Giving away free stuff(to Denny's, it's food) is one of the best marketing strategies out there.
Last year 2 million people turned out to Denny's to take them up on there Free Grand Slam offer. It's only a $6 meal, but Denny's is only losing the cost of the meal which is probably $2 or $3?!? Turns out to be $4 or $5 million dollars given away. The drinks aren't free and the 2 million customers will still leave tips for the employees. If a customer orders a drink then Denny's will damn near break even. Drinks are near pure profit.
That is the petty side of the deal and your arguement of giving away shareholder's money.
The BIGGER picture is the 2 million people that are shuffling through the doors and sampling what Denny's has to offer. These customers can really turn into regulars and bring in much more dollars in the long term.
What if 100,000 (only 0.50%) of those customers drop by Denny's once a week from here on out....$$$$$
The CMO needs a salary increase, he's a genious. CMO's are more important than the CEO.
Many financially-stressed families appreciate the gesture. Last year DENN provided about 2 million free meals on the Tuesday following the Super Bowl. That number will be higher this year. Just my opinion.
Ding...ding...ding...All deadbeats and vagabonds everywhere, come get it! DENN rings a big, fat welfare dinner bell for the entire population of the US. Denny's shareholders are the biggest suckers of all time to keep this management in place. They are PATHETIC.