Denny's Sued by Former NFL Players' Restaurant Company
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Denny’s Sued by Former NFL Players’ Restaurant Company

(Image: LinkedIn / Donnell Thompson / Screenshot)

Denny’s, Inc., along with its franchisor DFO, LLC, is being sued by RWDT Foods, Inc. co-owned by ex-NFL player, Donnell Thompson, president of the restaurateurs’ company.

RWDT owns two Denny’s franchises, one in Fayetteville, N.C., and the other in North Charleston, S.C.

The complaint, alleging Breach of Contract, was filed in the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Charleston County, S.C. An emergency hearing has been requested to provide a temporary restraining order to allay action on the part of the defendant(s) to cancel any interference with the Plaintiffs continuing to run their business as usual.

“Denny’s has a long history of misconduct and countless corporate lawsuits. Our clients are just not tolerating it anymore after years of trying to comply with countless unreasonable demands,” said Attorney James L. Walker, Jr., based in Atlanta (@jameswalkerjresq), lead counsel on the case with Attorney Clarence Davis of South Carolina.

The Plaintiffs were notified in October, 2021 of an alleged infraction of training required by the franchisor prior to the franchise’s opening in 2012. Rather than challenging the alleged default, the Plaintiffs have made every effort to cure the alleged infraction immediately, only to be thwarted by Denny’s corporate office on numerous occasions.

“I have met with Denny’s Board Chairwoman Brenda J. Lauderback and I am very disappointed that we had to ultimately sue them,” said Thompson, a very successful businessman.

“They are not only ruining our financial standing, but they are jeopardizing our business credibility and reputation. We are also very concerned about people losing jobs due to Denny’s actions.”

Seasoned restaurateurs with over 30 other restaurants in their portfolio, RWDT has never had any infractions in their very successful history in the business and has brought a great deal of income to the Denny’s chain and absorbed tremendous costs to remain operational and to keep its 24 or so employees working and continuing their health, disability and workmen’s comp insurance benefits, throughout the Covid-19 and despite the pandemic’s obvious impact—with no help whatsoever from the franchisor.

Denny’s, on the other hand, is the serial subject of lawsuits, many citing racial discrimination at restaurants throughout the country. One class action suit alone garnered $54 million for its participants.

“Our client Donnell Thompson is an African-American, who was required to jump through hoops and hurdles unlike other franchise owners,” said Walker.

“Need I say more?”

Prior to the notification, Thompson was being hailed as the “poster child” of the chain. Media releases indicate that Denny’s made a conscious and active effort to rid themselves of the notoriety of the racist claims cited in numerous lawsuits in which the plaintiffs prevailed. They established a diversity program that was supposed to supersede their negative reputation, however it seems that once they received praise for the turnaround, they reverted to old practices.

The motivation for the inequitable and unlawful treatment of RWDT and its owners provides no explanation, leading to the conclusion that it was a preconceived effort to drive the franchisees out of the brand.


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