Sunday, August 14, 2016

The ads for new buttermilk pancakes at Denny's kept popping up on my screen. We finally succumbed and tried them at the Temecula store. They're good, but a bit heavy on the vanilla in my opinion. I really don't know what they were trying to improve, but I do know when you run a special like this, the grill speed really suffers. If 4 or 5 orders for pancakes come in at once, people are going to be waiting (too long) for their orders. During the morning rush, I'm sure the wait staff will be pulling out their hair, trying to get orders to people in a decent interval. 

Traditionally, food cost on pancakes was extremely low but now Denny's is using fresh buttermilk and eggs in the batter. That shoots the food cost up and frankly, I didn't think the pancakes were that much better than the old add-water-only variety. 

None of the links listed on the menu to social media worked and I asked the waitress for help. A blank stare ensued after which she said, bustling away, "I don't do that electronic stuff."

When I got home, I went to the website to see about the social media advertising just out of curiosity. In keeping with the pancake promotion, there's a "pancake rejection simulator" game to play. Totally unappealing to me, which is probably a good thing as it likely was planned for millenials. As is Denny's new concept called "The Den." There are a dozen of them in operation, one of which is in San Diego. You can read about them here.

The millenial consumer is quite different from my generation. Volumes have been written about them because they're about 80 million strong—they're the largest and most educated generation ever. Short descriptors I've read of them include: special, sheltered, confident, team-oriented, pressured, multi-tasking, entrepreneurial, nomadic, non-religious, connected, adventurous, civic-minded and above all tech savvy—and if you're selling to them, your tech stuff must work. I hope the franchisees get with the program and learn about their menu links. 

"The Den" menu is upscale from Denny's but it's still a three meal a day concept including the inimitable Grand Slam, which seems to have universal appeal. They offer some currently "in" foods that you see on bistro or brew pub menus, like fried green beans, hand smashed burgers, brioche buns, pork tacos, wraps and a veggie burger. 

A couple of the maxim's tucked away on the site: 

"If at first you don't succeed, try bacon"
"Punch hunger in the mouth"

I don't think we'll see these graceless homilies etched in stone anywhere and they do make me wonder about the challenges of marketing to this generation. 

Huffington Post
The final interesting note about Denny's is their unit in Las Vegas which will host your wedding in their chapel complete with a pancake puppie wedding cake. Here's an excerpt from the Huffington Post, 7/29/14. These wedding locations certainly fit into the millenial's needs for being special, confident, adventurous, non-religious and multi-tasking. Who in our generation would have thought about getting married while shopping???

"According to the in-store wedding coordinator, saying your “I do’s” at the famous diner costs as little as $199 and includes use of the wedding chapel, a photo booth, a champagne toast, two wedding-themed Denny’s T-shirts, a “Pancake Puppie” wedding cake, decorations, a bouquet, a boutonniere and a wedding certificate.
Though Denny’s may be one of the few large chains erecting a chapel to accommodate weddings, it’s not uncommon for couples with a zeal for a certain brand to choose to get married in a department store or fast food restaurant. Brides and grooms have pledged their lifelong devotion to one another in the shoe aisle of T.J. Maxx, the garden department of a Home Depot and under the florescent lights of an Illinois Taco Bell, USA Today reported in 2010."

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to see a photo of the pancake puppy wedding cake.