In an effort to boost its digital presence amid coronavirus, Denny’s created an account under the username Dennys247 on three major game platforms—Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Xbox and Sony PS4—to offer players discounts on food. After announcing its entry into the gaming world on social media, on April 8, the brand experienced a major lift in engagement on Instagram and Twitter. On Instagram, Denny’s saw a 26 percent engagement rate and over 81,000 impressions on about 20,00 engagements. The tweet announcing Dennys247 saw a 15 percent engagement rate with nearly 154,000 impressions and 23,000 total engagements.
Within its first 20 hours on Nintendo Switch, Dennys247 reached the limit on the number of friends. Denny’s plays around six to seven games during each two-hour gaming session, giving players the chance to earn discount codes for its Denny’s on Demand ordering platforms, a website and a mobile app for iOS and Android.
On March 16, Denny’s announced the closure of its dine-in facilities, expanding its Denny’s on Demand platforms to include new “Dine-Thru” and curbside services to cater to consumers during lockdown. With the “Dine-Thru” service, customers can place their order with a Denny’s employee from their car then wait for the order to be prepared while waiting in a designated parking spot. Those ordering on the Denny’s website can select “curbside” at checkout, entering the make and color of their car so that a staff member can identify customers and “run your order out to you.”
Before the pandemic led to restaurant closures, on January 30, Denny’s launched its Beyond Burger at 1,700 locations accompanied by a dine-in promotion for a free burger with the purchase of a drink. A regulatory filing shows that Denny’s domestic same-store sales dropped 19 percent in March from 2019. Now, at a time when restaurants are closed until further notice, Denny’s must leverage new channels to reach customers—joining multiplayer game platforms allows it to tap into a pool of 164 million US adult gamers.