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Denny’s “Kids Eat Free on Saturday Nights” Promotion May Not by Worth It

If there is one good thing that has come out of this ugly recession it is the deals at restaurants and stores everywhere. Lets face it if you are a business owner then the power of free can help grow and jump start your business right now. Like many parents we have taken advantage of the Kids Eat Free that many of our local restaurants have to offer. Denny’s has been one of the first to jump on this band wagon but here in Dana Point our local Denny’s has really missed the mark and may be losing valuable customers due to slow service and a less than sparkling clean dinning room.

After our Saturday night softball game we thought it would be nice to go out to dinner and the kids have been wanting to go to Denny’s since we pass it often. After agreeing to the kid’s restaurant choice we headed over and made our way in. We recognized the same server who is about the only server they ever have even on a Saturday night. We are a big family and we chose a big booth close to the door. Right away we noticed the table felt like it was not cleaned well and the booth seats had some left over food that grossed us all out.

Our polite server took our drink order within a few minutes and delivered the drinks rather fast. There is a bit of a language barrier and we usually have to repeat things but that is common place and not big deal in Southern California. He took our food order and then we talked and enjoyed ourselves for about the first five minutes. It’s about ten minutes into the waiting that they kids begin complaining and the three year old twins begin feeling the ants in their pants. We start to have to peel them off the pictures on the wall and take the salt and pepper shakers away. My oldest child wants to leave and go to IHOP. It was a good idea I had to admit.

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Finally the food appears. The onion rings look great. Everyone is ready to dig in. My twin’s chicken nuggets look like pieces of burnt wood but luckily they are not foodies at ages three. My four year old enjoys a couple of pieces of her pizza and they all like digging into the ranch with their fries. Not healthy but hey it’s Saturday night and we won the game.

My Superbird is fine, nothing to write home about and my oldest daughter enjoys her burger. My husband can’t even finish his double cheeseburger. Everyone kinda nibbles on their fries and onion rings but no one is greatly impressed with anything and we do notice things are looking old and the floors and walls are quite dingy. The bathrooms are not as clean as the public restrooms at the ball field but are well stocked with warm water and hand soap and paper toilet seat covers.

Once the bill arrives and we check to see if the food was free for three of our kids we notice we charged for drinks for them and the bill was not bad for six people at $38 and some change before tip but we also realize we could have went to so many other place and paid about the same for a much better meal and ambience. One thing that is not lacking in South Orange County are great restaurants with amazing food.

My advice to the owner of this Denny’s in Dana Point is to add another server on a Saturday night and freshen up the place by painting over the wallpaper and a deep clean throughout the dinning room. You will have many more repeat customers as well as the PCH tourists.

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