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Free Is the New Black

Only two days after the Super Bowl, Denny’s restaurants gave away a free Grand Slam breakfast to all comers across the nation, going so far as to advertise its intentions during the Big Game. The result: Folks queued up for hours in the longest lines ever to form outside of a Denny’s (with the possible exception of that two-hour window between 2 and 4 a.m. on weekends in which the chain’s sales eclipse the GNP of most Third-World countries). Even in good economic times, the draw of a free meal would have been high. But in this climate, offering a free breakfast with no strings attached was akin to naming that Tuesday a national holiday. Which, coincidentally, is just what Denny's competitor, International House of Pancakes, is doing now. Or should we say, has done. Since 2006, IHOP has dubbed Fat Tuesday National Pancake Day. That's when, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., the eatery gives away a short stack (that's three) of its famous buttermilk pancakes absolutely free. The catch? Well, IHOP hopes pancake lovers will agree that one good turn deserves another, and make a donation to the Children's Miracle Network -- an organization that supports local children's hospitals. Last year, IHOP raised more than $875,000 for charity through National Pancake Day, and this year, it hopes to eclipse $1 million. Visit to find a location near you.
Tue., Feb. 24, 2009


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