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Pierce Takes New Denny's Post

May 21, 1987|BRUCE HOROVITZ

With ambitious expansion plans on the horizon, Denny's Inc., the nation's largest coffee shop chain, has named Donald L. Pierce as president and chief operating officer.

In the newly created position, Pierce, 42, will oversee a number of company divisions, including the La Mirada-based company's Fast Food Restaurant Group, of which he has been president since September, 1986. That division includes the 70-unit El Pollo Loco chain and the 870-unit Winchell's Donut Houses chain.

Vern O. Curtis will remain chairman and chief executive of Denny's.

Denny's, which has 1,170 units nationwide, plans to grow mostly through franchising, adding as many as 100 units annually over the next few years, a company spokesman said. "As the company grows in size, another generation is moving up," he said.

Pierce joined Denny's in 1981 as vice president of finance of Denny's restaurant division. In 1983, when Denny's purchased El Pollo Loco, he was named president of the operation.

Last year, Denny's spun off 58% of its Winchell's unit in a bid to raise cash to reduce Denny's bank debt. And in a move to capitalize on the public's penchant for homemade pies, it reintroduced a 15-year-old company concept, Mother Butler Pies. These are stand-alone units inside the restaurants that sell pies whole or by the slice. Now being test-marketed in Southern California, the company eventually plans to place them in as many as 80% of its units nationwide.

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