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» Denny’s Enters Burger War, Draws Fire from Morrissey Fans
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Denny’s Enters Burger War, Draws Fire from Morrissey Fans

By • Nov 4th, 2009 • Category: Burger Blog

When I mention the Denny’s restaurant chain, what’s the first thing you think of?  Probably the Grand Slam breakfast (although I was always a Moons Over My Hammy man myself).  Or maybe their famous free-meal-on-your-birthday promotion, despite the fact that they scrapped the giveaways in 1993.  What probably doesn’t spring to mind is their cheeseburger.  Well, they’re hoping that’s about to change.

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The largest full-service family restaurant chain in the US (about 1,500 locations) has introduced their “‘Burger-Joint-Inspired’ Better Burgers,” which they tout as being “too good to eat on the run.”  There’s nothing particularly revolutionary about the five varieties being offered: Classic Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, Bacon Cheddar Burger, Mushroom Swiss Burger, and the Western Burger.  What’s most unusual, however, is the honest candor with which the chain compares them to the “retired burgers” previously on the menu.

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Denny’s own website, in detailing their old burgers, cites “an unnatural taste,” “tougher texture and significantly reduced juiciness,” and “lack of discernable cheese presence and mouthfeel.”  Again, these are their own burgers they’re talking about, not a competitor’s. They go on to describe lettuce that “wilts and turns black under heat” and margarine that “caused the buns to become soggy.”  Really, Denny’s?!?  THIS is how you’re going to lure me in to try your new menu item?!?  By making past menu items sound like failed science experiments???

Hey, I appreciate a good upgrade.  Telling me that the new burgers have a beef-to-bun ratio of 33-to-66-percent as opposed to the 25/75 of your old burgers sounds great.  I’ve been proven wrong before about a burger from a “breakfast place.”  And early reviews say that your new “Better Burgers” are exactly that.  But maybe that “lack of discernable cheese presence” stuff is just too much information.  If I know that those were the kinds of corners you were cutting before, how confident am I supposed to be now about strolling in and cracking open your new menu?

And then there’s this…

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Just 8 days after Denny’s big burger announcement, Reno 911! actor Thomas Lennon tweeted that a ticket he had just purchased to singer/songwriter Morrissey’s L.A. concert included a coupon to try Denny’s new “Better Burger” for free after the December 10 show.  He included this picture:

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The only problem?  Morrissey is a rabid vegetarian. Has been since he was 11.  Has both a song and an album entitled “Meat is Murder.”  Supposedly can’t be near the smell of meat without gagging and has walked off stage during concerts because of some fans cooking on a barbecue grill.  So how the hell did this carnivorous cross-promotion get approved? I wonder just how many of his fans will actually be taking Denny’s up on their offer of a free post-encore entree…

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But maybe Morrissey could use a little bit of protein himself.  Just last week, the former Smiths frontman collapsed while performing on stage in England.  According to reports, he “was having a hard time breathing” and was rushed to a nearby hospital in an ambulance.

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I’m no doctor, Mister Morrissey, but perhaps a big fat double cheeseburger just might do you some good.  I know where you can get a free one, birthday or not.

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