Denny’s franchisee closes 2 units as lawsuit continues

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Franchisee Donnell Thompson will close his two Denny’s restaurants by Friday as his breach of contract case against the parent company continues, his attorney said Wednesday.

RWDT Foods, of which former NFL player Thompson is president, will close franchise units in Fayetteville, NC, and North Charleston, SC, said James Walker, who is lead counsel in the breach of contract lawsuit filed against the Spartanburg, SC- family-owned restaurant brand based last week in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Charleston County, SC

Walker said: “We have all agreed that employees could work until this weekend, so the units are open until Friday of this week. And, at that point, the breach of contract case continues.

Denny’s had sought to terminate the RWDT franchise agreement for training infractions related to a pre-opening in 2012.

RWDT filed the breach of contract lawsuit last week against Denny’s Corp. and its franchisor DFO LLC.

A Denny’s spokesperson said over the weekend, after the parties agreed on the closures, “Denny’s prioritizes diversity and inclusion at all levels of our organization, and we are proud of the results it has delivered and will continue to deliver, moving forward for our brand.

“Denny’s success is directly tied to the success of all of our franchisees, which is why we are doing everything we can to support them and their operations,” the statement read. “We will always seek to foster a diverse business and look forward to continuing to grow our franchisee community with inclusion as a fundamental principle.”

RWDT, Thompson’s partnership with fellow retired NFL player Ron Wooten, has more than 30 restaurants in its portfolio, including Checkers drive-thru units, the company said. Thompson was a defensive end with the Indianapolis Colts from 1981 to 1991.

Walker said both restaurants were profitable.

As of June 29, Denny’s had 1,631 franchise, licensed and corporate restaurants worldwide, including 154 restaurants outside the United States.

Denny’s in July completed its $82.5 million acquisition of Keke’s Breakfast Café, a 52-unit AM restaurant brand based in Orlando, Florida.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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