Of course, Dairy Queen is not the only brand forced by events to cancel its free food festivities. IHOP, as Thrillist reported last week, canceled its free pancake day for similar reasons. However, if you sign up for MyHop rewards, IHOP’s rewards program, you will receive a coupon for a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to use in April. This, hopefully, would ensure that people get the benefits of the promotion over a spaced time frame, allowing the store to operate and the pandemic to not spread.
Similarly, in July 2020, USA Today noted that though 7-Eleven had to cancel its annual Free Slurpee day that celebrates the brand’s founding, they still managed to digitally distribute coupons for a free medium-sized Slurpee. “The personalized offer is redeemable the entire month of July, allowing customers the opportunity to treat themselves when it’s convenient for them, while helping us practice physical distancing in stores,” they explained.
With examples like these, the complaints that Dairy Queen simply canceled their annual Free Cone Day take on a more understandable dimension, if still a tad emotional. Certainly, the company should put the health of its workers and the public first, but they also lost PR ground to competitors by not being more flexible in their cancellation.