SPARTANBURG, SC. — Denny’s Corp. announced two recent appointments: John Dillion as president of Denny’s Inc. and David Schmidt as president of Keke’s Breakfast Café.
With over 20 years of restaurant experience, Dillion most recently served as Denny’s chief brand officer. In that position, he delivered greater shareholder value through brand positioning; launched Denny's on Demand, one of the first delivery platforms in the family dining segment; launched two virtual brands, created successful limited time offers and brand partnerships and simplified Denny's menu, among other responsibilities.
"It's a great privilege for me to continue serving Denny’s through such an extraordinary time that I believe will be a period of continued growth and success for our brand, our team and our shareholders," Dillon said. "Denny's position as America's Diner has never been more important, and I'm looking forward to partnering with our dedicated franchisees and teams as we enter into the next stage of revitalization for this iconic brand."
A 30-year restaurant industry veteran, Schmidt has experience in operations, marketing, finance, training and HR leadership. Most recently he served as chief financial officer of Red Lobster and Bloomin' Brands. He has also worked for Bonefish Grill as president, where he built a leadership team that drove sales and traffic based on brand positioning, product quality and increased employee retention.
"I'm excited about the growth opportunities in the quickly evolving AM eatery category and look forward to leveraging my experience alongside the entire Keke's team to bring our shareholders more value by growing the brand beyond Florida and positioning it as the leading franchised AM eatery in the country," Schmidt said.
Both Dillion and Schmidt will report to Denny’s chief executive officer Kelli Valade.
“It was a priority for the Denny's Corp. board of directors and I to identify exceptional leaders to take advantage of the many opportunities in front of us for both Denny's and Keke's,” Valade said. “John and David have distinguished track records within the restaurant industry and have demonstrated unwavering commitments to delivering exceptional guest experiences. They also are dedicated to talent development, operational rigor and technological transformation, which is exactly what we need as we enter the next phase of our growth for Denny's and Keke's. I look forward to working with John and David to take our portfolio of brands forward.”