Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A thought about the (not) free Grand Slam at Denny's

Stories like this make me crazy. In case you missed it, Denny's announced free Grand Slam breakfasts to all takers today, 2/9/10 between 6am to 2pm. I realize this sounds like the unimaginable free meal at first glance, but ...
It's not.
Chipotle did something similar in Arizona last year. Pouncing on the Cardinals heading for the Super Bowl, patrons that wore red got a free burrito on 1/31/09. Again, this meal was far from free.
But Luke, it's literally free. How can it not be free? What part of "free" don't you understand?
Look at the lines in these shots. I actually tried to participate in the Chipotle promo and the line was out the back door when I arrived. Same happened today at every Denny's in the universe.
Lines = time. Time is not free. Let's do some quick math.
  • Assume you make $10/hr.
  • Assume you have to spend 2 hours standing in line (aka not at work) to get your free meal and then an hour sitting at the table.
  • $10/hr times 3 hours = free! Woops, nope. Actually it's $30.
You just gave up $30 of your time to get a free meal that costs you $5 under normal circumstances.
On the other hand, if you go to Denny's tomorrow on your lunch hour ...
  • No wait (cuz it's Denny's) = $0.
  • Lunch hour meal = $0 in lost wages.
  • $5 Grand Slam plus soda and tip = $10.
$30 for a free meal today. Or $10 for a not free meal tomorrow. Hope you made the right choice.


Andrea Marie said...

but it is free for the 10% of the population who is unemployed!

when can we get another bachelor update!?

Anonymous said...

I made the right choice by A) not going to Denny's yesterday and B) not going to Denny's on any other day.