Denny’s Corp. Names Presidents for Denny’s and Keke’s Breakfast Cafe

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John Dillon (left) was promoted to president of Denny's, while David Schmidt (right) was hired as president of Keke's Breakfast Cafe. Courtesy of Denny's Corp.

Following the acquisition of Keke’s Breakfast Cafe last month, Denny’s Corp. has appointed new presidents for Denny’s and Keke’s. John Dillon will head Denny’s as president, while David Schmidt will assume the role for Keke’s.

Dillon most recently served as chief brand officer for Denny’s. His accomplishments include launching the delivery platform Denny’s on Demand, launching two virtual brands and creating successful limited-time offers and brand partnerships, according to the company.

Schmidt joins Keke’s from Red Lobster, where he served as CFO since March. Before that role, he spent over 15 years with Bloomin’ Brands, most recently as CFO. His experience with Bloomin’ Brands also includes serving as president of Bonefish Grill, where he was responsible for developing the long-term growth strategy for the brand, says Denny’s Corp.

“It was a priority for the Denny’s Corp. board of directors and I to identify exceptional leaders to take advantage of the many opportunities in front of us for both Denny’s and Keke’s,” says Denny’s Corp. CEO Kelli Valade in a press release. “John and David have distinguished track records within the restaurant industry and have demonstrated unwavering commitments to delivering exceptional guest experiences. They also are dedicated to talent development, operational rigor and technological transformation, which is exactly what we need as we enter the next phase of our growth for Denny’s and Keke’s.”

Dillon’s appointment is effective Sept. 1, while Schmidt will begin his position on Sept. 12. Both executives will report to Valade. Denny’s says it will begin a search for a new chief marketing officer to succeed Dillon.

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