Press Release

Denny’s Supports Next Generation Of Culinary And Restaurant Management Talent At 2017 National Prostart Invitational

America’s Diner supports annual competition for high school students studying culinary arts and restaurant management.

For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:

Jillian Hutwagner
Erwin Penland

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (March 21, 2017) – Denny’s recently helped the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation host the 2017 National ProStart Invitational in Charleston, S.C. where 90 high school teams from across the U.S. competed for awards and scholarships.

“As America’s Diner, and one of America’s largest full-service restaurant chains, we have a commitment to support future industry leaders,” said Jill Van Pelt, senior vice president and chief people officer for Denny’s. “We were thrilled to be a sponsor of this year's ProStart event and help recognize these students for their hard work and passion for the culinary arts.”

As a sponsor, a Denny’s chef served as a judge during the competition, which included events focused on culinary skills and restaurant management. Denny’s also hosted a Champions Night where more than 300 students and educators enjoyed dinner and entertainment together as a way to celebrate the students' accomplishments.

Throughout the weekend, Denny’s provided students with insight about a range of career opportunities available with the company and even offered great giveaways like gift certificates, free Original Grand Slam® breakfasts for a year and Denny’s branded bags. Students and participants in this year's competition also had the opportunity to interact with the characters from Denny’s hit animated series, “The Grand Slams.”

“The National ProStart Invitational is one of the country's premier culinary and restaurant management competitions for high school students, so having Denny’s, ‘America’s Diner’, play such a significant role in this year's event was a perfect partnership,” said Gordon Lambourne, vice president of communications for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). “Thanks to the support of Denny’s, this year's event proved to be incredibly successful in showcasing the talents of these students and helping to inspire tomorrow’s industry leaders.”

As part of this year's competition, Denny’s announced a new scholarship opportunity available to junior and senior high school students nationwide. The scholarship will be awarded through Denny’s Hungry for Education (HFE) Scholarship Program, an initiative created to promote education and bring awareness to childhood hunger issues throughout the nation.

Eligible high school students at a junior and senior level are invited to apply to Denny’s Hungry for Education scholarship by submitting an application now through May 31, 2017. Students can learn more and apply by visiting the Hungry for Education site at

About Denny’s Corp.

Denny's Corporation is the franchisor and operator of one of America's largest full-service family restaurant chains, based on the number of restaurants. Denny's has approximately 1,700 franchised, licensed, and company restaurants around the world including 147 restaurants in Canada, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Philippines, New Zealand, Honduras, the United Arab Emirates, Costa Rica, Guam, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Indonesia, and Aruba. For further information on Denny's, including news releases, please visit the Denny's website at or the brand’s social channels via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn or YouTube.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship Project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

About ProStart

ProStart is the NRAEF’s signature culinary and restaurant management educational program that reaches thousands of high school students across the United States, Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific. ProStart is a career and technical education program focused on teaching culinary arts and restaurant management fundamentals through a combination of classroom instruction and work experience. The program reaches nearly 140,000 students annually across 1,800 high schools and career and technical education centers. For more about the program, visit

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