How Denny’s Weirdness Wins the Social Media Game
Then, there’s Denny’s.
Instead of sticking to traditional scripts of promotions and deals, Denny’s social media posts are more like that of a teenager. Denny’s Twitter is full of commentary on pop culture, live blogging Saturday Night Live and engaging One Direction’s boy band member Liam Payne after he ranted on social media about the stress of celebrity life.
Perhaps Denny’s weirdest foray into social media is the company’s Tumblr. The teen-friendly blogging platform encourages a niche sense of community, with enthusiastic response for Denny’s more eccentric postings. A recent series is Denny’s “Build Your Own Gif,” which creates moving gifs based off of reader suggestions. Selections include ducklings eating mozzarella sticks and a pug paddling a boat through a sea of ranch dressing.
The chain’s unique voice online is a sign that the chain is looking for ways to differentiate itself in the increasingly crowded fast-casual space. Established chains have struggled with capturing the fresh, modern appeal of new fast-casuals, such as Noodles and Co. and Chipotle. Some restaurants, such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, are attempting to reenergize their brands by offering new items and redesigning units. Darden is shedding Red Lobster to focus on newer, faster growing options including LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille. Denny’s focus on social media, with self-aware and timely pop culture references, has a similar goal of portraying a veteran chain as a young, savvy brand.