in 1953 the restaurant chain now known as Denny’s opened in Lakewood California as a donut stand called Danny’s Donuts. The owner, Harold Butler, began his business with a solid promise: “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.” By 1959, his business had grown to 20 locations when he renamed the chain to Denny’s Restaurants to avoid confusion with another chain, Doughnut Dan’s. With the introduction of a franchising programme, the company grew to 78 restaurants across seven western US states by 1963. Franchising continues to play an important part in Denny’s growth strategy today, as 86 percent of its restaurants are franchisee-owned. In 1981, Denny’s opened its 1,000th restaurant and by 2011 it had over 1,600 restaurants in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Guam, Mexico and New Zealand.