John Dillon is out as president of Denny's

He "ceased to be an executive officer" as of Tuesday, the company said in a securities filing. But he will serve in a "non-executive" capacity through the remainder of the fiscal year.
John Dillon is leaving as president of Denny's. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Denny’s Corp. has removed John Dillon from his role as president of its namesake diner chain, the dual-brand company revealed Thursday in a securities filing.

His duties have been assumed by corporate CEO Kelli Valade, according to the SEC document.  

The SEC document indicated that Dillon will continue to work for Denny’s in a “non-executive” position for the remainder of fiscal 2023, when he will technically be terminated.

He will continue to draw his base salary until then, and will receive an additional 12 months of pay and benefits after the termination, since it would be without cause at that stage of his tenure.

No reason was given for Dillon’s removal as president. The SEC document bluntly states that Dillon “ceased to be a company executive” as of Monday, with little additional information provided.

He moved into that role after a long tenure in Denny’s marketing department. As head of marketing, he was responsible for such moves as re-formulating Denny’s pancakes.

Dillon moved up to president last August, shortly after Valade joined the company to succeed John Miller as CEO.  Shortly beforehand, the company acquired a second concept, Keke’s Breakfast Café, which was given its own management structure.

Dillon spent a total of more than 16 years with the Denny’s brand.

The diner chain has been striving to reverse a decline in traffic. Same-store sales for the second quarter rose 3%, a low gain compared with the Q2 comp increases posted by other full-service restaurant chains.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Older brands try new tricks in their quest to stay relevant

Reality Check: A number of mature restaurant chains are out to prove that age is just a number.


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


How the shift to counter service has changed Steak n Shake's profitability

The Bottom Line: Sardar Biglari, chairman of the chain’s owner Biglari Holdings, details how the addition of kiosks and counter service has transformed restaurants.


More from our partners