February 8, 2010, - 4:34 pm

Denny’s Grand Slam: How Much Time Will You Waste For “Free” Breakfast?

By Debbie Schlussel

As readers know, I like telling you about free stuff.  But to me, while this one costs no out-of-pocket money, it isn’t really free.



Denny’s Free Grand Slam Breakfast

If you watched yesterday’s Super Bowl, you no doubt saw the cheesy Denny’s commercial advertising its free Grand Slam breakfast, tomorrow from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.  I wrote about this, last  year, when the restaurant chain held the same promotion.

And, as I noted last year, it’s not a loser for Denny’s because drinks–where the real profit is for a restaurant–are not free.  Plus, some people order other stuff from the menu and pay.  Last year, Denny’s served the free breakfast to two million Americans, at a cost of $5 million, including the Superbowl ad.  That’s a pretty good bargain, in terms of publicity for the cost.

I keep kosher so I can’t eat that stuff, but I wouldn’t eat it even if I could.  It’s a lotta calories–760 of ’em (with 420 of that from fat). As I noted last year:

With 158% of the recommended daily allowance of cholesterol, the Grand Slam includes two eggs, two strips of bacon, two sausages, and two pancakes.

I’m against the food police, as much as I’m against the PC police and the green police, but . . . . Sounds like a heart attack in the waiting. Denny’s has a concurrent online promotion, in which you can register for a chance to win a free Grand Slam every week for a year. That’s a future triple bypass in the making. It’s definitely a “Hungry Man” breakfast, which I’m sure Rosie O’Donnell or Janet Napolitano would enjoy.

But if you have time on your hands and eat that kind of thing, then it may be worth it.  I can see a family, that is unemployed and needs to feed a family, waiting in line for this or retirees. Other than them, I don’t understand why anyone would waste such a long time waiting in line to save just a few bucks.  Time is money.  So, in terms of real cost, it isn’t really free.  This kind of promotion always brings long lines and tons of people.

So, are you gonna partake in Tuesday’s free Denny’s Grand Slam breakfast?  If you go, be sure to watch the video above, because it’ll give you an omen of what to expect.  I repeat, long lines.

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36 Responses

It’s a real irony — retirees do go to Dennys & McDonalds, because of the prices, the meals are filling, and they don’t rush you out; most retirees who go there like to sit and socialize, and the servers at many Dennys are friendly.

But, as you said, the irony is that so much of the food in both places is unhealth, and of course, retirees are the most vulnerable to the complications and affects of unhealthy food. But I don’t think too many of them would go to the local Raw Foods restaurant or the local vegan breakfast eatery.

Little Al on February 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I prefer to eat healthier too but some days I toss caution to the wind and just want to have a good, tasty meal that’s a good fill without spending a fortune. Denny’s is the place for that.

Tempus Fugit on February 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Wait 90 – 120 minutes for a $4 Breakfast on a Work Day. What a great idea!

Yiddish Steel on February 8, 2010 at 5:09 pm

I’ll admit that I like to indulge in that type of breakfast as well. But, I’m not going to wait over an hour for it. I can go to the store, buy the ingredients, and cook the stupid thing in half the time.

cirrus1701 on February 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I am retired but I won’t be standing in line. I have lost 25 lbs this year, avoiding just such meals, which I admit I did eat for many years (but not at Denny’s). I will take advantage of another promotion this week. Winstar World Casino Poker Room in Thackerville, OK will be “splashing” the pot with $500 at a random poker table every 30 minutes, for 24 hours, starting at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

This promotion happens one day a year. Winstar wants people to believe that they are giving away $24,000. Actually, Winstar is returning a tiny portion of the rake taken from each and every hand dealt in their room. One table generates over $5,000 in rake and dealer tokes a day. Winstar has 46 tables. U do the math!

Bonzer Wolf on February 8, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Denny’s Slamburger

The Slamburger is their standard burger patty with a cheesy hash brown casserole, an egg cooked to order, and more cheese sauce.

The ultimate late night snack.

Mark on February 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm

You’re right, Debbie, time is money…but when ALL you have is time and NO money…it’s not a bad deal for many people.

Dont’ begrudge people who need a good free breakfast in these tough times.

D: No begrudgin’. If they want to wait in line and need the meal, more power to ’em. Enjoy. DS

Dave on February 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm

So what if people eat there occasionally. Food tastes good.

So my 85-year old mother shouldn’t put extra butter on her baked potato?

JH: We’re not the food police at this site. Not even close. We rail against that. Just saying, I wouldn’t wait in line to eat this. Just me. DS

JohnH on February 8, 2010 at 7:47 pm

…I’m surprised the obamabots haven’t jumped on this….and called it “Universal Breakfast Care”… the messiah would take over Denny’s like he has done with GM, the banks, and the the insurance industry…and force people to eat there….even though most people don’t really want to , or are too smart to, participate…(most people are happy with procuring their own breakfast of choice)…and those that do participate will wait in long lines…and eventually receive a low quality product…but hey…it’s “free”.

Catfur on February 8, 2010 at 7:52 pm

While I’d never wait in line for the grub, it’s a pretty tasty massive infarction, fer shur. My only problem with that particular meal is that the portions are stingy. I could easily bolt down 3 Grand Slams and still have room for a slice o’ cherry pie ala mode.

Graty Slapchop on February 8, 2010 at 8:12 pm

It’s not worth the time, agreed.

But the criticism of the cholesterol and fat is dated. The unhealthy food on that plate is the pancakes and syrup – the butter, eggs, bacon, and sausage are just fine. Saturated fat does not cause heart disease. I can highly recommend the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes, who goes painstakingly through the science demonstrating that it is a high carb diet with processed vegetable oils that causes heart disease, cancer, and so on.

Mark on February 8, 2010 at 8:40 pm

I wasn’t going to deluge this post with comments, but I have to reply to Mark, since many others will read these comments.

Yes, the pancakes and syrup are unhealth; the syrup is sugar-laden, a prime risk factor for diabetes and extra calories, and the pancakes are refined flour, just like eating sugar, even assuming that there is no added fat.

Of course saturated fat causes hear disease. First, it is likely to increase poundage, no small factor. But it also is the prime factor, along with trans-fat (also found in meats like bacon and sausage) for increasing cholesterol. The saturated fats raise cholesterol levels more than cholesterol itself does.

Eggs have mixed reviews, but those with heart disease should eat them sparingly since they do have extremely high cholesterol levels. The nitrate and nitrate levels in processed meats like sausage and bacon greatly increase the risk of many cancers.

Quack books can be found to say anything; it is better to go to proven sites like the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Health, where the principles of good diets, including small amounts of fish and poultry, lots of veggies and fruits, beans, nuts and complex carbs(such as whole grains) are propounded. “Vegetable oils” is a generic term; some like olive oil and canola oil are beneficial; others, which contain trans fats are deadly. Carbs, too, is a generic term. Refined carbs are not health, but complex carbs are.

Little Al on February 8, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Unless you are a protein metabolic type, have low blood sugar (fruit is loaded with sugar) and don’t have the enzymes to digest beans or gluten. Beano is not for people with penicillin or mold allergies since that’s basically what it is. I gained a LOT of weight on a “good” vegetarian diet and never felt worse. My cholesterol zoomed to the stratosphere because of triglycerides which have been proven to increase with any type high carb diet. Overall cholesterol isn’t the problem it’s ratio of HDL to LDL and triglyceride level that determine if there’s a problem. Also which do you prefer; living to 100 with Alzheimiers and cancer brought on by lack of fats and sugars to nourish the brain or being in complete possession of your mind and having a quick exit via a stroke at 85?

    mk750 on February 8, 2010 at 11:32 pm

It should also be noted that The Center for Science in the Public Interest published a rebuttal to Taubes’ book in their November, 2002, newsletter. While CSPI takes strong advocacy positions, and frequently gets carried away, they also were the ones responsible for the fact that food lables contain more detailed nutrition information now, including trans-fat levels. They also have published articles showing the shortcomings of present labeling (such as being able to show 0 tans-fat if there is less than .5 gram per ‘serving’, and of course ‘serving can be almost anything a food manufacturer wants it to be).

CPSI’s articles on nutrition are about the best ones out there; they also name names regarding food products and have great merit apart from their political campaigns.

There is also no contradiction between being conservative and understanding solid nutrition principles.

While I recognize people can eat what they want, it is hard to argue effectively in favor of a diet which increases the risk of just about every degenerative disease out there.

Little Al on February 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

It is not worth the time.

Worry01 on February 8, 2010 at 9:52 pm

What’s everybody worried about? Under Obamacare bypass and cancer treatments will be free, so I’m sticking to my all bacon and nonfilter Camel diet.

lowandslow on February 8, 2010 at 10:08 pm

I noticed the crowds around Denny’s last year in a similar promotion as we came back from Florida – one would have to be nutso to wait for this. The crowd limits Denny’s financial exposure on this as customers turn away without blaming the company – clever merchandising. I like Hardee’s a lot better and I’m a McDonald’s stockholder. As you say, this stuff isn’t good for you. Maybe that’s why I have a mechanical heart valve since 2002, going to such places for fifty five years or so. Remember when Denny’s had a free meal on a person’s birthday ? I grew up not too far from the original Waffle House. I confess – we ate breakfast at a Waffle House today; not good for a person either. I usually fix oatmeal at home. Regards, MM

MM from Georgia on February 8, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Off topic, but Little Al brought up McDonald’s and it seniors. Every McDonald’s has that group of seniors who will drink their senior coffees and shoot the breeze at like 7 to 8 in the morning. I refer to this group as The McDonald’s Mafia. Just remember this when you walk into one and see all these seniors sitting around those tables.

CaliforniaScreaming on February 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

eggs are unhealthy ??? whats wrong with you nutcases

live a little

D: I like eggs, occasionally. Not against eggs. I like a veggie omelet with capers for breakfast or lunch. I’m just saying I wouldn’t wait in line that long just to save a few bucks. Life is short. Plus, it’s not just the eggs. It’s the whole combo, which would be a lot for me. But we’re not the food police here. To those who go, enjoy. For the rest of us, enjoy that we did not partake. DS

drew299 on February 8, 2010 at 10:30 pm

BS”D I keep kosher, as well. I also am fat enough w/o this breakfast. I am also reminded of waiting in line for rock concert tickets (in a previous incarnation!).

But, this promotion is so NOT about the market being consumer-driven. It costs them nothing – at worst, they probably have some tax break covering advertising something-or-other. And it is the epitome of American advertising strategy. Make someone think they are really getting something for nothing…they will skip a $40/hour job in order to wait in line to get a $6 meal for “free”.

Sarah Leah Lawent on February 9, 2010 at 1:14 am


Forgot to ask – won’t Obamacare cover that by-pass?

Sarah Leah Lawent on February 9, 2010 at 1:15 am

Wouldn’t there be lots of homeless people in line? Does anyone know?

Alix on February 9, 2010 at 1:42 am

Dear Ms. Schlussel: You say that drinks are “where the real profit is for a restaurant.” Are you sure? I could see where alcoholic drinks could be the “real profit,” they’re outrageously marked up, but coffee? Coke? Orange juice?

Miranda Rose Smith on February 9, 2010 at 1:55 am

Why are you such a cunt?

Steve W. on February 9, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Why arn’t you at least a little ashamed of being such a rude, crude, immature jerk?

    Miranda Rose Smith on February 9, 2010 at 3:31 am

Not quite true re triglycerides. I have a high complex-carb diet and my triglycerides range between 40 and 70. Obviously I was indicating a general diet, and those with specific medical problems must adjust to those problems in consultation with an M.D. Re the ratios of HDL and LDL, this is important, but it is also true that high LDL, all by itself is an unfavorable risk factor, even if high HDL is present.

Little Al on February 9, 2010 at 5:08 am

    That’s where metabolic typing comes in LA. First of all, I would be deathly ill on a complex carb diet. How do you gain weight when you’re throwing up all the time? But I did. Docs don’t know nutrition. Sorry, they don’t. It’s not taught in med school. I am being sent for all sorts of neuro testing to Haifa next week but my B12 is low normal and I’m older so go online to Mayo clinic and it’s all there. It takes years to get to this low point and it can take quite a while to get back up. One reason we went to more carbs was because we couldn’t find decent kosher meat where we were in the US and now that we’re in Israel it’s expensive but DH realizes I MUST have my meat while he can get by with less. So we buy it and cut other things. I now know which vitamins I need to get also and maybe I can postpone the tests all of which I’ve had and all of which were normal.
    There is no “one size fits all” diet. BTW no one in my family has/d coronary heart disease. DH whose cholesterol is around 125 has a father who survived a major attack. He also was very inactive most of his 57 years and he used to smoke a little years before I met him, whereas I NEVER even tried it.. I’ve always been a live wire. I think he’s a higher risk than I am. Remember Jim Fixx.

    mk750 on February 9, 2010 at 6:43 am

MK750, I hope you resolve your health problems.

It sounds like you have a specific problem, and since I’m not a doctor, I can’t really comment on them. My comments are based on general considerations. I do think that even though there are individuals such as yourself with unique problems, generalizations are possible, although of course, as with all generalizations, there are exceptions. But for most people, a diet such as I described is optimal. I think it’s established that sausages, bacon etc. are not healthy for anyone if eaten regularly, and for some people, even if eaten occasionally.

Re doctors and nutrition, it depends on the doctor. You are right that many doctors don’t understand too much about nutrition, but these days, more and more of them do. Many endocrinologists, for example either have had to learn about nutrition in order to treat diabetes effectively, or have R.D.s on staff with whom they collaborate. A good place to start for most people is to look at the health newsletters in most public libraries published by reputable organizations, such as CSPI, and contact them for recommendations for MDs in the area.

Other publications such as Castle and Consumers Checkbook have lists of best doctors, at least in major areas, and consulting internists and endocrinologists on that list would be another starting point. Or else, a good R.D., would be likely to know of M.D.s in the area who are nutrition friendly.

Jim Fixx is the exception who is frequently brought up. There are many longitudinal studies, however, that good diets of the type I describe, extend life. There are always exceptions, and it is telling that the counter-example that is raised is now almost 30 years old. In addition, Fixx is suspected of having high inflammation, which is an associated risk factor of unhealthy eating.

Little Al on February 9, 2010 at 7:52 am

I stopped eating at Denny’s years ago when they caved to Jesse Jackson’s extortion threats.

JeffT on February 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

I lost my taste for standing in line for nothing while serving in the army.

The Terrorist's Advocate on February 9, 2010 at 8:58 am

Well the local homeless were lined up there this morning on my way to work,dirty pillows and sleeping bags in hand.

Chiefscotty24 on February 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

Saw a good representation if hobos at the Simi Valley Denny’s. Mostly seniors and Mexicans, though.

DS_ROCKS! on February 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Speaking of free Debbie, do you know where’s my free Snugglie? I signed up for the questions the company was supposedly going to call and ask me, but I never got the call. Did anyone GET the Snugglie or the call? Just wondering…

Marc on February 9, 2010 at 7:03 pm

“eggs are unhealthy ??? whats wrong with you nutcases”

It’s not that eggs, per se, are unhealthy. However, eating too many of them, and how eggs are typically are prepared, might be.

One egg alone has 215 milligrams (71%) daily RDA of cholesterol. So even with just two eggs, you’re already over your daily cholesterol limit. Plus all the grease to cook it. Along with all the other fat and cholesterol and nitrates that are in the bacon and sausage.

verbatim on February 10, 2010 at 12:41 am

@Terrorists Advocate-

I am with you, brother.
At least at chow, we got the shells in our eggs. Makes you healthy.

And even though the eggs were green on bottom, it made you dislike the enemy and civilians just that..much…more.
Not to mention the flying of food trays at next to light speed, blithely floating through the air, then hammering against a nicely American made concrete block wall…..

I so wish Denny’s would treat you people the way the military treated me. Guaranteed you would eat an entire meal in less than 3 minutes, and then go run your fat butt for the next 4 hours. Wash, rinse, repeat at 4 hour intervals, 3 times a day.

How is THAT unhealthy? Please….if you actually DO things, food won’t be the problem. PLEASE find something important to gripe about…

CaptainSlappy on February 10, 2010 at 9:46 am

I’m a genius!

Everyday one fastfood chain, anywhere in america, should give away a free super-sized combo meal w/ grape soda from 5pm – 10pm.

It will be a win win situation for all, even you, schlutsores!

Big corporations will think they are bringing in all these new potential customers who will gladly pay them Tuesday for a hamburger today.

Small towns will think of it as giving back to the community during this socialist/terroist/black/musslim/not a real US citizen abomination time!

At the next press conference, Republicans can show Obama the real meaning of FREEdom! -this one also works for anyone who lives in the hunt-4-fun! AMERICA FUCK YEAH!! GITERDUN! and WWJD?!?! regions. show that dang colored su-bitch how these colors don’t run!

But let’s not forget you, Debbie. You are who really counts. An idea like this would lure sooooo many of those pesky unemployed families and all their starving children, stupid retirees, and let’s be honest with ourselves here, Debbie…blacks (we all know your omen wasn’t the “long lines”) Homeless people might not smell like shit that one day because they are “customers” and qualified for bathroom privileges.

as for me, i’m hoping the hefty portions of free food/sugar before bedtime will make everyone sooo unhealthy & unatractive (no one likes a fatty with bad teeth!)that no one will breed for awhile.

Population control. Thanks for the inspiration!

Mrs. Number One Population Controller Girl on February 11, 2010 at 7:18 am

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