the LTO features menu items developed to tap into that craving.

“We always keep our eye on any trends out there with our guests, and bacon’s been toward the forefront for several years and continues to grow,” said John Dillon, vice president of marketing. “We have different sources we monitor, but it comes down to doing a lot of work with our guests. They say that if any brand should own bacon, it’s Denny’s.”

The chain is at least temporarily on its way toward achieving that goal with the rollout of its Maple Bacon Sundae, an indulgent dessert that already has attracted a lot of attention from the media and blogosphere. The ice cream sundae with maple syrup and hickory-smoked bacon sprinkles was called out this week on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and got picked up in other mainstream-media outlets.

Dillon equated the buzz for the dessert item to all the word-of-mouth driven last year by the Fried Cheese Melt, an indulgent sandwich introduced with the $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu that went viral and got huge publicity for Denny’s.

“It is happening again,” he said. “The bloggers are talking a lot about Baconalia, and we brought several bloggers down to our headquarters to give them a sneak preview. The real head-turner seems to be the Maple Bacon Sundae, and we did that on purpose. We wanted to give our guests a safe adventure with that one.”

The Baconalia menu also includes the Triple Bacon Sampler, the Ultimate Bacon Breakfast, the BBBLT Sandwich, Bacon Flapjacks, Pepper Bacon & Eggs, and Bacon Meatloaf.

The promotion will run for about 10 weeks into early June, Dillon said. He added that Denny’s detects no sign of “bacon fatigue” and may develop more bacon-focused items for future menus.

The Bacon Sweepstakes contest on Facebook runs through April 4, and contestants enter by clicking a special tab on Denny’s Facebook page. Five runners-up will receive $100 gift cards.

Spartanburg, S.C.-based Denny’s operates or franchises more than 1,600 family-dining restaurants in the United States and seven international markets.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].

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