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Would you miss Denny’s

Continuing my “Would you Miss” series


Does Denny’s provide such a unique product and customer experience that we would be saddened if it didn’t exist? Does Denny’s treat its employees so astonishingly well that those workers would not be able to find another employer to treat them as well? Does Denny’s forge such unfailing emotional connections with its customers that they would fail to find another similar restaurant that could forge just as strong an emotional bond?

What say you?

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  • Jay Ehret says:

    Well, I would miss Denny’s, even though I couldn’t answer yes to all your questions. Denny’s does deliver a consistent menu and consistent service. Occasionally you find yourself in need of a decent restaurant after midnight and before 6am. Denny’s fulfills that need. I guess a brand doesn’t have to be amazing for you to miss it.

  • Marc Desbiens says:

    Yes I would! I love Denny’s. Affordable, generous portions of unsophisticated western cuisine. A fantastic place to go with friends after a night of drinking, or with the family during the day.

  • Denny’s seems to fill the late night hunger spot.While there is little contest between Denny’s and Waffle House as far as menu selection. (Waffle House is more limited). I wonder – given you had the option of a Waffle House at 2 am if you would still feel the need for Denny’s.Finally… I have to challenge the definition… I’m not sure ANY restaurant truly forges an unfailing emotional connection.Perhaps this is too strong of a gauge… I can’t think of a single restaurant (chain) that could pass that test.Sure… you got In-And-Out, but I wonder if that’s more a gastronomic connect than an emotional one. Even Krispy Kreme in its heyday was more about being delicious than the restaurant (i.e. the people of the restaurant, the brand, the management, the service) forming a bond with me.I think it is easier to find a mom-and-pop that you bond with. A one-of-a-kind place can provide a one-of-a-kind experience… But take any one of those great mom-and-pops (I’m thinking of those kick-butt BBQ places outside of Austin where you are served on butcher paper, and a wad of napkins and no silverwear)… If you were to open a chain of them… If they maintained the food quality – they would be awesome, but it – again – would be about the menu, not an emotional bond with the brand, service, concept…What do you think, John? Other readers?Is “unfailing emotional connection” too strict of a measure for what businesses to keep open versus put out of business?

  • Jay Ehret says:

    Paul, you raise some interesting points. The first is that it’s really the experience that bonds us emotionally to a restaurant, or to any brand.The second is the definition of an “unfailing emotional connection.” The term conjures up an image of inspirational loyalty and sacrifice, but maybe it doesn’t have to be that strong. In my younger years, we used to go out on the town with friends. When everything closed down we headed to Denny’s to share conversation because we didn’t want the night to end. Those are some fond memories. So even if it’s just a mild emotion of fond memories, that could qualify as unfailing.

  • Paul … substitute “unfailing emotional connection” with “loyal beyond reason.” Same thing.For a business to be adored and loved, people need to be emotionally attached to that business in some way. It’s rare air for a business to achieve that type of unfailing loyalty, but shouldn’t all businesses strive to become irreplaceable? I think so. Otherwise, why bother.

  • Tracey says:

    I have a completely negative association with the Denny’s brand — obesity and racism.Obesity – Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast has nearly 800 calories and 50 grams of fat. When I think of Denny’s, I think it’s one of the reasons our nation just keeps getting more obese…And Denny’s was widely known for being racist, at least before the 1990s – I believe they refused to serve black people? Actually, in the 1970s, my multiracial family of 4 was driving cross-country and experienced racism at Denny’s first-hand.So no, I wouldn’t miss Denny’s. Emotional connections with brands are so often tied to positive memories and associations – my memories of Denny’s (food, service, you name it), are more negative than positive.

  • Elizabeth says:

    The truth is I’ve forged an unfailing emotional connection with many restaurants, ones that I would truly miss if they were gone. These aren’t just the fancier places that offer amazing food, service, and food ethics (Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Campanile in Los Angeles, Union Square Cafe in New York), but also the places with which we forge a connection because they offer goods or services that are extremely difficult to come by elsewhere (my best example would be Eli Canon in Middletown, CT, which serves up deep fried dill pickles and jalapenos). I also don’t think that you can discount the notion that our olfactory sense (smell – one we experience deeply while eating) is the sense most deeply tied up with memory. And what is an unfailing emotional connection other than a memory we’d like to hold on to and experience over and over again?As for Denny’s, I wouldn’t miss it for a second. But if they started serving deep fried okra I might have to think twice about that…

  • Grant says:

    When I first read your post I thought that I would miss Denny’s. But then I thought about why I would miss it and I realized that the only time I have eaten at Denny’s in the last 3 years was the day they gave away free Grand Slams.When they gave away the Grand Slams, they passed out coupon books that had really good deals and that wasn’t even enough for me to come back.I would only go to Denny’s for late night food and it is at best my second choice after Jim’s.

  • Luann Allen says:

    Sorry! I must admit, I wouldn’t miss Dennys or probably even realize they were gone

  • Karen Swim says:

    What a great question! Twenty years ago my answer would have been “Yes,” but today I don’t even think I would notice. Racist polices drove me away and healthier eating kept me away. It’s a bit sad to admit that that a brand that once represented a comforting place to gather for breakfast has become so irrelevant in my life.

  • MAS1916 says:

    Ever since they discontinued the ‘Southwestern Omlette’ that had the strips of chili peppers folded in, I quit going.Although… a grand slam right now wouldn’t be too bad!

  • Alan says:

    I think that denny’s would not be missed, their grand slam used to attract me for a cheap breakfast option, but i think now its only the really cheap 3.99 or 4.99 on weekdays then a couple bucks more on the weekends?the other appeal they had with me was that they were open all night, buy being that i am not in college and looking for a meal outside of my home at 2-4 am i no longer see value in this.When thinking about that last point though i think it would be a good idea to ask an audience like truck drivers if they would miss dennys. Since they would need a late night option more than the average person. i really do not see myself as a ‘dennys customer’ if i want cheap food i go to a real fast food place and if i want something better than fast food i go to something better than dennys. Out here in the midwest we have big boy restaurants that are comparable to denny’s, i would miss them greatly and denny’s usually loses out to them.

  • Not one whit. I’ve been done with boring food you can get anywhere for a long time. In every single town where there’s a Denny’s, there’s a local joint serving better food, from scratch. Even in the middle of the night, usually. In fact, if Denny’s went away, perhaps more folks would take some gastronomic adventures and learn how great the American diner still is.

  • Lee says:

    Nope! Not one bit. I’ve experienced racism first hand at Denny’s and know other people who have also experienced racism first hand as well in other Denny’s locations.I say good riddance!