Denny’s announced Tuesday that it’s opened 80 percent of its U.S. dining rooms as same-store sales improve to a decline of 40 percent.
As of June 10, 1,234 out of 1,548 domestic dining rooms are open. Of that amount, 56 percent were limited to 50-60 percent capacity, 2 percent were restricted to 25-33 percent capacity, and 42 percent were adhering to social distancing guidelines. Ninety-three domestic franchises are temporarily closed, meaning roughly 94 percent of U.S. restaurants are open. As few as 67 percent of U.S. restaurants were open in mid-April.
Here’s how domestic comp sales and dining room openings trended in Q2:
- Week ended April 1: –79 percent
- Week ended April 8: –78 percent
- Week ended April 15: –76 percent
- Week ended April 22: –72 percent
- Week ended April 29: –72 percent; 11 open dining rooms
- Week ended May 6: –68 percent; 339 open dining rooms
- Week ended May 13: –63 percent; 521 open dining rooms
- Week ended May 20: –60 percent; 646 open dining rooms
- Week ended May 27: –55 percent; 967 open dining rooms
- Week ended June 3: –47 percent; 1,116 open dining rooms
- Week ended June 10: –40 percent; 1,234 open dining rooms
Off-premises sales more than doubled between February and April (about 12 percent to 25 percent), driven by waived delivery fees (89 percent are active with delivery), curbside pickup programs, and family meals packs.
The company said stores have maintained more than 90 percent of that increase in June. Sixty-three percent of off-premises orders are breakfast items and more than 60 percent of online orders come from guests between 18 and 44 years old.
Here’s a look at weekly average domestic sales during Q2:
Week ended April 1
- Off-premises: $7,400
Week ended April 8
- Off-premises: $7,500
Week ended April 15
- Off-premises: $8,500
Week ended April 22
- Off-premises: $10,000
Week ended April 29
- Off-premises: $9,700
Week ended May 6
- Off-premises: $9,600
- Dine-in: $1,500
Week ended May 13
- Off-premises: $10,300
- Dine-in: $3,300
Week ended May 20
- Off-premises: $8,800
- Dine-in: $5,200
Week ended May 27
- Off-premises: $8,300
- Dine-in: $8,100
Week ended June 3
- Off-premises: $7,700
- Dine-in: $10,400
Week ended June 10
- Off-premises: $7,200
- Dine-in: $13,300
To assist franchisees, the chain agreed to a one-time $3 million royalty abatement in Q2. It’s also provided rent relief where it owns property and secured rent relief for more than 77 percent of stores where it’s a lessee, including instances when the company subleases to franchisees. Roughly 99 percent of U.S. franchise restaurants have received or were approved for a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Same-store sales grew 2 percent through January and February, but dropped 19.4 percent in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Denny’s finished Q1 down 6.3 percent systemwide. That includes a 9.4 percent decline at corporate units and a 6 percent slip at franchises. First-quarter revenue dropped from $151.4 million in 2019 to $96.7 million this year.
To improve financial flexibility, the company previously furloughed more than 25 percent of the corporate office. Later, Denny’s permanently laid off half of those furloughed workers. The chain also significantly reduced restaurant staffing and reduced compensation for management and the board of directors.