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Denny's 1st-Q comps dip despite check increase

SPARTANBURG S.C. Denny’s Corp. reported a 0.4-percent drop in its systemwide same-store sales for the first quarter ended March 26, as declining guest traffic offset the chain’s increased average check.

Denny’s operates and franchises the largest family-dining system, with 373 corporate locations and 1,177 franchised units.

First-quarter same-store sales increased 0.7 percent at corporate restaurants, the company reported. The result reflected a 4.7-percent year-to-year decline in guest counts and a 5.7-percent year-to-year jump in guest check averages. Franchised Denny’s restaurants reported a same-store sales decrease of 0.9 percent.

During the quarter, Denny’s opened one new corporate restaurant and sold 21 units to franchisees, while franchisees opened nine restaurants and closed five locations, the company reported.

Denny’s is in the middle of a corporate restructuring that has included aggressive refranchising of corporate stores, divestures of real estate assets and staff layoffs or reorganizations. It also has introduced a new marketing campaign attacking quick-service dominance in the breakfast day part by promoting Denny’s “Real Breakfast” offerings.

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