What is in this article?:
- CMO Perspectives: Denny's Frances Allen
- Revitalization plan is ongoing
This interview is part of CMO Perspectives, presented by NRN in partnership with the National Restaurant Association’s Marketing Executives Group. The monthly feature explores how leading executives are navigating the ever-changing restaurant marketing landscape.
Frances Allen, Denny's executive vice president and chief brand officer
Revitalization plan is ongoing
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I find it interesting that a full-service concept has a value menu. How has your $2 $4 $6 $8 menu performed?
We believe it’s an important part of our menu mix. One in five of our guests visits us to take advantage of our $2 $4 $6 $8 Value Menu, in addition to one in four Hispanics. It’s an important tool and powerful traffic driver for cash-strapped customers. From a business standpoint, the value menu has also been engineered with food costs and margins in mind while being flexible enough to keep the menu fresh and relevant. This menu has been a major part of our turnaround, and we will continue to evolve $2 $4 $6 $8 options to ensure we’re providing great variety and very strong value to our guests at all times.
How do you involve feedback from 250 different franchise groups in your decision-making?
As a heavily franchised organization, it is critically important that we work very closely with the Denny’s Franchisee Association on the brand strategy and direction. Our franchisees … hear directly from the guest and are invaluable about shaping the decisions for the brand.
Even our current advisory board structure was a collaborative effort with one of our franchise leaders, Bob Langford. He and I worked together to design a review body for marketing, operations and development initiatives that would help us make balanced, well-informed decisions in a timely manner on behalf of the system.
Does Denny’s credit marketing for improvements to its stock price in the past year?
Denny’s continues to deliver solid results, and marketing certainly plays a part of that. We believe our positioning as America’s Diner has been an important step in our branding evolution, and we have seen it resonate with our guests. We are encouraged about the progress we have made thus far, but we believe there is much work to be done in our revitalization plan.
How do you ensure that the brand’s promise matches the experience delivered in the restaurants?
Driving our brand promise throughout the entire organization has been imperative to the success of repositioning our brand as America’s Diner. From marketing to menu innovation and service, we made sure we listened to, learned from and aligned with our operating partners to effectively understand consumer insights throughout the repositioning process.
We continue to work very hard and closely with our operations team and franchise leadership on every marketing initiative in order to make sure we are aligned on what we are trying to achieve as a brand, addressing both the voice of operators and our consumer.
Clay Dover is the chief marketing officer at Chicken Fingers. He serves as a board member for the NRA Marketing Executives Group and as an Advisory Board member of several restaurant industry organizations, including NRN's conference board.