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Denny’s doubles down on employees with career training program

Denny’s launched an extensive training and development program focused on education and career advancement.
Denny’s launched an extensive training and development program focused on education and career advancement.

Denny’s is investing in one of its biggest assets — its workforce.

The casual dining chain is launching an extensive career development program for employees and aspiring restaurant industry professionals. Called the GAIN program, this intensive three-year training and development program provides associates — regardless of their education level — with opportunities for education and career advancement. Specifically, GAIN will provide services for GED accreditation, college credit for learning, life skills and career pathways for high school students.

"Denny's is helping to create opportunities that may have otherwise been out of reach for our team members," said Denny's CEO Kelli Valade. "GAIN is the embodiment of Denny's purpose, and I can't wait to see how this program helps transform lives.”

The Curriculum 

Knowing the work place is paramount for gaining life experiences, Denny’s GAIN program will feature classes that teach life skills, including personal finance, technology, conflict management and communications. Some classes may be eligible to transfer into college credits. 

Additionally, Denny’s is partnering with GEDWorks, an official GED program features a flexible technology platform designed for employers that want to assist their employees in earning their GED degree. The program is free to interested workers. 

Denny’s is also offering career pathways for high schoolers. This opportunity enables students to gain employment, learn and grow within the hospitality industry, and develop a long-term career path.

"We know creating these opportunities for our team members fosters success, not only for their immediate family but across generations and communities," said Fasika Melaku, Denny's VP of human resources and chief learning officer. "GAIN will help propel Denny's team members and young people across the country on their journey to becoming future leaders.”

The GAIN program is one of many major investments the casual dining chain has made this year. In March, Denny’s announced it was investing more than $25 million to upgrade and improve its kitchen equipment as part of an omnichannel brand refresh.  Called "It's Diner Time,” the effort is designed to drive the development of new and improved food offerings, while increasing efficiency and reducing food waste. 

In April, Denny’s announced it was adopting a new rewards management and marketing platform to drive more customer engagement and maintain loyalty. Denny’s is leveraging the software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based solution’s point-of-sale middleware, digital wallet, and customer relationship management (CRM) applications.

Denny’s also introduced a new menu, which also features a custom augmented reality (AR) experience. By scanning a QR code with their smartphone, customers can access AR functionality which supports a virtual, interactive tour of each page on the new menu. The AR experience also includes access to exclusive deals and insight into Denny’s and its 70-year history.

Denny's operates 1,594 franchised, licensed and company restaurants, which includes 161 locations in Canada, Costa Rica, Curacao, El Salvador, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

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