bodies, minds and souls
Denny's is America's Diner, a place shaped by a simple philosophy: We Love to Feed People™. This is our purpose, what drives us, and it serves as the resounding rallying cry throughout the Denny's organization—from team members in-restaurant to those working in our corporate office. Denny's isn't just a place to feed people's appetites—we feed our guests' lives by providing a place to share great conversations, a chance to get together with family and friends, and a place that feeds the body and spirit of anyone who comes through our front doors.
Feeding People's Bodies, Minds and Souls is what we do by looking at five major areas: Family and Community, Food, Diversity, Our People and the Environment.
Family and community
Denny's is more than just a restaurant: it's a home away from home where we treat everyone like family. We are at the center of communities, giving back to local and national organizations that impact children and families. This includes partnerships with No Kid Hungry and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and our Mobile Relief Diner that serves warm meals and caring smiles to those in need.
No Kid Hungry®
We love to feed people, so it is hard for Denny's team members to imagine kids not getting enough food to eat each day. To truly make an impact, Denny's partnered with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry program to make ending childhood hunger one of our main philanthropic causes. Today, one of four children face going hungry due to the Coronavirus. Every September, Denny's locations across America participate in Share Our Strength's Dine Out For No Kid Hungry®, a national fundraising event that brings together thousands of restaurants and millions of diners to help make sure that no child in America grows up hungry. Since 2011, Denny's has helped connect hungry children with over 90 million meals.
Mobile Relief Diner
Denny's is committed to feeding people during times of need. The Mobile Relief Diner is a 53-foot mobile kitchen that allows us to quickly travel to feed those suffering in the wake of national disasters and emergencies as well as others who might need a helping hand.
With each deployment, the Denny's Mobile Relief Diner visits local communities in need to offer a free, freshly cooked pancake breakfast with bacon, coffee and water to local residents, first responders and others. It's our way of offering a small piece of comfort when communities need it most. In the last three years, the Denny's Mobile Relief Diner has served nearly 40,000 meals to those in need.
In 2020/2021, we broadened our use of the Mobile Relief Diner to serve free, hot meals to U.S. veterans, who have been inordinately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, we've taken the MRD on the road to serve front line workers throughout LA county.
To learn more and stay updated on the current location of the Mobile Relief Diner, follow us on Twitter (@DennysMRD).
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital®
Denny's is proud to announce its new national partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to raise awareness and provide financial support toward cures for childhood cancers and sickle cell disease. Denny's is making a donation with every kid's entrée purchased from the new Kids Menu, which features original artwork by current St. Jude patients. Through our partnership with St. Jude, Denny's is committed to raising more than $1 million for much-needed childhood cancer research.
Local Community Outreach
Denny's and its franchisees support numerous charities in their local markets to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve. At its corporate headquarters in Spartanburg, SC, Denny's has donated more than $1.7 million over the past eight years to the United Way of the Upstate.
Corporate employees also volunteer and have helped fund the construction of 10 Habitat for Humanity homes since 2008.
Denny's franchisees are empowered to make a positive difference in their own communities. Our franchisees have partnered with numerous schools, religious and youth-related organizations to donate their team's time, food and funds for organizations, including Cookies for Kids Cancer, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lost in the Line of Duty, Ella's Tea Party and the San Antonio Fiesta Medal Festival.
Denny's loves to feed people! Our guests can feel great about the food we serve in our restaurants, deliver to their homes, or provide through convenient curbside pick-up. We are committed to serving quality food, without sacrificing flair or value, sourcing as much beef, pork, chicken and eggs as possible from suppliers that follow our humane animal welfare practices. We ensure our food and ingredients are safe and pay attention to any food concerns that matter most to our guests.
As America's Diner, we love to feed all people during good times and bad. To ensure we can continue feeding America, we've taken steps in support of our teams and guests. From bolstering our sanitation and social distancing protocols to transitioning to free contactless delivery and pick up services, we are diligently working to safeguard our employees, guests and communities.
While our strong routine food safety and cleaning standards have always met or surpassed all guidelines, our sanitation procedures have been enhanced to include:
- Masks worn by team members
- Removal of multi-touch items from the tables
- Daily temperature checks of all employees
- Social distancing throughout the restaurant
- A trained Sanitation Specialist who cleans every chair, table, highchair, menu and condiment container after every guest
- Disposable menus available upon request
- Washing of team members' hands every 20 minutes with soap and water followed by alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Animal Welfare and Sustainable Products
Denny's has been committed to quality food and a true diner experience for more than 60 years.
We source beef, pork, chicken and eggs from suppliers that follow our humane animal welfare policies, as well as source sustainable products like our wild-caught Alaska Salmon. As an industry leader, Denny's eliminated all food dyes from its menu items in response to medical research linking yellow, red and blue dyes to ADHD in children.
While we still have areas to improve, animal welfare remains an important part of our brand's sourcing strategy and we are proud to support the following initiatives:
In 2016, Denny's proudly announced its pledge to source and serve 100 percent cage-free eggs in all U.S. restaurants by 2026. We've been committed to quality food and a true diner experience for over 60 years and this is just another way of honoring that commitment.
We continue to emphasize our purchase preference with suppliers who use polled breeding stock versus the practice of dehorning cattle.
Since 2012, our goal has been to source our pork from suppliers that do not use gestation crates for the housing of sows.
Since 2011, we have been using suppliers that practice the most humane slaughter method (CAK) and have proudly received recognition from PETA for our commitment.
Denny's understands the issues surrounding the welfare of broilers in the supply chain and stands in support of the humane treatment of animals. Denny's has been a longtime proponent of humane stunning methodologies for all agricultural animals, including but not limited to chickens. In addition, Denny's goal is to accomplish the following for our supply chain by 2024:
- Reduce stocking density to a maximum of 6 lbs./sq. foot and prohibit broiler cages.
- Provide birds enriched environments, including litter, lighting, and enrichment that meets GAP's new standards.
- Process chickens in a manner that avoids pre-stun handling and instead utilizes a multi-step, controlled atmosphere processing system that induces an irreversible stun.
- Demonstrate compliance with the above standards via third party auditing.
And by 2026:
- Transition to strains of birds that demonstrate higher welfare outcomes that meet the criteria of the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol or Global Animal Partnership (GAP).
Sustainable supply chain
At Denny's, we work with supply chain partners as invested as we are in reducing their environmental impact. Smithfield Foods, Inc., our pork products supplier, is capturing methane from hog farms (pig waste) and converting it into clean, renewable energy that can be used to heat homes, power businesses and fuel vehicles, such as their trucks.
Our vendor procurement program is rigorous with vendors having to meet or exceed all food safety standards. At Denny's, one of our top priorities is working in partnership with our suppliers to promote the best responsible sourcing.
Diversity, Equality & Inclusion
We have a culture that embraces openness for all people, ideas and perspectives. Denny's commitment to diversity starts at the highest levels with our board and franchisees and is carried through our team of cooks, servers, hosts, managers and suppliers. At Denny's, our commitment to diversity does not end here: we are invested in young people and in creating education and scholarship opportunities for diverse and disadvantaged students.
By the numbers
We strive for our Denny's team to be as diverse and inclusive as the guests we serve every day.
CEO action for diversity and inclusion
This initiative is the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. With more than 750 CEOs from the world's leading companies committed to advancing diversity, equality and inclusion within the workplace, the CEO-led action will help continue to cultivate more inclusive workplaces and drive meaningful change. Denny's CEO, John Miller, pledged his support of the initiative in July 2017, ensuring the brand's diversity and inclusion efforts are an ongoing focus throughout the organization.
Alliance for inclusive and multicultural marketing (AIMM)
AIMM's mission is to reverse the downward trend of multicultural and inclusive marketing by empowering the industry to accurately portray cultural diversity and richness in today's marketing efforts. In October 2020, Denny's Chief Brand Officer John Dillon was appointed as Co-Chair of the organization after years of active membership. In his role, John champions diversity and representation in advertising and marketing, driving adoption of AIMM's standards across the industry and within Denny's.
Discrimination based on protected status is illegal and it goes against everything Denny's stands for. That means we don't discriminate against team members, guests, applicants or business partners based on characteristics like color, sex, pregnancy status, gender, religion or religious creed, age, medical condition or disability, sexual orientation or any other characteristics protected by applicable laws.
Holding ourselves accountable
We hold ourselves accountable to embodying diversity across the organization. Starting in 2021, all open positions, including those resulting from turnover, retirements or promotions, have a target of 50% minority staffing for manager level positions and below and 40% for director level positions and above.
Since 1993, Denny's has spent more than $2 billion with diverse and disadvantaged businesses. For the last ten years, at least 10% of our supplier contracts (in dollar terms) have gone to diverse and disadvantaged suppliers. Denny's continues to identify diverse and disadvantaged businesses through organizational partners and community outreach.
Hungry for Education Scholarship Program
Denny's has a long history of impacting the communities we serve by giving back, supporting and participating in efforts that celebrate, promote and embrace the cultural diversity of our employees and guests. Launched in 2011, the Hungry for Education Scholarship program has awarded almost 500 scholarships worth more than $1 million to deserving elementary, high school and college students across the country. The annual program asks students to submit essays on how they can help fight childhood hunger in their communities. One deserving student is selected by Denny's to have his or her idea put into action in their community. Denny's identified strategic partners to help award scholarships and to impact the lives of the high-need students across the country.
Sponsorships & Partnerships
Denny's aims to be a leader in multicultural innovation. Our holistic, 360-degree strategic plan includes the sponsorship of cultural events—from music to film to television to awards shows —celebrating the full, multicultural tapestry of American life and arts like the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage and BETX Live!
Education, Awareness & Insight
Denny's employees annually participate in various cultural celebrations for the purpose of functional team building, organizational partnership and community engagement.
- Black History Month
- Women's History Month
- LGBTQ+ Education and Awareness
- Hispanic Heritage Month
- Disabilities Awareness Month
- Veterans' Day Celebration
Denny's franchisees and team members are at the heart and soul of what we do. We invest in their growth and future, giving them opportunities to reach their full potential. Denny's Breakthrough Leadership program guides our team members to enhance their leadership and people management skills, financial acumen, guest service, inventory management, food preparation and safety skills—all as vitally needed in the restaurant industry as in their daily lives.
At Denny's, we invest in pathways to opportunity through employment, education and training. Our Breakthrough Leadership Training and Development program provides Denny's team members with exclusive access to numerous creative and interactive employee engagement curricula, leadership workshops, simulations, games and mobile learning and educational training videos. This unique program helps develop a wide range of skills, including leadership and people management, financial acumen, guest service, inventory management, food preparation and food safety—skills that help workers successfully operate in the restaurant industry.
Denny's also invests in diversity, equality and inclusion training for our team members and hosts numerous unconscious bias workshops throughout the year.
Tuition Reimbursement Program
Denny's team members are eligible for tuition and education reimbursement. We reimburse 70% of eligible expenses, up to $2,000 per calendar year per eligible employee.
Since 2005, Denny's POWER Fund has helped more than 550 employees and their families, with donations totaling over $750,000. Supported through individual and corporate donations, the POWER Fund is primarily funded through Denny's corporate and franchise employees.
Recently launched, this Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Council will collaborate on initiatives designed to renew our workplace and create business results that will increase and strengthen our brand reputation, guest satisfaction and market share. The council consists of 10 cross-functional members representing various positions throughout the Denny's organization, who serve as ambassadors, bridge builders, data collectors, educators, accountability partners and champions of DEI within the Denny's brand.
Business Resource Leadership Groups
Business Resource leadership groups were established for Denny's corporate employees to provide encouragement and an enhanced sense of belonging through informal mentoring, professional and community events and access to personal and professional development and growth opportunities. Additionally, they help foster a more inclusive work environment, improve communication and trust among employees and enhance understanding of all employees about the value of diversity. In 2021, we aim to support an inclusive culture by engaging at least 20% of our team members in at least one of our seven business resource leadership groups.
OUR COMMITMENT TO HUMAN RIGHTS
Denny's is committed to human rights for all people, and we have a human rights policy in place, including executive sponsorship and an employee training program.
Anti-Human Trafficking Policy
Denny's is committed to a work environment that is free from human trafficking and slavery, which for purposes of this policy includes forced labor and unlawful child labor. Denny's will not tolerate or condone human trafficking or slavery in any part of our global organization.
Human Trafficking, Slavery and Forced Labor
This policy applies to all personnel employed by or engaged to provide services to Denny's, including, but not limited to, employees, officers, independent contractors and temporary employees of Denny's (referenced in this policy as “employees”).
Every employee is responsible for reading, understanding and complying with this policy. Denny's managers are responsible for ensuring that employees who report to them, directly or indirectly, comply with this policy and complete any certification or training required of them. If you have any questions or concerns related to this policy, please consult the Denny's Legal Department or Human Resources Department.
Report any conduct that you believe to be a violation of this policy to the Denny's Legal Department or Human Resources Department. Reports may also be made through the Denny's Ethics and Compliance Hotline at (844) 954-3349 or via the internet at the following website: http://dennysmobile.ethicspoint.com/, which allows anonymous reporting as permitted by applicable law.
Denny's will not tolerate retaliation against an employee for reporting a concern in good faith or for cooperating with a compliance investigation, even when no evidence is found to substantiate the report.
Any violation of this policy may be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Denny's has the exclusive right to interpret this policy regarding it's employees.
Violation of the U.S. Government's policy against human trafficking may also result in criminal prosecution of responsible individuals.
Denny's respects international principles of human rights — including, but not limited to, those in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act as amended, the UK Modern Slavery Act of 2015 and the California Supply Chain Transparency Act — and embody these principles and commitments in our corporate policies and our Code of Conduct.
We comply with the employment laws of every country in which we operate and expect those with whom we do business to do the same.
Employee Code of Conduct
Consistent with our Employee Code of Conduct, found in the useful Docs worklet within Workday, employees may not:
- Use or allow the use of any of Denny's facilities, resources or equipment (including Denny's computers and networks) for the viewing, storage, distribution, promotion or other use of materials in which children are depicted as engaging in any sexual act or are otherwise made an object for prurient interests;
- Enter into, on behalf of Denny's, or otherwise, any business relationships or any other arrangement with any organization which the employee has reason to believe participates in any way in human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children; or
- Use or allow the use of images or concepts that sexually exploit children.
Denny's also prohibits employees, subcontractors, subcontractor employees, and agents from engaging in practices relating to trafficking in persons, including:
- Destroying or otherwise denying access to an employee's identity or immigration documents;
- Using misleading or fraudulent practices to recruit employees, such as failing to disclose key terms and conditions of employment;
- Using recruiters that do not comply with local labor laws;
- Charging employees recruitment fees;
- Failing to provide return transportation to certain employees who are brought to a country for the purpose of working on a U.S. Government contract;
- Providing housing that fails to meet host country standards; and
- Failing to provide an employment contract or work document where required by law.
Supplier Code of Conduct
The standards we hold for our suppliers are laid out in our Supplier Code of Conduct [https://www.dennys.com/diversity/suppliers/], which covers our Five Guiding Principles: The Power of We, Proud of our Heritage, Embrace Openness, Guests First and Hungry to Win.
The following information is included in response to applicable legislation requiring certain disclosures from Denny's regarding our actions with respect to human trafficking in our supply chain:
- We conduct a supplier approval process to identify, assess and manage risks associated with suppliers.
- We consider product quality, transaction types, specific products we purchase and the geographic locations from which we source commodities, along with other relevant business and legal criteria.
- We follow the trade laws and applicable laws of countries in which we operate, including restrictions on exports and on doing business with certain people, companies or countries.
- We expect all Suppliers to educate their employees, consultants, agents, representatives and subcontractors about the Supplier Code of Conduct to ensure compliance in connection with work performed for Denny's.
Training and Communication
- We communicate our expectations through training opportunities and educational modules on our company intranet. Employees participate in live and online scenario-based training to illustrate ethical decision-making in daily business activities.
- Posters highlighting key messages from our Code of Conduct are posted throughout our corporate offices and restaurants.
- Employees also have access to an intranet site dedicated to Ethics & Compliance information and resources.
Denny's believes in protecting the environment, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and conserving water resources. That's why we've instituted policies and practices aimed at reducing our environmental impact at the corporate level, the restaurant level and everywhere in between. We have reduced our carbon footprint by investing in ENERGY STAR certified equipment and energy-efficient LED lighting. We conserve water resources by using low-flow plumbing fixtures and water-efficient dipper wells in our kitchens. Our efforts to reduce waste include sustainable packaging and eliminating the use of Styrofoam food containers.
As part of the Heritage Remodel Program, 100% of Denny's corporate restaurants and new greenfield locations are retrofitted with LED fixtures, inside our dining areas and kitchens and outside, which are up to 80% more efficient than fluorescent bulbs and Metal Halide lamps. We reduced our light power consumption by more than 68% at our Spartanburg headquarters when we retrofitted to LED. These LED lighting changes have yielded an estimated 9% average reduction in electricity usage at company-operated restaurants, or approximately 37,000 kWh per restaurant annually, and an estimated 12% reduction in electricity usage at the corporate office, or approximately 550,000 kWh annually. We also install automatic light dimming systems in new restaurants.
Denny's company-operated restaurants started measuring natural gas usage in 2017. On average, these properties have lowered the amount of dekatherms year over year. We used an estimated 1,700 dekatherms of natural gas and 337,000 kWh from non-renewable sources. Our corporate office used an estimated 320 dekatherms of natural gas and 4.1 million kWh of electricity from non-renewable sources solely from the power grid.
In our restaurants, we have implemented a program that allows restaurants to safely shut off costly cook's line “dipper wells” without compromising food safety standards. By shutting off this constant water flow and moving to FMP Server ConserveWell Dipper-wells, which are up to 98% more efficient than standard units, Denny's saves 250K gallons of water per restaurant each year that leads to both less energy use and less wastewater processing.
Additional Energy Saving Best Practices
At Denny's, we are constantly investigating new initiatives that can help reduce our environmental impact even further. We are always evaluating new solutions, including renewable energy sources, biodegradable packaging, efficient waste management and more.
Other energy-saving steps we've taken include:
- Turning off egg burners when not in use - saves on gas and reduces unnecessary heat
- Use of photoelectric sensors on parking lot lights for more efficient use of lighting
- Use of window tinting to decrease heat impact of sunlight and reduce HVAC use
- Installation of high-efficiency HVAC equipment during new construction, which are up to 40% more efficient than standard units, and to replace older equipment as appropriate
- Use of water efficient and alternative landscaping, such as zero-scape and synthetic turf
- Use of waterless hot food wells to save on water and energy use
- Replacing standard urinals with waterless models where appropriate
Denny's has replaced all Styrofoam food packaging with Talc-Filled Polypropylene (TFPP) packaging. Denny's is also currently eliminating the use of Styrofoam cups. The company headquarters estimates it saves about 13 miles worth of cups a year (approximately 9.5K cups).
At our home office, we encourage recycling by having dedicated recycling bins on every floor and dedicated organic and non-organic bins in our test kitchen, while many of our restaurant locations embrace their locally available recycling programs. Our corporate office location works with a regional contractor, Atlas Organics, who recovers approximately 1400 lbs. of organic material each month, while working with ReWorks Recycling to pick up our plastics, aluminum, paper and cardboard waste. Nationally, many of Denny's franchises partner with RiverRoad Waste Solutions who provide waste and recycling services that match the requirements of local municipalities. Additionally, RiverRoad currently assists with cooking oil disposal for several locations.
Our locations do not generate hazardous waste streams. Of our non-hazardous waste, approximately 13.75% by weight is diverted to recycling, with the remainder going to landfills. For a small amount of our locations, RiverRoad also hauls non-hazardous waste to WTE (Waste to Energy) facilities in municipalities where available, reducing additional landfill waste.