Denny's said consumer preferences influenced the development of the new coffee offerings.
Denny’s has introduced three new coffee blends: a Signature Diner Roast, a Dark Diner Roast and a Signature Decaf Roast.
Prior to the mid-January launch, Denny’s only offered one coffee option, said Frances Allen, Denny’s Corporation's chief marketing officer. Noting that consumer coffee preferences have become more sophisticated, officials decided to develop signature blends for the chain, she said.
The coffee launch was two years in the making, according to Allen. The goal: to create a smoother, richer, more full-bodied cup of coffee.
“As you can imagine, as a diner…coffee is one of the most important products on our menu,” Allen said. “We started as a coffee shop 60 years ago.”
The Signature Diner Roast is smooth and rich, she said, and the Dark Diner Roast is similar, but a little bolder. Across Denny’s restaurants, the average price for a bottomless cup of hot coffee is $2.
Although it was too early to share sales figures for the product launch, Allen said customer reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
“In the past when we’ve changed our coffee we’ve incurred the wrath of some customers who didn’t like the change,” she said. “It’s safe to say that with this [new coffee offering] we have delighted customers.
“We have done a lot of testing,” Allen added. "How you kick off your day is dependent on how good your first cup of coffee is.”
Revamping the coffee program was a big undertaking for the Spartanburg, S.C.-based company's more than 1,600 restaurants, Allen said. The rollout of the new blends was accompanied by the installation of new coffee-brewing machinery in the restaurants.
Denny's began fitting restaurants with the new machines in November, she said, and completed the project in early January.
The new machines keep the coffee hot without over-roasting it. “They just brew a consistent quality coffee,” Allen noted. “It’s new technology.”
The new coffees will allow Denny’s to launch a number of coffee-related initiatives throughout the year, she noted. For example, a new coffee product will accompany each of the limited-time offers that the chain plans to roll out this year.
The launch of the new coffee was accompanied by Denny’s latest LTO, Complete Skillet Meals, which give customers three courses for $8.99.
“People came to diners for good, quality full meals and great coffee,” she said. “Those two things really do go hand in hand together.”
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