If you’re not religious, you’re not welcome at Denny’s

Image: Bee Racasa on Flickr.

A Texas branch of American diner chain Denny's has come under fire for offering a 10% discount to church-going customers. Web user Jeff Wagg came across the following poster in a Denny's restaurant in Texas, photographed it and posted the image online, condemning the company for religious discrimination.

There are over 2,500 branches of Denny's worldwide, including in Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand. The fast food chain has been operating since the first branch opened in California in 1953. In the early 1990s the company was involved in several lawsuits following accusations from racial minorities who suffered discriminatory service.


“This kind of thing only happens in certain areas in the south where people would never consider that someone doesn’t go to church”

Blogger Jeff Wagg writes for the James Randi Educational Foundation, which promotes critical thinking and addresses paranormal and supernatural issues.  

I found myself in Euless, Texas, a few weeks ago, and decided to have breakfast at Denny's. As I approached, I saw this flyer affixed to the door. I was a bit taken aback, as I knew there had been controversies about this practice in the past, and I had naively thought such promotions were a matter of history. But this was even worse... not only were folks who attended church given a 10% discount, their church received a donation as well.

This flyer says to the millions of Americans who do not attend church that we are not welcome, and in fact, we will be required to pay more in order to enjoy Denny's. Also, by donating money only to churches through this promotion, Denny's is directly promoting religious organisations over the secular charities that benefit everyone.

I believe the promotion may violate Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states:

All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, and privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.'

This kind of thing only happens in certain areas in the south where people would never consider that someone doesn't go to church. In those areas, the concept of having no religion is so frowned upon that non-believers have to hide that fact. We're one of the last groups in the United States that it's ok to discriminate against. You'd never see a similar initiative discriminating so openly against any other group.

Incidentally I went into a Denny's in Arizona [southwest US], and as an experiment, asked if I could take advantage of the 10% discount for church-goers. They looked at me like I had three heads..." 

Read Jeff's full account, along with the subsequent letter he wrote to Denny's, here.

The poster was also posted on the counter. Both photos taken by Jeff Wagg.


What do you mean?

In all due respect the end of your comment would be considered as racism. I don't see it being any type of racist to give a church going person a discount. The same as if a college going student would get a discount, or how some places give kids discounts for good grades. Would you see that as being wrong? Of course if you have that kid who has bad grades your like man I wish my child had good grades so that I could get a discount but I wouldn't see it as being unfair.


Great,i suppose if you put up a sign satan disciples only permitted ,it would be packed out with all the garbage in the west.probably they got enough money and disciples in western society,well my opinion ,anyway probably in the near future you would have to have 666 stamped on your forehead, to purchase and eat anything. so what is the fuss.

Tracy King you have missed

Tracy King you have missed the point,this is a story about a communnist wanna-be tattling on a respectable business to further the liberal-socialist agenda of trying to control every single aspect of every ones life {like the govt trying to do the same with so called national health care or rather lack of}and another attempt a tearing down anything and everything our country and any decent person respects and admires about our society.

Jeff Nagg is clearly another hateful petty liberal

Not that deep

I don't even think that this story is all that deep. There was just some guy "No dis-respect" that couldn't get a discount because he doesn't go to church regularly enough to qualify for that discount. Now this happens a lot when people see something to be unfair for them and not everyone else. I don't think that he was really trying to look out for everyone's well being but really for his own.

Jeff doesn't go to church at

Jeff doesn't go to church at all, along with more than 10% of the population of the US. In the south he's in an extra-small minority of unbelievers, and even more likely to be ingnored, reviled, or discriminated against. The point he's making is that people just DIDN'T THINK and simple assumed that offering discounts to church-goers is the same as offering discounts to everyone.

"Jeff Nagg is clearly

"Jeff Nagg is clearly another hateful petty liberal"

Yeah,liberals are petty and hateful.

Jeff Wagg a hateful petty liberal?

Um... no. Jeff Wagg is actually a very nice person who is concerned with the rights of EVERYONE - not just those people who happen to go to church.

There have been many lawsuits here in the states dealing with discrimination because of religion. It is wrong to segregate a group for perks just because of their religion.

Denny's has had to deal with this issue before and yet there are still franchises that insist on doing it. Why should anyone who doesn't go to church be charged more than those who go and bring in a program? Also, incase you're going to argue that one should just walk into a church and take a bulletin, why should I have to turn myself into a hypocrite just to snag a bulletin and get the discount? What's next? If a person is in a wheelchair and can't walk to the salad bar, should they be denied the ability to order the all you can eat salad bar? Should you be charged more if you're wearing a yellow shirt and not a green one? Should someone be denied service because they speak with an accent or work for the local competition?

Regardless of your political standing, it is discrimination.

Mr. Wagg is not trying to tear down anything besides an injustice done to those who prefer to find their own God and not end up a pew potato.

No it's not discrimination, just good marketing

It is no more discriminatory than local discounts, student discounts, or military discounts, all of which have survived for years. In the South everyone goes to eat after church. The manager is simply being competitive with the other restaurants they compete against locally.


Actually, if they want to have a St. Patrick's Day special and offer a discount to those wearing green (for an ethnic Roman Catholic holiday, BTW), they can. I see that kind of thing all the time, and nobody complains about that. They're not denying service to anyone.

For that matter, they're not discriminating. If an atheist brought in a flyer from her ethical society meeting, I'd be willing to bet she'd get the discount. If they denied *that*, I might argue discrimination.