In my college days, the Denny’s grand slam breakfast was a favorite low-cost restaurant breakfast. While not rising above average, it was decent coffee shop food.
The recent ‘value menu’ and “Tour of America” promotion sucked me in … and sucked my breath away. It is expensive for what it is and the value menu doesn’t have all that many values … unless $2 for two pancakes seems like a value to you.
Four bucks will get you all the pancakes you can eat … served two at a time … other restrictions apply. The value slam is in this category.
On the regular menu a cheeseburger is $8.69 … ok, it is served with fries, but still. And who is spending $17 for a t-bone steak here? A chicken strip appetizer - $7.69?
Regular breakfasts average about $9 … add $2 for coffee … Denny’s coffee.
I went with the $6 limited addition to the value menu – Italian meatloaf sandwich with fries. On this one I’ll give Denny’s credit for value in terms of quantity of food.
The roll itself was the brown and serve type of white bread that fast food restaurants kid themselves (or customers) into the illusion of house-baked panini. The meatloaf just tasted like salt and wasn’t very meat loaf-y. The bacon, sauce or mozzarella added anything to the Italian-ness or even flavor of this. The sauce was like any jarred supermarket sauce.
The look of the fries was off-putting, but they were good. I like medium cut fries. They have some sort of wavy potato cutter so it looked liked mashed potatoes that had been formed into fries. It turned out though they were cut potatoes, soft-ish, but not greasy. Points for Heinz catsup.
Still … $6 for a sandwich, add $2.29 for a soft drink, tax and tip … that is over $10 to eat at Denny’s … and that is the VALUE menu. Most breakfasts would be $15 per person, ditto on lunch … and dinner could run close to $20 … without dessert … or soup.
It is still standard coffee shop décor which is fine. However, with McDonalds plans to upgrade the décor, if I was really looking for value, I’d take my business there.
These days, I find fast food and chain food so close in price to good restaurant food I can’t see the point. At a local restaurant I can get an omelet with organic eggs and hash browns made from the local farmers market for the same price as the Denny’s omelet.
It makes me a bit sad. Denny’s was never great or even a above average coffee shop/diner. However, you could get decent food and a good price.
If I was a struggling college student these days, I wouldn’t be at Denny’s. I recently acquired 3 step kids. Will I be spending $50 or more dollars for breakfast or lunch at Denny’s? I think not. Who does that and why?