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Denny’s on pace with refranchising plans

The casual-dining chain is transitioning to a “low-risk business model,” executives said.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Denny’s, in the midst of a massive refranchising program, has so far sold 10 restaurants to franchisees, with plans to offload about 100 more company-owned units by mid-2020.

As it announced late last year, the 1,700-unit casual-dining chain aims to ultimately become 95% to 97% franchisee-owned to operate under a “lower-risk business model,” Denny’s President and CEO John Miller said during an earnings call with analysts Tuesday.

“The pace of transactions is on schedule with our expectations and we are encouraged by the interest of the franchise community,” Miller said.

The brand reported same-store sales growth of 1.4% for the quarter ended Dec. 26 of last year, including a comps increase of 2.1% at company stores and 1.2% at franchised units.

The chain continues to update its restaurants, with 41 remodels wrapped up in the fourth quarter and plans for 90% of all units to be revamped by the end of the year. Refreshed locations are seeing “mid-single-digit” sales boosts, he said.

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