Denny's is a brand that is deeply rooted in its brand purpose, which is "We love to feed people." It's why Denny's founder started the company over 60 years ago and that brand purpose is what guides the company today. So when Denny's saw the incredible devastation that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma had on many parts of Texas and South Florida, respectively, and wanted to find a way to help, it had to find a way to do so in the best way Denny's knew how--by offering as many people as it could a free hot meal when they could use it the most.
The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma left many communities, and the surrounding roads and infrastructure devastated, so Denny's knew that in order to be able to provide meals to those in need, it couldn't simply direct people to their closest Denny's location; Denny's needed to be able to go into the communities and prepare a hot, freshly cooked meal. Thus, the Denny's "Mobile Relief Diner" was born. Within the span of a week, the Mobile Relief Diner would go from a concept, to a fully-functional, mobile kitchen serving the residents of Houston, and eventually the Florida Keys and South Florida.
The functionality of the Mobile Relief Diner made it possible to prepare virtually anything, but when Denny's was considering what to serve, they felt that a pancake breakfast with bacon was the perfect dish. Given the circumstances there were certainly other options that would have been easier to prepare and serve, but for Denny's, it just felt like there was something about a hot stack of freshly-cooked pancakes that have the ability to offer a sense of comfort, and was immediately synonymous with the brand.
To determine what specific communities could benefit most from the Mobile Relief Diner, Denny's worked closely with local franchisees, government officials and first responders, along with prominent community leaders, who helped to connect Denny's to residents throughout Houston and South Florida.
The Mobile Relief Diner was incredibly effective in helping Denny's accomplish what it set out to do, which was to find a way to deliver on its brand purpose and help the communities it serves in a time they needed it the most. Over the course of about two weeks, the Denny's Mobile Relief Diner traveled to Houston, the Florida Keys and South Florida, serving over 14,000 meals, including over 56,000 strips of bacon, 28,000 pancakes, 9,000 bottles of water and 5,000 cups of coffee.
Local media outreach efforts and geo-targeted social content were highly effective in helping to make local residents aware of the trucks location each day, ensuring that Denny's was able to serve as many people as possible. While media outreach was intentionally limited to local media in Houston and South Florida for the purposes of providing logistics to those communities, and not to promote Denny's, news about the Mobile Relief Diner did spread, ultimately generating nearly 50 different placements and over 5.9 million earned media impressions.
While the Mobile Relief Diner created for Texas and Florida was designed to be a temporary, quick solution that could be deployed in a timely manner, the impact this effort had on these communities has led Denny's to develop a long-term disaster relief strategy and create a permanent Mobile Relief Diner for future use.
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