GLENDALE, AZ–Rex Benjamin is the general manager at the flagship Denny’s location in Glendale. It was a local hotspot back in the day, playing host to drug-fueled orgies and attracting recognizable celebrities like David Lee Roth, Ralph Macchio, Richard Pryor, and Madonna. Denny’s was the toast of the town back in its heyday.
In more recent years, the Phoenix area has become saturated with new Denny’s branches and other diner chains alike. Rex has struggled to maintain relevance in a competitive breakfast market, and attendance has been dwindling. He’s tried everything to attract customers, including a complete remodel, inventing a Grand Slam enchilada, and dollar beer night. There was even an attempt at the Guinness world record for largest blueberry-cinnamon pancake ever created — an effort that fell well short of its goal after somebody forgot to buy more eggs.
Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated things for Rex and his historic Denny’s branch. Even when he made the executive decision to flout lockdown restrictions and keep the restaurant fully open, nobody came. The sharp decline in popularity may have something to do with the rival diner across the street getting a feature on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, or it could be tied to the numerous health code violations and highly-publicized FBI investigations. In any event, Rex maintains certainty that the people are eager to come back to his Denny’s.
“Maybe they don’t know we’re open?” Rex wondered aloud to his staff during their team meeting last week. There was a glint of hope in his eye as the idea gained momentum in his head. “You know how everyone was closing up during the pandemic, and you couldn’t get a table anywhere? Well, maybe everyone assumes we’re still not open for dine-in, even though we never closed for dine-in in the first place.” The rationale sounded unlikely to his staff members, but the hope had Rex glowing for the first time in years, so nobody bothered to refute it. “They don’t know. Those idiot customers just don’t know, so we’ll tell them. I’ll get Madonna on the horn. We’re doing a re-opening.”
The grand re-opening was Saturday morning. Everything was the same, except Rex put up a brand new “now open for dine-in” sign, mirroring the post-pandemic campaign of restaurants that had actually shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s yet to be determined if this move will have any positive effect on business.