In pursuit of its goal to reduce company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately 5 percent of the total system by the middle of 2016, Wendy’s recently announced that it is planning to sell 500 additional restaurants to franchisees this year.
The company sold 237 company-operated restaurants to franchisees in 2014, including 29 restaurants under its Canadian system optimisation initiative to sell approximately 130 restaurants by the end of the second quarter of 2015.
"Going forward, we intend to buy and sell restaurants opportunistically to act as a catalyst for growth by further strengthening our franchisee base, driving new restaurant development and accelerating Image Activation adoption," said President and Chief Executive Officer Emil Brolick in a statement.
Brolick also said that reducing ownership in company-owned restaurants will result in pretax cash proceeds of approximately USD400 to USD475 million and significantly reduce future capital expenditure requirements.
“We can achieve long-term average annual systemwide same-restaurant sales growth of approximately 2.25 to 3 percent beginning in 2016, along with our system goal for average annual unit sales volumes of USD2 million by 2020,” he added.
As part of its brand transformation, the company also recently announced a plan to reinvest its resources to focus on consumer-facing technology, including a Common Systemwide point-of-sale system.
It installed its POS solution in more than 2,600 restaurants and expects to have all its North America restaurants converted to the system by 2016.
Wendy’s is a member of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a coalition of approximately 40 merchants representing nearly 80 brands, including a number of top retailers and restaurant companies in the United States, dedicated to building a customer- and merchant-friendly mobile commerce solution. Wendy’s expects to begin a pilot test of the MCX mobile wallet solution, CurrentC, in the coming months.
"Platforms such as mobile payment, mobile ordering and loyalty programs are rapidly growing in the retail marketplace and provide potential benefits such as consumer convenience, increased transactions, higher check, faster speed of service and a seamless brand experience," Brolick said.