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Denny’s Drives Sales with 49 Million Scratch-Off Cards

By Sep 13, 2006

Denny’s is revving up excitement around a new scratch-off promotion with Coca-Cola that dangles a chance for customers and racing fans alike to ride along with some of their favorite NASCAR Nextel Cup Series drivers.

The restaurant operator is rolling out a sweepstakes tying in to Coke’s NASCAR sponsorship. In the Race-In-To-Win Sweepstakes, customers will receive a scratch-off card with the purchase of a meal and a Coca-Cola beverage during the 10-week promotion. Denny’s will distribute more than 49 million scratch-off cards for the sweeps.

One grand-prize winner will receive a ride-along weekend for two in Atlanta, which will include a ride in an actual racecar, a meet-and-greet session with members of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, tickets to weekend events, hotel accommodations and airfare. Four first-prize winners will receive VIP racing trips for two to Atlanta, Charlotte, NC, Las Vegas or Daytona Beach. Winners will meet the Coca-Cola Racing Family, get tickets to weekend racing events and exclusive tours complete with hotel accommodations and airfare.

Lesser prizes include free Denny’s food, including appetizers, desserts and beverages. The odds of winning a prize are better than most sweepstakes (one in five), said Michael Polydoroff, Denny’s director of sales promotion and licensing.

“We knew that racing fans are passionate about their brand and they are Denny’s customers,” Polydoroff said. “We’re seeing tens of millions of racing fans out there. We [wanted] to drive incremental guests, as well as award our guests that come into the restaurant with great prizing.”

Coke is the official soft drink of NASCAR and the title sponsor of The Coca-Cola 600. The Coca-Cola Racing Family includes the likes of Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick, Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Michael Waltrip.

The sweepstakes is Denny’s first tie-in to the racing community, Polydoroff said.

As part of the promotion, Denny’s restaurants in five markets will host an on-site racing show car event, offering simulated rides and prize giveaways starting next month. Each event will coincide with races in each city. Events will take place Oct. 14 in Charlotte, NC, Oct. 22 in Martinsville, VA, Nov. 5 in Fort Worth, TX, Nov. 12 in Phoenix and Nov. 19 in Miami, FL. Denny’s will give away one pair of tickets in each market to local racing events. Online materials and posters will support.

Employees, too, have a stake in the sweeps. Denny’s is incenting servers to talk up the promotion to customers for a chance to receive gift cards and other prizes. Mystery guests will visit Denny’s restaurants and judge employees on their performance, Polydoroff said. In addition to the gift card, the store will be entered into a larger pot for a chance to win a store-wide prize, he said.

The promotion runs through Nov. 19. Online materials, P-O-P, in-store signage and TV spots support. Publicis, Dallas, handles creative. Denny’s and Coca-Cola handle the promotion in house.

In other news, Denny’s said yesterday it planned to sell 66 franchise-operated restaurants to National Retail Properties, Inc., a real estate investment trust, for $67 million. The move comes as part of the restaurant operator’s plan to reduce debt, the company said. Denny’s said the transaction is expected to be complete within 30 days. An additional 13 franchise locations are up for sale. Those transactions are expected to be complete within a year.

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