Denny’s started in Lakewood, CA in 1953. What started as a small donut shop has evolved again and again since its conception in 1953. The first Denny’s, as we know it today, didn’t open until 1961. For awhile, Denny’s was considered a pancake/coffee house, but in recent years they have evolved yet again and broadened their menu to include a lot more than just breakfast.
Denny’s has over 1,700 locations and continues to grow and offer excellent food at every hour of the day. Their premium locations near highways and hotels make their customer base an interesting mix between locals who have made Denny’s their favorite spot, and travelers just stopping by for a quick bite.
Many current and former Denny’s employees have the same thing to say about the work environment: it’s fast-paced. If you’re someone who can keep up and enjoys the rush of a busy night, Denny’s may provide the perfect fit for you.
Jobseekers interested in work can apply for jobs at Denny’s careers website. Individual stores post their Denny’s jobs online at this website.
Career opportunities at Denny’s can be broken into three sections: kitchen, service and management.
How old do you have to be to work at Denny’s? The minimum age to work at Denny’s is 16-years-old. However, there are some jobs, such as cook and managers, that require applicants to be at least 18-years-old. Reading the job description on the Denny’s careers website will let you know for certain.
There is little to no prior work experience required for host/hostess, server and dishwasher positions. Many prep cook positions are entry-level for the kitchen, but some locations will require some form of a culinary background. It depends on the management at that particular Denny’s.
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Customer service is a big prerequisite to working as a host or server. As a host, you must be very friendly. Every person who walks in the door must be given a smile and a warm greeting. This sets the initial mood for the customers’ time at Denny’s. Servers have to keep that warm atmosphere going with their service and knowledge of menu items. Remember, many restaurant staff members receive a large amount of their earnings in tips. The best way to receive tips is to provide a quality dining experience for every customer you serve.
The cook and his or her prep must have a tough skin. The prep cook, especially, will have to deal with a lot of unsavory kitchen work and absolutely must be able to take constructive criticism from the cook. It is unavoidable that some dishes will be sent back to the kitchen for various reasons. Having a tough skin allows kitchen the needed ability to bounce back instantly after a misstep.
Management positions require at least two years prior experience in a restaurant manager position (or something comparable). Managers most also complete the Denny’s Management Training Program successfully.
Flexibility is a big component to being hired at Denny’s. Being opened 24-hours means everyone has to take that ugly graveyard shift once and awhile. Holidays? Yes, you might have to work those too. The company does a good job of rewarding employees with flexible schedules. However, applicants with a rigid schedule may want to seek employment elsewhere. Hours may come few and far between if you can’t make the time commitment that Denny’s requires of its workers.
The Denny’s cook will start around $8/hr. The average wage for this position is only a dollar higher. However, seasoned cooks earn as high as $15/hr. This wage may take years of high performance and dedication to reach. Prep cooks and dishwashers will start at minimum wage but also have the opportunity to increase this rate with experience and performance.
Host/hostess positions usually earn minimum wage to start, while newly-hired servers will hover around $5/hr plus their tips. The average wage for a hostess is typically just below $9/hr. Veteran servers can boost their wages close to $6/hr or low $7/hr (again these wages require a couple years experience with the company and are not available to start) plus to tips.
The average salary for a general manager is between $47,000 and $52,000 a year. Secondary managers (assistant managers) make in the mid to high $30,000’s annually. Managers whose restaurant frequently leads the district in sales and customer service surveys may receive bonuses.
Denny’s benefits for all employees include regular and reportedly very fair performance-based raises, flexible scheduling, paid vacations and a discount on all Denny’s meals. Additional benefits such as dental, vision, medical and prescription coverage, disability coverage, accident insurance, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance and flex spending accounts are available to qualified Denny’s employees.
Denny’s Job Descriptions
Jobs that fall under this area are cook, prep cook, and dishwasher.
The cook is the head kitchen employee. He or she is in charge of all main cooking responsibilities. These include manning the oven and grill, chopping meats and vegetables, preparing and plating food, performing quality checks on ingredients and keeping a clean workstation. Cooks learn all of the menu items and recipes, kitchen safety procedures and health standards.
Prep cooks assist the cook in all kitchen duties. This is often considered the entry-level kitchen position, but many restaurants will require you to have at least some culinary experience before applying. Prep cooks do not do any direct cooking. However, they do help prepare ingredients and create some side dishes like salads. Unfortunately, a lot of the kitchen maintenance and cleaning will fall on the hands of the prep cook.
Dishwasher is also entry-level and performs very simple tasks. As the name suggest, the primary responsibility of this position is washing dishes. They are sometimes relied upon to mop and clean the kitchen as well.
Jobs that fall under this category are host/hostess and server.
Not all Denny’s locations have a host or hostess at all hours of the day. Many times your host will be your server or a member of management, but during a dinner rush or at an especially busy Denny’s location, there may be a dedicated host or hostess. The main duties for this position are greeting patrons as they walk through the door and getting them settled in their seat.
Since Denny’s is run using the model of the diner industry, customers pay at the front instead of at the table. Sometimes the host/hostess will be manning the cash register in between seating people. This is the first person people see when they walk into Denny’s. As the host you set initial atmosphere for their entire dining experience.
Denny’s servers have a full menu of tasks. From occasionally having to seat guests, to taking and placing orders, running food, clearing tables, providing great service, and keeping up with the lunch and dinner rush.
Customer service is the key to success for servers. As with most server jobs, a healthy amount of your income is based off tips. There is a direct link between providing good customer service and receiving good tips. The more personable and likeable you are by customers, the more tips you’ll make and the happier (and wealthier) you’ll be.
Manager positions at Denny’s vary from location to location. There is always a general manager who heads the store. Beneath him or her are up to four secondary managers. Sometimes these managers are divided into service managers and kitchen managers. But it depends largely on the size and popularity of the restaurant.
All managers work as a team to make sure the restaurant functions smoothly and abides by all health and food safety standards. Day-to-day operations include maintaining a high level of customer service, monitoring employee performance, filling in where needed and making sure the restaurant is in compliance with all Denny’s policies and implementing company strategies correctly.
General managers will keep in communication with district head(s) on a routine basis and have the added responsibilities of monitoring and completing sales goals.
After submitting your application, feel free to drop by your local Denny’s restaurant to check up on the status of the application. Make sure you make an effort on your appearance before doing so. Think of this opportunity as an introduction before the interview; make the most of it and try and get your name on the minds of management before they even get a chance to interview you. It may just make them take a second look at your application. Asking questions about working at Denny’s expresses an added desire for the job.
Advice For Application Process
Anyone filling out a Denny’s application for a job that receives an hourly wage can access Denny’s job application online, at the careers section of their homepage. You can apply online by searching for job opportunities near your location. Denny’s free application can be completed in six, easy steps that ask basic information questions followed by a short questionnaire.
The careers page can tell eager applicants everything they want to know about how to apply for Denny’s online.
Applicants looking for a position at the management level should submit a resume and cover letter with their online application. Although a cover letter may not be required, it shows an added desire for the position and gives you a chance to sell yourself in writing.
Many Denny’s locations carry a printable applications form in the restaurant if you prefer to submit it that way. There is no printable application for Denny’s available through the website. Again, your appearance is important even if you are just filling out the application. Whether you realize it or not, you are being reviewed by management even while you sit there filling out the direct application.
If you’d like to avoid the likelihood that you’ll be working overnight shifts or a random schedule week to week, America’s Waffle House is a better fit for you. Their hours of operation are a solid 7am – 3pm, providing much more structure in employees’ schedules.
America’s Waffle House would be ideal for someone taking classes at night or looking to work two jobs.
IHOP has a very similar work atmosphere to Denny’s and would be a great substitute for anyone who doesn’t have a local Denny’s restaurant that is hiring. Some IHOP locations are 24-hours but many aren’t. You could find one that isn’t 24-hours and get the same type of work environment without having to occasionally take a graveyard shift.
Shoney’s: See our guide for careers at Shoney’s.
Texas Roadhouse: Texas Roadhouse offers opportunities for both, beginners and experienced roles.
Carrabba’s: Visit the Carrabba’s application.
Mimi’s Cafe: See our guide for careers at Mimi’s Cafe.
Olive Garden: For employment at Olive Garden visit the application page.