Denny's to convert Flying J Travel Center restaurants

by Bryan Salvage
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – This month, Denny's Corporation will begin converting the restaurant operations of up to 140 Flying J Travel Centers to Denny’s units. Denny's was recently selected as the full-service restaurant operator for Pilot Travel Centers LLC. On June 30, the Federal Trade Commission approved the merger of Pilot and Flying J enabling the agreement with Denny’s to proceed.

Now named Pilot Flying J, the company is North America’s largest retail operator of travel centers. Denny’s expects to have 80 sites converted by year’s end, including 10 sites which will operate as company restaurants. The balance of the conversion opportunities are expected to open as Denny’s in 2011.

On an annualized basis the full potential of conversions are expected to add an estimated 7% to 8% to Denny’s system-wide sales. Denny’s franchisees will convert and operate most of the Flying J locations with the company planning to convert and operate approximately 15 of the restaurants. The capital outlay is expected to be approximately $565,000 per conversion. Existing employees will generally remain in place.

Pilot Flying J is headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., and has more than 550 interstate travel center and travel plaza locations in North America. The company employs more than 20,000 people and is the largest retail operator of travel centers in North America.

Pinnacle Commercial Capital is a specialty commercial finance company, based in Indianapolis, and is focused on providing loan products for the complete range of growth opportunities for owners, franchisees and investors in branded retail businesses.

Denny’s is one of America’s largest full-service family restaurant chains, consisting of 1,322 franchised and licensed units and 237 company-owned units, with operations in the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Guam, Mexico, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.
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