On Tuesday, Denny’s gave away free Grand Slam breakfasts between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. The breakfast that usually costs $5.95 was offered at no charge at all of its locations. People lined up, and those who couldn’t get in were offered a coupon for a free Grand Slam on their next visit.

According to the Houston Business Journal: The dine-in only breakfast includes two pancakes, two eggs, two links of sausage and two strips of bacon. Denny's sells more than 12.5 million Grand Slams a year.

That’s a lot of food and a lot of people buying it.

"The Grand Slam has always been a Denny's favorite," said Nelson Marchioli, Denny's chief executive officer, in a news release. "This free offer is our way of re-acquainting America with Denny's real breakfast and with the Denny's brand. You don't know the real Denny's unless you've been in our restaurants lately, experiencing the quality of our new menu items and our service first-hand."
I understand that in this economy, people are going to jump at free. In fact, even in a good economy, there probably would have been lines out the door. But I wonder if people know how much this free breakfast is really costing them.

The Daily Plate has the nutritional breakdown of a Grand Slam:

Calories: 795

Total Fat: 50g (77 percent of the recommended daily total)

Cholesterol: 460mg (153 percent of the recommended daily total)

Sodium: 2237mg (93 percent of the recommended daily total)

Dietary Fiber: 2g (8 percent of the recommended daily total)

Protein: 34g (68 percent of the recommended daily total)

So that’s what a free Grand Slam is going to really cost you – 77 percent of your total daily fat intake; 153 percent of your daily cholesterol intake; and 93 percent of your daily sodium intake. There’s not much fiber to help fill you up, either. I do suppose there’s a decent amount of protein in there, but it comes in the form of very fatty meats. To even out your day, you’ll have to eat a lot of whole grain bread and salad to counterbalance that free breakfast.

Should we be expected to never eat a breakfast like this? Pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs? Of course not. But the Grand Slam has two of everything on it. If you’re going to order the Grand Slam, you don’t have to eat the whole thing. Split it with someone. If you have no one to split it with, take half of it home to eat the next day. (Hey, if those who took advantage of the free Grand Slam did this, they’d have two free breakfasts!)

Taking advantage of a free offer like this may save you $5.95, but it’s going to cost you in other areas. Is free really worth that?

Image: basykes

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

The cost of that free Grand Slam
Those who took advantage of Tuesday's free Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's should know the real cost.