Denny’s Corp. is launching a revamped version of its pancakes July 12 at its more than 1,700 restaurants, along with an aggressive marketing campaign across multiple media channels.
The new Buttermilk Pancakes are twice as thick as the Spartanburg, S.C.-based chain's previous version. The batter has also been upgraded and now includes eggs, vanilla and buttermilk added at each restaurant.
The previous pancake mix had buttermilk solids, Denny’s senior director of product development Sharon Lykins said at a press conference July 11.
“The old pancake was pretty good, but we just really wanted to go ahead and make the best pancake we could,” she said, adding that the new pancakes were lighter, but still substantial enough to handle the rich toppings Denny’s adds to its pancakes, and had a more silky mouth feel thanks to the buttermilk and eggs.
Operationally, Lykins said she and her team developed procedures for pre-portioning the batter and holding it in the refrigerator, and also rolling out a new 6-inch spatula to guarantee that the pancakes were the same size across the system.
To promote the fluffier pancakes, Denny's has introduced four limited-time pancake meals — Sticky Bun with cinnamon sauce and cream cheese icing; Strawberries & Cream, filled with white chocolate chips and topped with sweetened strawberries and vanilla cream sauce; Double Berry Banana, which has blueberries cooked in the pancakes and strawberries and bananas on top; and Peanut Butter Cup, with chocolate chips and white chocolate chips in the pancakes, topped with hot fudge and peanut butter sauce — each served with two eggs, hash browns and choice of bacon or sausage.
The Double Berry Banana and Strawberries & Cream builds will be available until mid-October and are at a suggested price of $10.99. The other two are $10.69 and will remain on the menu through the rest of the year.
To support the new items, chief marketing officer John Dillon said Denny’s was launching a huge interactive marketing campaign, including 30-second and 15-second national TV spots in English and Spanish, asking viewers, promotions on Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels — including spots targeting gamers and music aficionados on gaming and music sites.
The crux of the advertising is that Denny’s new pancakes are supplanting the traditional favorites made by beloved family members, asking the question, “Are Denny’s new pancakes, fluffier, tastier, better than yours? Only you can decide.”
The chain also is launching new geo-targeted filters on Snapchat and a new episode of Denny’s animated web series, The Grand Slams.
Dillon said the pancakes also are being promoted on the chain’s menus and placemats, along with posters in the restaurants, outdoor billboards and in-store standees with the Grand Slams pancake character, Mister Fluffy.
Denny’s web site also will introduce a “pancake rejection simulator,” giving advice about hot to have heart-to-hearts with loved ones about the fact that their pancakes aren’t as good as Denny’s, Dillon said.