Denny’s Growing Fresh Express Concept

Looking to snag breakfast customers away from convenience stores and quick-service competitors, Denny’s is expanding a test of its Fresh Express grab-and-go concept and adding drive-throughs to two franchised units, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.


Denny’s Fresh Express, a 200-square-foot, grab-and-go counter situated inside a traditional full-service unit, features hot and cold beverages and sandwiches for consumers on the go. Already in place in three units in Dallas, the Fresh Express concept will be installed at a franchised branch in the Northeast and another in the Mid-Atlantic, the report said.


Drive-throughs also will be installed at the two stores.


“We look at this as a way to really establish a takeout beachhead,” said Mark Chmiel, chief marketing officer for the 1,500-plus-unit chain. “The overarching theme of this is to take the family diner and make it more convenient, more on the go and give consumers more choice opportunity.”


The report said Denny’s expects the express counters and drive-thru additions to increase sales between 15% and 20%.


The Fresh Express concept was developed to help Denny’s compete more with fast-food restaurants by appealing to customers’ need for speed and quality food items, Chmiel said.


A number of other family-dining also are exploring various express options. Glendale, Calif.-based IHOP debuted an IHOP Cafe prototype in San Antonio late last year, and Wilbraham, Mass.-based Friendly Ice Cream Corp. has opened four fast-casual Friendlys Express stores in the Boston area and Providence, R.I.


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