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Denny's-same-store-sales-improve-third-quarter-2020.jpg Denny's Corp.
Denny's builds off-premise sales and streamlines its menu in the third quarter.

Denny’s same-store sales improve in Q3 amid COVID-19

Family-dining restaurant brand builds off-premise channels in period, streamlines menu

Denny’s Corp. continued to see same-store sales improve in sequential months as the full-service concept continued to emerge from the deepest COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the company said in a business update.

The Spartanburg, S.C.-based family-dining chain, which released earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 23, said same-store sales were down 26% so far in fourth quarter as compared for the prior-year October period, but that was an improvement over negative same-store sales of 39% in July, 35% in August and 28% in September. Third-quarter domestic same-store sales systemwide were down 33.6%, the company reported.

“Average unit volumes of off-premise sales have increased over 95% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, supported by temporarily waived delivery fees, curbside service programs, and shareable family meal packs,” the company said in its business update.

Temporary closures also improved in the third quarter, declining from 47 in July to 35 in August and 22 in September. As of the end of the quarter, 1,127 unit had dining rooms open and 369 locations were doing off-premise sales only.

“I am encouraged by our sequential sales improvement over the course of the third quarter, despite the continued disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the full-service restaurant industry,” said John Miller, Denny’s CEO, in a statement.

Miller cited enhanced health and safety protocols and more reliance on the Denny's on Demand platform, curbside ordering and outdoor dining.

“During the third quarter, we also launched a new streamlined menu consisting of well-known classic dishes and new seasonal items,” Miller said. “I am confident that Denny's is well-positioned to effectively navigate through the pandemic while preparing for future growth."

In the third quarter ended Sept. 23, Denny’s net income fell 86.8% to $6.5 million, or 10 cents a share, from $49.1 million, or 80 cents a share, in the same prior last year. Revenues fell 42.3%, to $71.6 million, from $124.3 million in the prior-year quarter.

As of Sept. 23, Denny's Corp. operated, licensed and franchised 1,664 restaurants globally. Preliminary results for October indicated 84% of the company’s 1,515 domestic restaurants were open with some capacity restrictions because of the pandemic.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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