- Denny’s is permanently closing 15 stores in New York, laying off 524 workers.
- The closures can be tied to “unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by COVID-19,” according to WARN notices filed by a Denny’s franchisee.
- Denny’s executives said earlier in May that they would not be surprised if more franchisees request to close restaurants permanently, but that the chain is “not at the point right now.”
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Denny’s is permanently shuttering 15 stores in New York amid the coronavirus pandemic, laying off 524 workers.
The closures can be tied to “unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by COVID-19,” according to WARN notices filed in the state of New York.
The shuttered Denny’s locations were operated by the franchisee Feast American Diners. The franchisee operates 230 Denny’s, Jack in the Box, and Corner Bakery Café locations in 10 states.
The addresses of the 15 stores closing in New York are:
- 2890 W. Ridge Road, Rochester, NY
- 911 Jefferson Road, Rochester, NY
- 160 Eastern Blvd., Canandaigua, NY
- 4240 Lakeville Rd, Geneseo, NY
- 813 Canandaigua Rd, Geneva, NY
- 6591 Thompson Road, Syracuse, NY
- 201 Lawrence Road E., Syracuse, NY
- 103 Elwood Davis Road, Syracuse, NY
- 3414 Erie Blvd, Syracuse, NY
- 176 Grant Ave., Auburn, NY
- 5300 W. Genesee St., Camillus, NY
- 7873 Brewerton Rd., Cicero, NY
- 118 Victory Highway, Painted Post, NY
- 950 Chemung St., Horseheads, NY
- 1142 Arsenal Street, Watertown, NY
“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 representative said in a 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.”
Feast American Diners did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment. A representative for Feast American Diners told local news publication CNYCentral that disputes over leasing agreements contributed to some of the closures.
Denny’s said earlier in May that 312 of its locations had been temporarily shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, a figure that accounts for roughly 18% of its nearly 1,700 locations.
In addition to the 15 franchised locations in New York, the company said in a filing that it also permanently closed one company-owned location in the most recent quarter.
CEO John Miller said in a call with investors in May that decisions around reopening will be a “mixed bag,” based on factors including if franchisees can get PPP loans and their debt. Miller predicted that more restaurants will reopen when franchisees can open dining rooms and bring in substantial business from dine-in customers.
“The liquidity played a role and in some of those – and then some are just really sleepy little areas or some are resort areas that went sleepy really fast,” Miller said. “So each has their own varied set of circumstances.”
Denny’s has offered financial support for franchisees including deferrals and abatement of rent, royalties, and advertising fees. CFO Robert Verostek said in the mid-May call with investors that it is too early to tell if the pandemic will ultimately cause more Denny’s locations to close.
“Would it surprise me if closure requests went up? It wouldn’t surprise me,” Verostek said. “But we’re just not at the point right now.”
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