Denny's new burger gets its own comms platform

SPARTANBURG, SC: Known for its value breakfasts, Denny's has introduced a new "signature" burger to anchor its other meal times.

SPARTANBURG, SC: Known for its value breakfasts, Denny's has introduced a new “signature” burger to anchor its other meal times. The company has heavily branded the new signature burger, by calling it the “Better Burger” and giving it its own logo.

“One of the challenging parts of our brand is we have four different day parts—breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night. We want to talk about all four at once, but sometimes that is difficult to do,” said John Dillon, Denny's VP of marketing. “We want to continue our strength at breakfast in our communication, but we also want to attract lunch, dinner and late night eaters. One of the primary ways we will be doing that moving forward is with the burger platform.”

The burger comes in five distinct varieties, and has also been paired with another new menu item, wavy-cut fries, as part of a $6.99 meal starting price.

“PR is a big part of our campaign for the burger,” Dillon told PRWeek. Hill & Knowlton, the restaurant chain's AOR, has reached out to trade press and national media. Denny's CEO Nelson Marchioli discussed the new menu addition on CNBC and it is also expected to be featured in USA Today.

H&K has also targeted local media in key states, including Florida, California, Arizona, Illinois, and Indiana. The focus of the messaging isn't just that the burger is new—but that it was developed after Denny's chefs tried great burgers from restaurants across the country to come up with what Denny's has dubbed the “best of the best”.

Outreach also includes social media including Twitter and Facebook, where Denny's is not just talking about the Better Burger but offering special deals on it. PR outreach is being supported by in-store restaurant signage, online advertising, and a national print FSI (free-standing insert).

Dillon said Denny's started researching the new burger about a year ago, when it recognized its popularity was growing. The burger is Denny's second most popular menu selection behind its Grand Slam breakfasts, but the company noticed that even fine dining establishments were adding burgers to the menu. According to industry estimates, burgers currently account for 40% of all restaurant sandwiches purchased.

“We think we've created a signature item, by taking a burger and making it special,” Dillon said. “We're not only going to attract guests with the burger, but we can bring news to it in different ways. Now that we've established the platform, we'll be talking about it throughout 2010 and ongoing.”

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