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Got pancakes?

Eatery hits a grand slam with Turlock diners

Got pancakes?

Hundreds upon hundreds of hungry diners filed through the doors at the Turlock Denny's restaurant throughout the day Tuesday to take advantage of the eatery's free breakfast promotion.

POSTED February 9, 2010 11:43 p.m.

Everyone knows there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but a free breakfast?

Hundreds of Turlockers turned out at Denny’s Tuesday to take the nationwide restaurant chain up on their Super Bowl offer of a free Grand Slam breakfast – two eggs, two pancakes, two sausages, and two bacon strips – from 6 a.m. through 2 p.m.

Despite the turnout, the out-the-door line moved briskly throughout the day.

“It’s crazy but it’s really organized,” said Denny’s server Valerie Ramiriez of Keyes as she hustled from table to table in a shirt bearing the phrase, “Great day to be an American, tough day to be a chicken.”

Diners reported wait times near 30 minutes for a table, with a complete meal taking about an hour – a marked improvement from a year ago, when waits often exceeded an hour.

According to Denise McDonald, Manager of the Turlock Denny’s, the whole day moved much more smoothly than last year, when Denny’s served more than 2 million free Grand Slams nationwide.

“This year we were prepared,” McDonald said.

Last year McDonald said the restaurant wasn’t quite sure how much demand there would be, but this year they staffed up with every manager on duty and about 15 employees working the restaurant. The Turlock Denny’s also put in extra prep work to be sure they had enough food to last the day.

Diners were also prepared for the annual free meal, including Samantha Johnston, a teacher at Denair’s Reyn Franca School. Johnston brought her special education class of 10 to Denny’s as a free field trip.

“We took it as an opportunity for a community activity,” Johnston said.

The free Grand Slam promotion was deemed a success by Denny’s workers and diners alike. For those who missed out, McDonald noted that everyone can have a free Grand Slam on their birthday, and that starting Feb. 10 free refills will be offered for pancakes and fries.

“We know that times are still tough and a free hot breakfast helps a lot of folks and their families,” said Nelson Marchioli, CEO and President of Denny’s.

To contact Alex Cantatore, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2005.

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