Former Denny's boss takes over store, changes name
Denny's west Auckland is no more.
The Lincoln Rd outlet of the global franchise has closed and has been rebranded the Lincoln Family Restaurant.
West Auckland man Cleitest Fernandez opened the first Denny's sub franchise on Lincoln Rd in 2016, before stepping down from Denny's in June.
As Denny's Family Restaurant's director of operations since 1990, he had spearheaded the franchise's growth from two stores in Auckland to five more across the country.
Fernandez decided to put the famous eatery brand behind him with Lincoln Family Restaurant, located in the same store where Denny's was on Lincoln Rd.
"It's my legacy, I wanted to do something on my own and for my kids," Fernandez said.
The food business, he said, was a tough industry to be in and he was looking forward to focusing on one restaurant instead of seven.
But there won't be any slowing down for the Titirangi man, he's at the Lincoln every day and often steps in to help out, even to wash the dishes.
Fernandez's start in the food industry began as a dishwasher. At 17, while at school, he got his first job washing dishes at a restaurant in Malaysia.
He put himself through college, studying food and beverage, and worked his way up from hotels and restaurants to be a successful businessman.
Fernandez moved to New Zealand in 1987.
"I've done food all my life, my dad wanted me to be lawyer and I tried doing law once but the food business suited me better.
"In my work I've taken care of a lot of people, talked to them, sometimes I talk too much but I love food."
It's this approach that Fernandez promises at Lincoln.
He said he aims to always have time to listen to people's feedback to improve.
"The buck stops with me. I believe that if I don't work hard then people won't work hard so I've to set the example.
"I'm here everyday and I talk to my customers, if there's any trouble I make sure it's fixed straight away."
Fernandez said that while people would be surprised not to find Denny's at Lincoln Rd anymore, the Lincoln would not disappoint them.
The Lincoln is open each day from 7am to midnight.