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Denny's Slammed by Free Grand Slams

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Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

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The desire to curb America's obesity epidemic took a back seat Tuesday when Denny's (DENN) offered a 1-day deal on a free Grand Slam breakfast. The offer was advertised during the Super Bowl -- its first commercial during that financially prohibitive time slot -- and enticed roughly 2 million customers nationwide to its doors.

There's also no accounting for taste during a recession, apparently.

Available from 6 a.m. through 2 p.m., the promotion drew an average of 1,400 customers -- over 5 times the normal amount -- to each of its 1,541 locations. With parking lots full and lines snaked around buildings, wait times grew to over an hour. Customers were occasionally turned away due to the usual caveat -- "while supplies last" -- and went to wait in line at a different location - an action known as "tempting fate" among poison-control centers.

Those who left with an empty stomach were supposed to be given a voucher for a free Grand Slam -- priced at $5.99 -- for use another time, but Denny's staff were likely too overworked and too distracted to continually hand out coupons.

Or it could be confusion caused by the voucher's lack of pictures.

Given the relatively low cost of breakfast, Denny's CEO Nelson Marchioli believed the promotion would allow the company to break even - provided customers also bought a coffee or juice which weren't included in the offer.

While Denny's marketing team is still crunching sales figures, no word yet on the presumed bump in EMTs' workload yesterday.

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