Denny’s Courts Hotel Partnerships

The diner is looking for franchisees interested in opening locations near or adjacent to hotels.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor, Restaurants
wolfe
Dennys Canada
Denny's is looking to team up with franchisees interested in locations near hotels, such as this Denny's in Canada adjacent to a Sandman Hotel.anada

What is old is new again when it comes to Denny’s partnerships with hoteliers, says EVP and Chief Global Development Officer Steve Dunn.

The restaurant operator and AHOA member is looking for franchisees to open locations adjacent to -- or inside -- hotels. 

“We are now taking a proactive approach,” he said about marketing the strengths of its franchises to hoteliers. Known for its breakfast, “Denny’s is that kind of brand that is a complement to a hotel or motel.”

Sizes of the locations vary.  “We are very flexible. We can build anything 3,200-5,000 square feet. We can use an existing space if they have a full-service restaurant,” he said.

History

“In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, there were as many as 300 Denny’s adjacent to or connect to LaQuinta hotels,” Dunn explained.  “Many exist today.” 

In Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, a remodeled Denny’s, adjacent to Sandman Hotels, is scheduled to re-open Dec. 4. 

Locations near or inside hotels are “something that has been in Denny’s DNA for quite some time,” Dunn explained.  “The joke was that La Quinta meant ‘next to Denny’s’ in Spanish.” (It means "the country villa.") 

Out of its 1,600 locations, 214 of the U.S. Denny's are in or adjacent to hotels/motels, while there are 36 in Canada.  And Japan has about 300 locations, many of which are near or inside hotels. 

Denny’s is leaning into its reputation as America’s (or Canada’s diner) with new branding.  In 2023, the company has been making headlines with key hires and technology investments.

 “Technology is critical to what we do and helps the brand grow and expand,” Dunn said. 

John Dillon was promoted to President in 2022; he was previously Chief Brand Officer.  Recent hires include: 

  • Pankaj Patra as Chief Digital and Technology Officer, previously with Brinker International
  • COO Alex Williams, previously with Starbucks and Outback 
  • CMO Sherri  Landry, formerly with CEC Enterprises

 

Technology 

Denny’s has created gamified rewards with personalized challenges in its mobile app. Its AR menu feature brings the brand to life "through a memorable and mouth-watering journey as part of the dining experience."  Denny's is also leveraging Sparkfly's Offer & Reward Management Platform and added Olo's Marketing and GDP modules.  

Denny’s is known for its Grand Slam, but behind the scenes, the operator has two virtual brands and is currently testing three more in the California market, he said. 

“Virtual brands may be a fit for the franchise depending on the trade area,” Dunn said.  “A location that caters to travelers only may not be the best fit.” 

The off-premises channel is still a vital revenue stream.  When it comes to delivery, there has been a shift towards “more normalcy” after booming demand during the pandemic. These days, “consumers don’t want to pay all the costs associated with delivery” and “to-go orders have gained more strength,” Dunn explained.

X
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds