Today, Denny’s is entering the delivery game via its rollout of “Denny’s On Demand.”
The move, which taps an entirely new frontier for “America’s Diner” is being counted upon to catapult the brand past the hurdles that full-service chains are currently facing. The Spartanburg, S.C.-based restaurant is taking their menu to their customers’ home turf.
And while it’s a completely new avenue for a restaurant that’s stuck to traditional in-house dining for almost 65 years, the brand feels the flexibility that comes with delivery reinforces one of the brand’s core beliefs.
“Since 1953, we’ve [told customers] ‘Whatever you want, whenever you want it.’ ‘Now we’re adding ‘wherever you want it.’ to the Denny’s promise,” the company’s CMO, John Dillon said. “We’re excited about that.”
“The guest is demanding more access, more convenience, more control. This sets us up very well to address those needs in the future,” Dillon said. “Clearly, we’re going to continue to drive guests into our restaurants, but more and more guests want that convenience where they are and on their terms. We’re going to fit right into it.”
The initiative had been in development for “a good couple years,” according to Dillon.
“We wanted to hit it where the sweet-spot was,” he said, “when the guest was ready for it and when we felt like we could deliver exactly what the guest wanted.”
Dillon said that Denny’s 24 hour operations is a point of differentiation with their delivery offerings.
Though Denny’s prides itself on providing a diverse menu that could rival most independent American diners, breakfast selections such as Grand Slam meals with four breakfast items and buttermilk pancakes are leading draws.
Cutting breakfast out of the delivery equation would not have been prudent and neither would be sending them out the door doomed to wither in transit.
“Some people had concerns over ‘Does breakfast food travel,’ said Dillon. “We got packaging that makes sure it does travel.”
Unofficially dubbed “pods,” Denny’s new devices are engineered to allow the pancakes to breathe with vents. They are also positioned at the top of the container and kept separate from the other food, such as the eggs and protein of a Grand Slam.
The pods, like the rest of the newly minted Denny’s takeout containers, are both microwavable and sustainable. To add an “extra layer of engagement,” real tweets from Denny’s social feed are printed directly on the containers.
Dillon said that the company’s concerns were assuaged during tests.
Denny’s sold a good amount of breakfast items during the trials according to Dillon and much of the transactions were repeat orders, suggesting that the pods are a success.
The technological leverage is not just updates to packaging. In order to actually execute the deliveries, Denny’s has partnered with digital ordering provider, Olo.
Denny’s developed its own app with Olo so it felt like the Denny’s brand. The app allows for customers to order ahead, pay for takeout and order delivery, the company said, noting that customers can also use Dennys.com to make orders. Guests are able to track their order as well.
The app involves a substantial amount of imagery and is formatted to allow customers to replicate the customizable experience they’d have at a brick and mortar location.
Users can track the nutritional value of their meal in real time, as the stats update throughout the customization process.
At launch time, 50 percent of Denny’s restaurants will have delivery capabilities, but the brand plans to grow that number over time.
Via Olo, the company has also partnered with delivery services such as Uber Rush, Postmates and Deliver Logic. As those third party footprints grow, so will Denny’s roster of delivery-ready restaurants.
“Everyone in the system is excited about this,” said Dillon while discussing the preparation that was required by the company’s franchisees. He admitted that at first, some members of the group expressed concern about the undertaking.
But the demand and successful trials calmed those reservations.
“This is clearly what the guests want so there’s a huge excitement within the system,” said Dillon.
The short clips featured a Denny’s booth placed in various locations, hinting that soon, the restaurant’s food will be available wherever the customer is.
Denny’s is also incentivizing their new service with 60-day free Hulu trials for first-time users.
Denny’s currently operates over 1,700 restaurants.
Contact Dan Orlando at [email protected]
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