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Denny’s international expansion continues with first Guatemala unit

Locations outside U.S. grow to more than 7% of brand’s portfolio

Denny’s Corp. has expanded to Guatemala, its 13th country, the company said Monday. This comes after announcing in October its first European location.

The new restaurant, which opened Nov. 17, is located on Liberacion Boulevard in Guatemala City, near La Aura Airport.

The move brings the South Carolina-based brand a bit closer to its goal of becoming what CEO John Miller described in a statement as the world’s largest network of restaurants.

Denny’s international stable of stores now make up about 7.3 percent of its 1,725-location network, an increase from approximately 6.9 percent of the portfolio the same time last year, though the brand lost three restaurants over the 12-month stretch.

Miller said in a recent interview with NRN that the international growth reflects the brand’s confidence in the strength of the supply chain it has built. He also credited the restaurant’s sixth consecutive year of positive growth with allowing Denny’s to get back on track and make international expansion possible.

To own and operate the first Guatemalan location, Denny’s chose a franchise partner with experience in Central America. Led by Roberto Larach, Comidas Especializadas S. de R.L. currently operates five Denny’s restaurants in Honduras and one in El Salvador. It also operates 75 Yum Brands Inc. locations in Honduras with 60 Pizza Huts and 15 KFC restaurants.

In a statement, Larach said that his company is drawn to Denny’s “great menu and business model” and that Guatemala is the “natural next step” for the brand in Central America.

“Denny’s has been very well received by our guests in Central America, at our locations across Honduras and El Salvador,” Steve Dunn, Denny’s chief global development officer, told NRN in an emailed statement. “We have a very strong franchise partner for those locations, who has identified an opportunity to bring the brand to Guatemala for the first time. We believe Denny’s is a great fit for residents and guests here.”

Last month, the family-dining brand entered what Miller described to NRN as “the last frontier,” as the company announced it would be opening its first European restaurant in Swansea, Wales, in the U.K. That location is scheduled to open shortly after Christmas. Nine other restaurants will be opened across the U.K. over the next several years. 

“Our expanding global footprint has attracted new interest from a number of franchisees and we continue to have an active pipeline for growth as we gain momentum beyond North America,” Miller said via a statement announcing the U.K. news last month.

Denny’s international footprint also includes stores in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Guam and Curaçao.

Contact Dan Orlando at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @DanAMX

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