Denny's opened its doors in New Zealand in 1988 in Manukau City. Today there are currently 7 stores in New Zealand situated in Highland Park, Manukau City, Wairau Park, Auckland City and New Lynn in Auckland; Christchurch and Porirua, all owned by Rappongi Excursions Ltd. The Company plans to open more restaurants one at a time throughout New Zealand.
The Denny's New Zealand Mission
Denny's N.Z. will striveto provide the highest level of guest satisfaction and value for money at any of our full service restaurants. We endeavor to do this with courteous and attentive service, quality food products, and a clean environment, in any of our warm and friendly family restaurants.
My first experience of Denny's was in America several years ago now it seemed to be a very restaurant and so we decided to give it a try and we were most impressed by the whole experience the food was great, the drinks were unlimited as were the desserts and it looked and felt like a real American diner. Yesterday we were up in Auckland for the day visiting Butterfly Creek and the Auckland Botanical Gardens. Between our visits to these places we decided to break for hungry, and being so close to Manukau we decided this would be our best bet of finding a place to eat, we opted not to go to the food court as this is always super busy and so instead thought we would try a New Zealand version of Denny's.
Pulling up in our car, the car park was packed which meant we needed to park out on the side of the road, and we felt the building was looking rather run down and in need of a really good paint job. None the less we headed in, surely the place wasn't going to be as busy as it was if it was no good, right? We went up to the counter and I have to admit the staff were not very friendly at all, in fact I don't even think we got a hello out of them, none the less they walked us to our table, and handed us our menus again without a word and off they went. The menu was full of items to order from breakfasts, meals, sandwiches, burgers, snacks, desserts and drinks there was a lot of choice, it was a very difficult choice deciding what to order, though we got there in the end. The kids menu was probably the best I have seen before in regards to having so many choices, and I liked that it offered a bit of variety from just the standard kids menu items with smaller helpings available of the adult sized meals.
Our orders were taken and our drinks appeared within a few minutes, which I was quite impressed with, and our meals about 10 minutes later. Between us we ordered a chicken nuggets kids meal, a mushroom melt burger, the pie of the day and the chicken club sandwich. The meals all came out hot and were of a very big size and everyone enjoyed there meals without any complaints. The drinks we ordered were also of a decent size and were surprisingly well priced with them being $4 for a milkshake and $4.50 for a soda pop (a fizzy drink with a scoop of ice cream in it).
Though this visit to Denny's was nothing like our American experience it was still good though I do feel the staff could really do with some people skills! The total price for our bill was well under $100 so not to bad at all, if visiting Auckland again we would consider dining here again.
I have to say I had a very differing experience in both Denny's I have been to. Both in different islands of New Zealand, I enjoyed Denny's every single time I went. I went twice in the South Island and since moving up North I have been twice.
On a management course, we went out for dinner and came across a Denny's. It was in the middle of the city and up the stairs so had quite a nice view. The prices were very very good. We all got a main and a dessert (which was huge and yummy) for a price we considered very good. Drinks were about the same as anywhere else.
We were so happy with this that we took a bigger group back to the same place two days later, and again this was great. In the South Island I went there twice on family occasions and we were very happy. Children ate for free on certain days with a paying adult per child. This was great.
Overall. I liked the service - great. The menu had lots to choose from, the food tasted great (and we were going out every night for dinner on this management course) and the serving sizes were nice and big (the desserts very big).
Would def go back there again any time, I am going to Auckland in a few weeks, and I have already locked down this restaurant as the place we are eating at :)
Well I cant say much about this place. But Im not that happy with them.
So lets start here, we had 5 adults and 2 children that needed feeding, so this place seemed good, it was close to where we were at the time and have been there many times with no problems.
This time around we have a child with Coeliac disease and you would think they could cater for her... a bowl of veges would be good, she would be happy with that. We checked out the menu then I got up to talk to a person that looked like the manager (he had the managers shirt on). I asked him if there was anything Gluten Free safe for my daughter at first he thought i said kids meals not sure how he got that. Standing there trying to explain Gluten Free to him he tells me nothing is safe.
Not even the veges, he said those are cooked in the same pot as the meat. Really.
After i finally get annoyed, upset as i was, i took my kids and left, soon after the rest of my family left too.
Also they stuffed our tables up to start with too
Was not impressed, looking at the prices of the meals and knowing how big the meals come, i cant say they would be worth it either as we went down the road to another place to eat and for an extra $2-$5 the meals were HUGE, filling and catered to the needs of a little girl.
No i wouldnt recommended it
Recently I was in Auckland to attend the big Home Show and expand my network of contacts. As the day drew to a close, my stomach reminded me that "Dinner" was more than just an abstract concept worth 7 points in scrabble, and was in fact something it really wanted me to explore in greater detail. I was not alone in this, it seemed, as the conversation slowly turned to evening meals and plans thereof.
One of the conversationalists mentioned the "... wonderful 'all you can eat' roast meal on Tuesdays and Fridays at Denny's..." that he was so fond of. Not having enjoyed a roast meal in a long while, I was instantly in love with the idea and decided that was a plan I could go along with, so off I went seeking the nearest Denny's. Turns out, it was only a very slight detour off my way home, tucked in a dead-end cul-de-sac in Manukau. A little hard to find without a GPS, but find it I did.
Walking in, I noticed three things straight off:
- Lovely decor and music
- Staff with that semi-bored/pasted on smile
- Patrons waiting for their tables to come available.
"Oh well," says I, "Let's just see..." so a genuine smile, some quiet words, and I was shown straight to a table designed for 4. A brochure of some kind was dropped on the table in front of me without comment and when I looked up it was to see the staff member making for the kitchen door. 6 minutes someone else appeared and asked if what I wanted, notebook and pen in hand.
"Ah, yes I would like the 'all you can eat' roast meal please." "Sure, what would you like to start with? Beef, Pork or Lamb?" Surprised at this, since I had been assuming it would be buffet style, I replied "Oh, OK... Ummm... I'll start with pork then pleasee... and how does it work?" I admit to being confused at this point, when she didn't answer my question, and instead queried if I wanted anything to drink. In hindsight, this was the point where it should have dawned on me that she wasn't really listening to me, but instead reacting to key words only and ignoring the rest as 'background noise.' Off she went with my order.
Anyway... 14 minutes later another staff member - a male - returned with my food. I attempted to elicit information from him, but he just smiled blankly, turned around and walked off while I was still in mid-question. Now, I was starting to get a bit worried about how I was to get the desired information. None the less, my meal was cooling rapidly and already the gravy was starting to form a skin. I ate about half of the meal and had to then try and attract the attention of a staff person, because the pork was fatty and tasted funny, cheese sauce tasted 'off' and I wanted more gravy to try and add flavour to the bland vegetables - a large stalk of broccoli with a small scattering of florets, some wrinkled carrot bits, and a huge serving of over-boiled peas. I was also a bit upset that I had just chipped a tooth on the pork crackling, it was so hard! On the plus side, the roast potatoes were brilliant!
After failing to catch the attention of three staff - one of whom spent nearly 5 minutes trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to merge two tables of guests, less than 3m away from me, into one so the group could eat as a whole - I gave up on waiting and loudly hailed one of the staff who had just finished serving a table two down from me and signaled her to come to me. She did, and I asked her for some more gravy, and could she please enlighten me as to "...how the 'all you can eat' roast meal works please? Do I just order another meal, or do I take my plate somewhere to refill it, or what?" Her stunned-trout face got me instantly concerned, and she then mumbled something about getting the manager, and dived away like a scared rabbit.
After another 3 minutes of waiting, I felt awkward as people were now starting to watch me, so I ate the now-cold remains of my dinner while I awaited the reply. Instead of a reply, I got a small bowl of gravy presented to me with some mumbled comment, and the Store Manager standing over me, leaning forward in a somewhat intimidating manner. Now, I am no shrinking violet, so I wasn't concerned with the petty body language tricks, and I calmly and politely repeated my enquiry. He interrupted me to inform me that the website "...clearly says the Wellington store... in little writing in the bottom corner..." When I asked why I was not informed of this by the order taker, he replied that he didn't know, but it wasn't important. "I don't know what you said to her, but I don't think you said that. She would have said something." Basically, "Bullshit, if you had asked that she would have spoken up. You must be lying." was how it came across.
I explained that I HAD stated I wanted the 'all you can eat' roast meal, because that was the reason I changed my usual routine to eat at this venue, instead of going to Wendy's in Otara as was my usual stop. (Sorry, but they do an amazing Chili con Carne that I just can't get enough of.) I was then treated to a sarcastic half-smile, which caused me to start getting angry. Rather than make a scene, I stated "... never mind. I'll just pay my bill and leave thanks." "Yeah, OK, good idea." he said and headed for the front counter. I followed.
After paying, I asked for the contact details for Head Office to be written on the back of the receipt, as I intended to give feedback about the website advert - which I had looked up on my smartphone while waiting for the gravy to arrive earlier. Sure enough, BIG writing about the roast meal deal, tiny "Willis Street Store Only" in the bottom right corner. I was presented a blank receipt and verbally shoved aside by the manager turning away from me and greeting the next person waiting in line to pay. I patiently waited and refrained - still - from making a scene, while three other payments were processed. Then he turned to me and grinned, asking "Can I help you?" "Yes, I would like the contact details for Head Office please, and the name of this store's manager. I am going to make a complaint about tonight. You have treated me rudely, charged me for less than I was led to believe I would get, and now have chosen not to give me the information I requested."
He then snatched the receipt from my outstretched hand, scribbled something on it, handed it back to me, then turned and walked away. I departed and headed for my car, fuming. As I reached my car I looked at the receipt and noticed that there was a barely-legible phone number on it and the words "Head Office", nothing more. So, I returned to the restaurant to get the remaining details, as originally requested - twice. I arrived to find him busy processing more payments, so I calmly and quietly waited (That whole "count to 10" trick - it really does work!). After he was finished, he turned to me and gave me another sarcastic grin and asked "Can I help you?" with a sneering tone. I handed him the receipt and asked again for the name of the store manager to be added to it. "What store?" he asked. "This one!" "What manager you want?" "The manager of this store!" I replied. "Oh, that's me!" he said. "So put your name on there please, so I know who I will be complaining about." "Oh, hahahahahahahahahaa....that's nice." he sneered at me, took the receipt, wrote his name on it, placed the receipt on the desk to his right, near the edge closest to the walkway, and just stared at me. When I started to move around the desk to get the receipt, he snatched it up and shoved it at me aggressively. I took the receipt and looked up to see him sneering at me again. "Thanks," I said, "but you really shouldn't be such a smug, arrogant prat to customers." "Oh," he replied in a mocking tone," I'm so sorry." "You will be, mate, you will be." I said as I turned to leave. When I was almost at the inner set of doors, with my arm out to push through, he started yelling behind me "Go on, get out! Get out!" "Hey buddy, I'm already leaving!" I replied as I walked out, to the accompaniment of him continuing to yell "Get out! Get out!" behind me.
8 people had been in the process of entering the venue as I departed. One of them held the outer door open for me as I left. I thanked him, but he replied "Nah mate, thank YOU! You've helped us decide where we AREN'T going to eat tonight. What an arsehole that guy was! I'll be telling the rest of the whanau to avoid this place, eh." and patted me on the back as he joined the rest of his group departing down the side ramp. I returned to my car, and drove off south, making a brief stop at KFC further down the road for a burger and fries to eat as I drove home.
Overall, a thoroughly unpleasant dining experience. Despite having heard great things about this chain, I know for certain that I would much rather sit on the curb and eat a cold pie from the service station down the road, than set foot in this particular store again. I rang head office and made a complaint - as I said I would. Did I get back an apology and a refund of my $15.00 payment for a seriously substandard meal? No. I got a brief email saying that they are upset, they will look at their training methods to ensure their staff actually listen to customers properly so they don't screw up, and a weak attempt at levity at the "...cold side order of ineptitude." I received. Sorry Denny's NZ, but that just isn't good enough. Your staff put me in an embarrassing position, then ridiculed me, and finally humiliated me in a fully-crowded public restaurant... a "Gee shit, we're sorry mister. OK?" just is not good enough these days. Shame on you! The best thing about the whole experience... Leaving!
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