US burger chain Wendy’s is ‘on track’ to begin opening restaurants in the UK in the coming months, with five sites expected to launch before the end of the year.
During a conference call yesterday (3 March), the group’s directors set out a plan to rollout the chain across the country with an aim of eventually reaching 20 company-owned sites.
Multiple locations have already been secured, with the chain also engaging with several potential franchise candidates to build the estate alongside corporate locations.
“We continue to make great progress towards our plan to expand into Europe and remain on track to begin opening restaurants in the UK in the first half of 2021,” said Wendy’s chief executive Todd Penegor.
“We have built a top talent team on the ground, have multiple locations secured and are engaging with several potential franchise candidates to build out this market alongside us.
“International expansion remains critical to growing our Wendy’s footprint, and we believe that we have the plans and the partners in place to make this happen.”
Wendy’s has already confirmed that it plans to launch restaurants in Reading and Oxford in the coming months, marking the group’s first openings in the UK since it pulled out of the market 21 years ago.
It is also exploring additional opportunities in the London area.
The chain previously operated around 10 restaurants across the UK, including high-profile sites on Shaftesbury Avenue – which is now occupied by McDonald’s – and Oxford Circus.
However, it made the decision to leave in 2000, surrendering its leases in order to concentrate on its domestic North American market.
“We’ll get about five company restaurants open in the UK in 2021,” added Penegor.
“We’re actively recruiting franchisees to build out that market along with us. We’ll continue to build company units into 2022 and supplement that with the franchisees that we’re recruiting to grow that market out.
“And that’s a couple of year journey to really start to solidify a good beachhead in the UK to really prove out the model for the broader European business.”
Founded in Ohio in 1969, Wendy’s has more than 6,700 outlets in 30 countries around the world.
By James McAllister
Source: Big Hospitality