Denny's Provides Hurricane Ian Aid Through Mobile Relief Diner; Paul Spencer Details



Denny's Provides Hurricane Ian Aid Through Mobile Relief Diner; Paul Spencer Details


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FLORIDA - It is always heart-warming to witness a company standing strong on its values and putting its money where its mouth is. Such is the story of Denny’s, as the foodservice operator continues to help communities in need through its inventive Mobile Relief Diner (MRD). After a recent trip to multiple locations in Florida to uplift the communities impacted by Hurricane Ian, the company’s Paul Spencer, MRD Program Director, took some time to explain the vision behind this impactful effort.

“The Mobile Relief Diner (MRD) was built to serve a simple, but powerful purpose—to feed people affected by natural and man-made disasters. We want to provide a respite from the tragedy and bring some sense of normalcy when people need it most,” shares Paul.

The MRD effort began with an urgent response to Hurricane Harvey’s impact in Houston in 2017, leading Denny’s to quickly put together a makeshift mobile kitchen to help the victims. While Denny’s was working to serve the people of Houston, Hurricane Irma hit the Florida Keys, and the company took to Florida to help those impacted as well.

In the wake of Hurricane Ian, Denny's helped communities in need through its inventive Mobile Relief Diner

With an overwhelming response from the communities, Denny’s saw the opportunity to make this a permanent initiative, and the Denny’s Mobile Relief Diner program was born. In early 2018, Denny’s custom-built the current MRD that is in use today. Over the past five years, the MRD has traveled more than 46,000 miles and served over 95,000 meals.

“We measure our success by how many people we reach in a community. Through our experience over time, we’ve become more proficient in each deployment at tapping into the community to let them know we’re coming. This deployment was extremely successful,” Paul reflected. “During the five days we spent in Cape Coral and Ft Myers, we touched 8,700 people with freshly cooked meals and a caring smile. Then we traveled to Orlando, where severe flooding impacted many communities. During our two-day deployment there, we touched 3,300 people. Overall, we served 12,000 meals during our time in Florida, a record so far in our five-year mission.”

Over the past five years, the Mobile Relief Diner has traveled over 46,000 miles and served over 95,000 meals to those in need of aid

All of the hearty meals given to community members are cooked within the MRD, served hot off the grill as if they were inside a Denny’s restaurant. In addition to warm meals, the MRD also provides emotional support during its deployments, talking with victims about the disaster and the ways they are coping with the aftermath. As Paul explains, it’s also a great opportunity for Denny’s employees to witness firsthand the impact they have on communities struck by disaster.

“At Denny’s, ‘we love to feed people.’ After our first MRD deployments in Houston and the Florida Keys in 2017, we realized that feeding people impacted by these disasters was an authentic demonstration of our brand purpose,” Paul explained. “What better way to live our brand purpose than by feeding people for free when they need it most?”

Cheers to an initiative that truly demonstrates the heart of Denny’s and our industry!

Denny’s