SPARTANBURG S.C. More than 230 of Denny's restaurant managers have learned to think like owners and business leaders after attending week-long training programs at Denny’s University, the family-dining chain said Wednesday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school.
Denny's employees come from around the country to attend the leadership training courses geared for restaurant managers and general managers. The school is located on the 16th floor of Denny's support center in downtown Spartanburg.
"We have students that come here who in some cases have worked for our organization sometimes for 20 or 30 years and they’ve never seen the corporate headquarters," said Janis Emplit, Denny's chief operation officer. "There’s a tremendous amount of value for them to come to meet the people that support them, see the test kitchen and meet our executive chef and CEO."
As students of Denny’s University, the managers learn how to resolve issues and practice goal setting for themselves, their restaurant staff and their restaurants, Denny's said. During the week, managers are tested daily and given homework assignments to reinforce what they learned in the classroom. They are required to pass a final exam to graduate and receive a diploma from the university.
“When our graduates walk across the stage and receive their diploma, you can sense that they have done something special,” said Nelson Marchioli, president and chief executive of the 1,538-unit Denny's. “You can sense that they know they are capable of delivering more than they ever thought before.”
Other restaurant chains have created training centers for their employees. McDonald's founded its Hamburger University in 1961 in the basement of one of its restaurants with a class of 14 people, according to the chain. Today, more than 5,000 employees each year attend classes at the 130,000-square-foot training center near McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill.