“America’s diner” bets on a bigger, better, fluffier pancake recipe to stack up sales
EC: Denny’s New Pancake Recipe Debuts
Credit: Courtesy of Denny's

When is the last time you flipped out over a pancake? They're generally serviceable as vessels for ferrying butter, syrup, and various toppings to your carb-starved maw, but as discrete breakfast treats, they tend toward forgettable. When Denny’s asked their loyal fans what they thought of the chain’s flapjack stacks—an integral part of their 24-hour menu—the response was underwhelming. Customers felt they could whip up pancakes in their own home kitchens that were as good or better than those they ate in the restaurant. And thus, Denny's new pancake recipe was born.

The company took the feedback to heart and scrapped their longstanding formula in favor of an all-new pancake recipe that will debut at more than 1,700 Denny’s restaurants across the country on Tuesday. The chain repositioned its branding from family restaurant to “America’s diner” in 2010, and took a cue from the short-order cooks who make everything fresh from scratch. Denny's new pancakes—which were previously made from a mix that included buttermilk solids and water—now feature real buttermilk, eggs, flour, and vanilla, and purport to be 50 percent fluffier than before.

Denny's new pancake recipe took three years and extensive resources to develop, and the chain is backing up the bet with a massive ad campaign and social media push featuring frequent Tumblr updates, exclusive pancake-centric Snapchat filters, a "pancake rejection simulator" (to assist in awkward conversations with loved ones about their disappointing flapjacks), and updates to its popular web series The Grand Slams—with special emphasis on its anthropomorphic pancake, named “Pancake.” Limited-time additions to the Denny’s menu include sticky bun, strawberries and cream, double berry banana, and peanut butter pancake toppings. Breakfast accounts for about a quarter of the chain’s total food sales.