“We do have a lot of folks that, when they’re on the road, they visit Denny’s restaurants,” says John Dillon, vice president of brand marketing and product development at the company. “A lot of our restaurants are on the highways.”
The restaurant chain, which has 1,700 locations nationwide, is embracing that association this summer with its 50 State Challenge mobile app. Anyone who downloads the app automatically becomes a competitor in a race to check in at a Denny’s in each of the 50 states.
The prize for the first person to make it to a Denny’s in every state? Free Grand Slam breakfasts for life.
Users’ racing spirit—along with special features such as coupons and menus—made the app a runaway success, Dillon says.
The app debuted in early June, following a year or so of discussion and development with advertising agency Gotham Inc. and mobile developer Rain. Dillon said the summer travel season was clearly the best time to debut a travel-focused app, and the launch coincided well with the restaurant chain’s Tour of America summer menus.
Dillon says the aim of the app isn’t to increase brand awareness. Denny’s runs at about 97 percent in that area.