Setting the Brand Standard
A passionate marketer and president, John Dillon is driven by the psychology of consumer-brand relationships and dedicated to making a positive impact on people’s lives.
By Justin Walker
John Dillon, BBA ’93
John Dillon loves the psychology behind the consumer-brand relationship, and that passion has served him well in his career.
“I am attracted to what makes people and brands tick,” Dillon said. “I find it fascinating how you connect the dots between brands and consumers.”
Dillon’s interest began while attending Baylor University. Originally a Pre-Law student, he switched to Business after his freshman year. While in the Business School, he caught the marketing bug, as he describes it. That led him to earn his bachelor’s in Marketing and Quantitative Business Analytics in 1993.
While he didn’t find a marketing job right out of college, he eventually landed the marketing coordinator role at a field office for Pizza Hut in 1995. Over the next 10 years, Dillon moved his way up through the organization. After a two-year stint as chief marketing officer of the Houston Rockets, Dillon joined the Marketing and Insights team at Denny’s in 2007.
Over the past 16 years, Dillon’s career advanced within Denny’s, revitalizing the now 70-year-old brand as both chief marketing officer and chief brand officer before being named president in September 2022.
Something about bringing people together, especially over food, warms Dillon’s heart. Fortunately, his job allows him to do just that.
As president, Dillon oversees the full operations, including human resources, training, finance and marketing for more than 1,600 Denny’s restaurants in 14 countries. His mind is constantly moving, working with his team to find solutions to provide a better experience for customers, employees and franchisees.
“My role is to make them all happy,” he said. “I want the customers to have the best experience possible and the franchisees to have as much profit as possible while motivating and attracting the best team members out there.”
It’s not just about good business decisions for Dillon. He appreciates the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives—for the restaurants, his team and the community.
“I enjoy giving back and shaping people’s lives professionally and personally,” he said. “That is what is most rewarding at this point.”
Dillon’s passion for helping others has led him to serve at the Hankamer School of Business (HSB). He is currently on the HSB Dean’s Advisory Board and serves on the Women in Leadership Advisory Council. As the father of three girls—including two current Baylor students—he and his wife, Elisha, have also started and endowed a fund supporting Women in Business initiatives.
“Baylor had such an impact on shaping my life,” Dillon said. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to give back to students and grow careers of professionals after their college experience.”