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Feast American Diners LLC has closed 15 restaurants in New York state.

Denny’s franchisee Feast American Diners closes 15 restaurants in New York

Family-dining brand blames coronavirus pandemic's impact for shutterings

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has led a Denny’s franchisee in New York to close 15 restaurants in the central and Finger Lakes areas of the state.

The franchisee, Feast American Diners LLC, filed Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications, or WARN notices, for 15 restaurant closures, citing “unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by COVID-19.

“Due to the severe financial environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, our franchisee in this area has regrettably decided to close these locations,” a Denny’s spokesperson said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

“Denny’s has been working with its franchise owners to assist in helping them through this crisis, but the final decision to close is in the hands of each franchise business owner and their particular circumstances,” the spokesperson for the Spartanburg, S.C.-based family-dining brand said.

In an earnings call earlier in May, John Miller, Denny’s CEO, said the company had been working with franchisees, securing rent relief, deferring remodels and extending royalty and advertising abatements.

 Most of our franchisees are small, locally owned businesses that have actually felt the economic burden of this crisis that’s been caused,” Miller said at the time. “In fact, over 70% of our franchisees operate five or fewer restaurants and we still have 80 franchisees operating a single restaurant.”

During the May 15 earnings call, Miller noted that 82% of domestic franchise restaurants had received funding under the Paycheck Protection Program and another 7% had been approved and were awaiting funding.

In several WARN notices filed last week, Feast American Diners said it was permanently closing units in the communities of Auburn, Camillus, Canandaigua, Cicero, Geneseo, Geneva, Horseheads, Painted Post, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. The locations were first outlined in a report at Business Insider.

For the first quarter ended March 25, Denny’s net income was $9 million, or 16 cents a share, down from $15.5 million, or 24 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenues fell to $96.7 million from $151.4 million in the prior-year quarter.

As of March 25, Denny's had 1,695 franchised, licensed and company restaurants around the world including 147 restaurants in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Honduras, the United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Guam, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Indonesia and Aruba.

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Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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