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Denny’s overhauls kitchens, offers augmented reality menu feature

Denny’s new menu
Denny’s new menu features an AR activation.

Denny’s is upgrading its store environment, physically and virtually.

The casual dining chain is investing more than $25 million to upgrade and improve its kitchen equipment as part of an omnichannel brand refresh called "It's Diner Time."  The effort is designed to drive the development of new and improved food offerings, while increasing efficiency and reducing food waste. 

Denny’s is also introducing a new menu, which in addition to a number of new dishes also features a custom augmented reality (AR) experience. Customers can activate the AR functionality by scanning the menu with a smartphone, enabling them to take a virtual, interactive tour of each page. The AR experience includes access to exclusive deals and opportunities to learn about Denny’s and its 70-year history

Other features of “It’s Diner Time” include new employee uniforms, new products available on Denny’s licensed merchandise e-commerce site, and a new national TV campaign.

"All elements of 'It's Diner Time' ladder up to the essence of who we are as a brand and what the Denny's family is all about," said John Dillon, Denny's president. "For 70 years, Denny's has been that consistent place that feels like home, one where our guests can be their authentic selves and celebrate moments that matter. Our new menu feels like an extension of our diners and no matter what page consumers land on, it's clear that it will always be Diner Time. So, the next time our guests want a delicious breakfast on a budget, a new twist on a classic diner favorite, or when they're simply craving an oven-baked lasagna that truly tastes like home, we look forward to welcoming them into our booths."

As of March 1, 2023, Spartanburg, S.C.-based Denny's had 1,602 franchised, licensed and company restaurants. These include 157 restaurants in Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Chipotle encourages wellness via AR

Another casual dining retailer, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., intends to help customers using a popular augmented reality (AR) platform. Chipotle kicked off 2023 with a new menu lineup of “Lifestyle Bowls” designed around contemporary wellness habits. Lifestyle Bowls are digitally exclusive menu items available in the U.S. and Canada.

As part of this New Year’s customer health focus, Chipotle also launched a wellness-inspired AR lens on Snapchat to encourage customers to maintain healthy habits. Lenses are virtual animations overlaid on a Snapchat photo. In partnership with Snapchat, the company created an AR lens designed to encourage customers to follow Chipotle-inspired exercises and meditation prompts, with gamified rewards.

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