Denny’s launches a new immersive AR menu featuring food that jumps off the page

[During the pandemic many restaurants required customers to access written menus only by scanning a QR code with their smartphone. But a richer, more presence-evoking format is possible: The U.S. diner chain Denny’s has created what it calls an immersive augmented reality menu experience, as reported in the two stories below from The Daily Meal and The Takeout. Will these “mouth-watering” presence experiences become more common? –Matthew]

[Image: Customer viewing Denny’s augmented reality menu on smartphone. Credit: Denny’s]

Denny’s Unveils A New Augmented Reality Menu Experience (Plus New Items)

By Jennifer Waldera
March 15, 2023

Initially named Danny’s Donuts, Denny’s first opened its doors in 1953 in Lakewood, California. Now, 70 years later, the iconic diner has more than 1,400 locations across the United States and serves a whole lot more than just donuts.

The brand is largely known for its Grand Slam burgers and its punny Moons Over My Hammy egg sandwich. But through its new platform “It’s Diner Time,” Denny’s hopes to attract diners with its remodeled restaurants, upgraded menu offerings, and the use of augmented reality (AR).

In 2013, Denny’s introduced AR to its diners via placements that accompanied a limited-time menu that was inspired by “The Hobbit.” Several years later, the company offered a “Shrek the Halls”-inspired AR experience on its children’s menus. Users were able to see three-dimensional characters and even take pictures with them.

Now, diners at Denny’s can partake in the company’s most immersive AR experience yet, according to a March 15 press release. Using their smartphones, diners can scan the colorful new menu, allowing them to interact, read about the brand’s storied history, and gain access to deals only available through the AR experience.

[snip to end]

[From The Takeout]

Denny’s New AR Menu Will Immerse You in the Grand Slam

Welcome to the future of chain restaurant food. Maybe.

By Marnie Shure
March 16, 2023

One of my favorite facts about Denny’s is that, due to its 24-hours-a-day service model, many locations existed for decades without any locks on the doors. Eventually they all had them installed, but that ceaseless, all-in commitment to diner food is what has always tickled me about Denny’s. Now, in honor of its 70th anniversary, the chain is marrying its midcentury diner vibes with both modern flavors and modern technology, rolling out a new menu that includes—what else?—an augmented reality component.

The AR menu, a press release explains, is designed to “take guests on a vibrant visual tour with the turn of each page.” It goes on:

“Denny’s designed its AR menu feature to bring the brand to life through a memorable and mouth-watering journey as part of the dining experience. A multitude of opportunities to interact, access exclusive deals, and learn about the brand and its storied 70-year history are now at guests’ fingertips with a single scan.”

New menu items include a spicy version of Moons Over My Hammy (featuring spicy chorizo), a strawberry cheesecake milkshake, a skillet full of mac and cheese and brisket, and lots more stuff that frankly sounds pretty delicious.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that a restaurant has tried to add some high-tech pizzazz to the ordering process. Last summer, a video from 2021 with the caption “The current use of augmented reality in [dining]” went viral online, showing diners interacting with a 3D interface that lets them see the dishes exactly as they’d appear when they hit the table so that there are no surprises. Yet while the 2021 technology involved a small projector placed directly on the table, Denny’s AR is accessed entirely throug mobile devices, displaying the food on your phone screen where it doesn’t exist on the table IRL.

The upside of this tech is that you don’t have to create a Denny’s account or download a Denny’s app to access it, nor do you have to provide any biometric data through face or fingerprint scans, as some popular apps require. A spokesperson for Denny’s confirmed to The Takeout that the menu will be on a web-based AR platform, meaning it functions entirely within your phone’s internet browser (a plus for those of us with too many apps and accounts already). It can only be accessed in-restaurant for on-site dining.

While there are currently no special offers or promotions exclusive to the AR menu, Denny’s noted that this could always change in the future. A rep also noted that the company intends to regularly update the AR experience so that there’s always a new reason to give it a spin—and if people respond positively to it, the tech might just stick around for good.

At the end of the day, Denny’s AR menu might succeed on the grounds of curiosity alone. After all, I haven’t been to a Denny’s in roughly 11 years, but now I’m mentally planning a trip to the far-flung suburbs of Chicago just to check out this technology for myself. It’s like Pokémon Go, but instead of Mewtwo you snag Moons Over My Hammy. (And now you have the option to make it spicy.)

This entry was posted in Presence in the News. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • Find Researchers

    Use the links below to find researchers listed alphabetically by the first letter of their last name.

    A | B | C | D | E | F| G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z