The brand has seen nine consecutive years of comp-sale growth.
Denny’s announced Tuesday a realignment of leadership that includes veterans of the brand. Mark Wolfinger was promoted to president, Robert Verostek to CFO, and John Dillon to executive vice president and chief brand officer.
“These key leadership changes represent the culmination of a multi-year planning process,” Brenda Lauderback, Denny’s board chairwoman, said in a statement. “As chief executive officer, John Miller will continue to focus on our brand revitalization initiatives through his strategic and visionary leadership, while Mark Wolfinger will become more involved with broader aspects of daily business operations as president. Given Robert Verostek’s strong financial acumen, his leadership will further strengthen our financial team in his new role of chief financial officer, and John Dillon adding the role of executive vice president and chief brand officer will provide additional leadership on our brand efforts around the globe as we move into the future.”
The announcement comes after CEO John Miller reported at the ICR conference in January that Denny’s achieved its ninth consecutive year of domestic system-wide comp sales growth at 2 percent in fiscal 2019. On a two-year basis, same-store sales are up 2.8 percent, which breaks out to a 3.7 percent increase for corporate stores and 2.6 percent rise for franchised stores. In those nine years, 380 new stores have opened, putting Denny’s at just over 1,700 restaurants total, including international.
In 2019, the brand opened 30 restaurants and closed 36. Domestic comp sales grew 1.7 percent in 4Q, according to preliminary results, including a 0.5 percent increase at company restaurants and 1.8 percent increase at franchised units. Denny's is expected to release quarterly earnings on February 11.
Miller has been CEO and president since joining Denny’s in 2011. Before Denny’s, he held the same titles at Taco Bueno Restaurants and helmed various roles with Brinker International. Miller will continue to lead the strategic direction of the company and remain a member of the board, the company said.
Wolfinger will succeed Miller as president. He’s served as executive vice president and chief administrative officer since April 2008 and CFO since joining Denny’s in 2005. He will also remain on the board.
Verostek has been senior vice president of finance since 2016 and was previously vice president of financial planning & analysis and investor relations. He’s served in various financial leadership roles since joining Denny’s in 1999.
Dillion has been senior vice president and chief brand officer since December 2018 and previously worked as senior vice president and chief marketing officer and vice president of brand and field marketing. He’s served in various marketing leadership roles since joining the company in 2007.