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The Associated Press July 1, 2010, 8:13AM ET

Denny's to convert 140 Flying J Restaurants

Restaurant chain Denny's Corp. said Thursday it will begin converting the restaurant portions of 140 Flying J Travel Centers to the Denny's brand beginning in July.

Denny's was selected in March by Pilot Travel Centers LLC to provide the restaurant sections of its travel centers. Pilot won Federal Trade Commission approval to acquire rival Flying Jay on Wednesday. The company is now called Pilot Flying J.

Denny's expects to have 80 sites converted by the end of 2010 and the balance in 2011.

The new restaurants are expected to boost sales annually by 7 to 8 percentage points.

Franchisees will convert most of the new locations, and about 15 will be converted and operated by Denny's itself.

Existing employees will generally remain in place, Denny's said.

Separately, Denny's will provide access to $40 million in credit facilities for Denny's franchisees through a program with Pinnacle Commercial Capital.

Pilot Flying J operates 550 interstate travel centers and plazas in North America.

The Denny's restaurant chain includes 237 company-owned units and 1,322 franchised and licensed outlets in the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Guam, Mexico, New Zealand and Puerto Rico.

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