Freaks People Out, He Says

Yesterday, I wrote about how Denny’s offered a free Grand Slam breakfast to anybody who came in on Tuesday, February 4.

Today I learned that not only did the promotion create a flood of business… it also generated hundreds of phone calls.


Because nobody believed the breakfast was going to really be free. Manager Sam Kaul had answered more than 100 calls by 9:15 a.m. He says:

“Free freaks people out,” Kaul said as he shuffled in customers who had to wait about 20 minutes for a seat. “They call and say, ‘What’s the catch?'”

And this brings up a very important point about making free offers.

That is, you should always give a good reason why.

Obviously, Denny’s offer of a free breakfast sounded too good to be true. Many people didn’t believe it.

They could have easily side-stepped this by offering a believable reason why they were offering the free meal.

For instance: They could have said they were doing it to help people out in hard times — and win back customers.

Or they could have said:

We want to prove to you what a great value Denny’s is. Here, your dollar goes further.

Our Grand Slam breakfast has two pancakes, two eggs, two pieces of bacon, and two sausage links, all for only $5.99 — the same as what you might pay at any old fast-food joint.

And on Tuesday, you can try our Grand Slam breakfast absolutely free. No strings attached.

This is just off the top of my head.

Whenever you’re offering something for free, give a reason — any reason — why you’re doing it, and chances are you’ll have more people taking you up on your offer.

-Ryan M. Healy

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like,, and

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