Denny’s Corp. sold nine more restaurants to franchisees in the fourth quarter ended Dec.25 and “substantially completed its refranchising strategy,” company CEO John Miller said Tuesday.
For the full year, the 1,703-unit Spartanburg, S.C.-based family-dining brand sold 105 restaurants to franchisees, the company said in releasing fourth-quarter earnings. The company had earlier targeted the refranchising of between 115 and 125 restaurants for the entire program, and it has sold 113 of those.
“As we look ahead, we will continue our efforts to upgrade the quality of our real estate portfolio and execute on our commitment of being the world's largest, most admired, and beloved family of local restaurants,” Miller said in a statement.
“This focus, along with the substantial completion of our refranchising strategy, should result in a higher quality, more asset-light business model and the sustainable creation of additional stakeholder value in the coming years,” Miller said.
As announced in January, Denny’s domestic systemwide same-store sales increased 1.7% in the fourth quarter, including a 0.5% increase at company restaurants and a 1.8% increase at domestic franchised restaurants.
For the fourth quarter, Denny’s said net income rose to $117.4 million, or $1.90 a share, from $43.7 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same period last year. With the refranchising, revenues were $541.4 million in the quarter, compared to $630.2 million in the prior-year period.
Denny’s Corp. last week promoted Mark Wolfinger, formerly chief financial officer, to president of the brand, assuming some of CEO John Miller’s duties.
Other leadership changes included naming Robert Verostek as chief financial officer, to succeed Wolfinger, and John Dillon as executive vice president and chief brand officer.
As of Dec. 25, Denny’s had 1,703 franchised, licensed and company family-dining restaurants around the world, including 144 abroad.
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