History of Denny’s Restaurants



Did you know that the very popular american restaurant Denny’s started off as a donut shop? Wow have they evolved into a totally different restaurant today. 

For those who don’t have on in their area, Denny’s is a restaurant popular especially known for their breakfast items. However they do serve lunch and dinner as well with classic items like burgers, sandwiches, seafood, steak and salads to name a few. One of their most iconic menu items has to be the various Grand Slams. These are breakfast combinations with things like eggs, pancakes, bacon, sausage and potatoes. A far cry from the count shop they started out as! 

Today, Denny’s has over 1,700 locations worldwide and growing. They are very popular in the United States and are known for being always open, having great prices and always offering Denny’s coupons, as well as a great place to have breakfast or a late night meal. 

How It All Started

Two gentlemen by the names of Richard Jezak and Harold Butler were the founders of Denny’s. However the first restaurant was a donut shop called “Danny’s Donuts” and was opened in Lakewood, California back in 1953. 

Co-Founder Harold Butler was known for his saying, “We’re going to serve the best cup of coffee; make the best doughnuts; give the best service; keep everything spotless; offer the best value; and stay open 24 hours a day.” Many of these still apply today including the great coffee, good service and most Denny’s are very well kept up and clean.

Why doughnuts? It seems that Harold Butler, had run a donut shop in Buffalo, New York. When he was a child, he got his start counting buttons to earn extra money for his family. His father had left and he wanted to help his mother support the family. He also ended up selling old doughnuts on the street, which is what lead him to one day owning his own donut shop. He eventually moved to California and spend the first Danny’s Donuts. 

Shortly after opening the store started to change and offer more than just donuts. The menu added items like sandwiches, breakfast and other different entrees. By 1959, a few years after opening the original Danny’s Donuts they had expanded to 20 restaurants in California. However they were often being confused by some customers with another local chain called “Coffee Dan’s”. So that year the decision was made to change the name and Denny’s was born. 

They started franchising the Denny’s Restaurants in 1963 and were listed on the American Coast Stock Exchange just three years later. By 1967 they started building internationally opening a restaurant in Mexico. From there expansion really exploded and by 2015 they have over 1,700 locations. 

History of The Grand Slam

The Grand Slam first hit the Denny’s menu back in 1977, the year this humble writer was born. They were originally introduced in one of their Atlanta, Georgia locations and were a nod to one of the best baseball players of all time. That would be Hank Aaron of course! 


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