Denny’s announced the kick-off of its first ever Heroes Tour, an 10-day, 800-plus-mile tour of the Denny’s Mobile Relief Diner to bring free, hot meals to homeless veterans. Taking place from November 13-22, 2020 in honor of Veteran’s Day, the Heroes Tour will make six stops in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California to provide a helping hand to homeless veterans who have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout. The Heroes Tour builds upon Denny’s longstanding tradition of offering a complimentary Build Your Own Grand Slam breakfast to all active, inactive and military personnel on Veteran’s Day.
Partnering with U.S.VETS, the nation’s largest veteran services nonprofit, and Veterans Village of San Diego, Denny’s will deliver fresh, warm breakfasts and lunches to veterans in Prescott, Ariz., Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego via the Mobile Relief Diner, a 53-foot traveling kitchen originally designed to visit areas impacted by natural disasters. This is the first time that Denny’s is using the Mobile Relief Diner to serve veterans as part of a broader effort to help those impacted by COVID-19. During the tour, the Mobile Relief Diner will take all of the necessary COVID-19 precautions and will be staffed by Denny’s volunteer staff in each location, with a number of Heroes Tour volunteers being U.S. veterans themselves.
“Denny’s has long celebrated veterans in our restaurants, but this year, we wanted to double down on our commitment to veterans by taking the Mobile Relief Diner to veterans events and facilities to safely serve hot, fresh Denny’s meals to those who might need a helping hand during this challenging time,” says John Dillon, chief brand officer for Denny’s. “Despite the challenges all are facing in 2020, we are honored to be working with U.S.VETS and Veterans Village of San Diego and doing what we can to remind American veterans just how much we appreciate their service.”
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, about 11 percent of the adult homeless population are U.S. veterans. Several markets across the U.S. have experienced sharp increases in the number of homeless veterans since the start of the pandemic, causing concern that recent progress in the fight against veteran homelessness could be at risk. Los Angeles, in particular, has the largest homeless population and the most homeless veterans in the country.
“Across the U.S., veterans have been one of the groups most heavily impacted by the pandemic, making this year’s Veteran’s Day an even bigger reminder of what we can collectively do to support them,” adds Chris Bode, chief operating officer for Denny’s. “As a veteran myself, it’s a real privilege to work for an organization that honors veterans and to be able to meet and serve the veterans in these communities.”
“Veterans have made the ultimate sacrifice; they served our country with honor and dignity. Our veterans and their families are deeply impacted by the pandemic. We are here to serve those who served us by assisting with housing, food, employment, and comprehensive support,” said Larry Williams, Vice President, Programs, for U.S.VETS. “The collaboration between U.S.VETS and Denny’s is an example of the type of community alliance that is needed to assist veterans and their families during this time of need.”
Scheduled stops of the Denny’s Heroes Tour include the following locations:
- November 13: U.S.VETS Prescott, Ariz. facility
- November 14: U.S.VETS Phoenix, Ariz. facility
- November 16: U.S.VETS Las Vegas, Nev. facility
- November 18-19: U.S.VETS Inglewood, Calif. facility
- November 20: U.S.VETS Long Beach, Calif. facility
- November 22: San Diego, Calif. Stand Down (hosted by Veterans Village of San Diego)
Built from the ground up and created from the brand’s purpose of loving to feed people, the Mobile Relief Diner is a fully-functional diner on wheels that was specifically designed by Denny’s to travel virtually anywhere in the U.S. during emergency situations to serve free, hot Denny’s meals to those needing a helping hand. With each deployment, the Mobile Relief Diner works closely with local officials, disaster relief organizations, and local franchisees and store operators to identify the areas and groups most in need.