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There are few restaurant chains that are more pleasant to think about than Denny’s. Always open, always no-hassle, always ready to come to your aid with a Grand Slam and a pot of coffee. But we bet that there are some things you didn’t know about this fabled chain.
The precursor to Denny’s, a doughnut shop in Lakewood, California, was opened in 1953 by two men named Harold Butler and Richard Jezak. Butler, who took over the company two years later, stated the burgeoning chain’s mission to be “to serve the best cup of coffee, make the best donuts, give the best service, offer the best value, and stay open 24 hours a day.” The concept eventually morphed from a doughnut shop to a coffee shop, and by 1981 there were more than 1,000 locations around America.
Today it’s a publicly traded company with more than 1,700 locations. There are Denny’s in all 50 states and all over the world; locations can be found in such far-flung locales as Guam, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Curaçao, and Japan (where there are a nearly 600 locations). The chain is also in the process of opening 50 new locations in China over the next several years.
Denny’s has always been best known for its breakfast items (especially the build-your-own Grand Slam), including items like peanut butter cup pancakes; steak and eggs; and the ham, egg, and cheese Moons Over My Hammy breakfast sandwich. They also offer burgers, sandwiches, low-calorie “Fit Fare,” a special menu for seniors, and a “$2 $4 $6 $8” menu with items available for each of those prices. They’ve become a lot more than just a diner over the years, and for the most part they’re pulling it off. Read on for nine things you may not have known about Denny’s.
It Was Called Danny’s For Its First Six Years
The restaurant was called Danny’s Donuts when it first opened in 1953, and when the eighth store opened in 1956, the name was changed to Danny’s Coffee Shops (it also went 24/7 at this time). In order to avoid confusion with a Los Angeles restaurant called Coffee Dan’s, the name was changed to Denny’s Coffee Shops in 1959, and then finally shortened to just Denny’s in 1961.
Many Locations’ Doors Had No Locks
Because all locations are 24/7, many were originally constructed with doors that didn’t have any locks. This caused some trouble on Christmas 1988 when nearly every location closed for the first time ever; many doors simply were unable to lock, and for most of the ones with locks the keys were nowhere to be found.