- Denny's plans to hire 10,000 restaurant-level employees at its company- and franchise-owned restaurants in the U.S. by the end of 2020, according to a press release.
- The casual dining chain is hiring restaurant managers, cooks, servers and hosts, among other positions.
- As of June 10, Denny's reopened 1,234 dining rooms and same-store sales reached a negative 40%, according to an SEC filing. Comparatively, same-store sales were down 79% during the week ending April 1 when all dining rooms were closed.
Denny's is among the first casual dining chains to announce hiring plans for new employees, suggesting the company has an optimistic view of its future, especially with same-store sales improving.
"With more and more of our restaurants reopening, Denny's is poised for growth," John Miller, Denny's CEO, said in the press release.
Previously, Denny's had to furlough 25% of its corporate staff, reduce staffing in company units, and cut director and executive compensation in May following a 76% reduction in same-store sales in April. One of Denny's franchisees closed 15 restaurants in New York in May due to the pandemic, laying off 683 employees.
Denny's hiring could also help support its growing off-premise sales, which doubled between February and April, helped by temporary delivery fee waivers, a new curbside service and the launch of shareable family meal packs, according to an SEC filing. Even when dining rooms started to reopen, its restaurants retained over 90% of this increase in off-premise sales as of June 10 compared to April.
With unemployment at 11.1% as of the end of June, there are also many more potential employees with restaurant experience looking for positions. Pre-COVID-19, restaurant chains were dealing with historically low unemployment and facing labor shortages.
Restaurants have ramped up hiring and re-hiring efforts, adding 1.5 million jobs during the month with chains like McDonald’s, Panda Express, Subway, Taco Bell and Dunkin' announcing plans to hire thousands of employees in the coming months.
At the same time, hiring efforts could be stifled by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, which has led several states to re-close dining rooms, reduce dining room capacity or slow down reopenings.