Image of a Wendy's Franchise Restaurant

In Brief:

      • Wendy’s is one of the pioneer fast-food franchises that has grown into a household name.
      • Owning a Wendy’s franchise means community involvement, working with a globally recognized brand, and becoming the next generation of successful franchisees.
      • The Wendy’s Restaurant each franchisee operates is located at a Quality-approved location, which is identified in the Franchise Agreement.
      • The length of the franchise term begins on the Effective date outlined on the Franchise Agreement and expires 20 years from the opening of the restaurant.

Wendy’s Financial Summary

    • Initial Franchise Fee: $81,000 – $155,000
    • Startup Costs: $2,018,500 – $3,669,000
    • Revenue Range: $432,8983 – $1,548,551
    • Royalty: 4.0%

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Wendy’s is one of the largest, most recognized fast food chains in the world. Their burgers, crispy chicken nuggets, savory sandwiches, fries, and of course, their famous frosties prove that the quality is in the recipe.

Photo by JeepersMedia via Flickr/Creative Commons

Wendy’s History

The first Wendy’s restaurant opened in Columbus, Ohio in November 1969. The company’s founder, Dave Thomas, named the food chain after his daughter and made it his mission to provide customers with delicious, good quality food in a family setting. He opened a second location in the same city, but with a pick-up window, making the fast-food franchise the first to introduce modern drive-thru among their competitors. Soon after creating this innovation, Wendy’s restaurants began popping up more frequently. By 1976, Wendy’s opened 500 franchises in the United States and Canada. Two years later, they reached 1,000 restaurants. By 2001, Wendy’s had over 6,000 locations, and today, the number has grown by almost another 1,000.

“Not Just Different, Deliciously Different”

Franchising with Wendy’s means being a part of an established brand with a proven track record of success. Their core values of creating an establishment with good quality food, a place for family, and a way to bring together a community is what differentiates Wendy’s from its competitors.

As a franchisee of a Wendy’s restaurant, you will be competing with other quick-service restaurants, full-service restaurants, casual dining restaurants, deli sections and in-store cafes, major grocery and specialty stores, and other items that are sold through convenience stores and similar types of businesses. Here are a few reasons you may want to join this franchise:

1. “Next Generation of Franchisees”

Many of the new Wendy’s franchisees will be the front runners of the restaurant chain’s modern re-branding. Wendy’s is experiencing a complete brand transformation through bold, contemporary Image Activation restaurant designs and improved customer service, and owners will help steer the restaurant in this new direction.

2. Community Involvement

Founder Dave Thomas was not only known for launching the popular fast food chain, but he was dedicated to giving back to his community. He started the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption which strives to find loving homes for children in the foster care system.

3. Advertising and Digital Marketing

The Wendy’s National Advertising Program, Inc. (“WNAP”) is the restaurant’s national advertising program designed to enhance the image, reputation, and value of Wendy’s trademarks and trade names and to promote the sale of the fast food establishment’s products in the United States. Franchisees are expected to help build Wendy’s brand, and with an established, highly-followed advertisement, social media platforms and other types of marketing, promoting the restaurant is a simpler task.

4. Strong Corporate Support and Training

Before a prospective franchisee can open a Wendy’s restaurant, they are required to attend and complete (to Quality’s satisfaction) an initial training program. Any other business operators are also required to complete the training program. The length of the initial training program depends on the positions that the trainee will assume. Typically, the program lasts 20-24 weeks, which includes online, classroom, virtual instruction, and on-the-job training. The in-restaurant training is conducted at various certified Wendy’s locations across the country.

5. Non-Traditional Development Structure

Franchisees are expected to be able to open a Wendy’s in almost any location, and this is possible through their non-traditional development strategy. Airports, colleges and universities, hospitals, highway travel plazas, you name it. All of these examples are high-visibility and high-traffic locations that provide easy access to customers. Additionally, these locations are an attractive investment opportunity for franchisees.

FDD Summary

Initial Franchise Fee: $81,000 – $155,000

All new Wendy’s franchisees must sign a Preliminary Letter Agreement and pay a $5,000 Application Fee. Quality conducts a background investigation for all prospective franchisees, guarantors, or any party that will own 5 percent or more in a Wendy’s franchise. A $325 reimbursement is required for each background investigation.

All Wendy’s franchisees (both new and existing) must pay a Technical Assistance Fee of $50,000 for each Wendy’s Restaurant included in the Franchise Agreement. The franchisor is under no obligation to refund this fee under any circumstance.

For those that have never built a Wendy’s Restaurant, they are considered a “First Time Builder,” in which case the Technical Assistance Fee may be cut in half. In order to receive this discounted fee, the prospective franchisee must use Wendy’s Franchise Development Program.

In some limited cases, Quality may charge a Technical Assistance Fee of $25,000 or may wave this fee entirely.

Estimated Initial Investment: $2,018,500 – $3,669,000

This range is Wendy’s best estimate of what the startup costs for a franchisee might be. These numbers depend on expenditures within the investment like real estate, permits, construction and site improvements, training expenses, grand opening advertising, insurance cost, and even more factors. The estimated initial investment when financing is $570,500 to $1,131,000 and for leasing, the range is $323,500 to $643,500.

Name of Fee Low High
Application Fee $5,000
Training Expenses $26,000 $100,000
Initial Technical Assistance Fee $50,000
Real Estate, Permits, Construction of Standard Prototype Restaurant and Site Improvements $24,000 $2,515,000
Equipment, Signage, and Technology $21,000 $600,000
Opening Inventory and Supplies $10,000 $14,000
Additional Funds – 3 months $150,000 $175,000
Grand Opening Advertising $7,500 $10,000
Security Deposit, Utilities, Licenses, and Other Prepaid Expenses $20,000 $165,000
Insurance Cost $10,000 $35,000
Total  $2,018,500 $3,669,000

Royalty Fees: 4.0%

Royalty fees are an ongoing payment that allows franchisees to continue using Wendy’s trademarks, ongoing support, and assistance from the company and intellectual property of Wendy’s system. Franchisees must pay this fee on the 15th day of every month.

Revenue Range: $432,8983 – $1,548,551

The revenue range is an estimation of how much money a franchisee may accumulate in their business. This number is a range because every business is different, and there is no guarantee an individual will see these specific figures.

Wendy’s is looking for entrepreneurs who not only appreciate their dedication to exceptional food quality but value a family-friendly, convenient restaurant. This franchise is a business of firsts: they were the first to introduce a drive-thru, and they want their potential franchisees to come up with firsts too! Wendy’s welcomes fresh, innovative ideas to make their service better and improve customer satisfaction.

Disclaimer: The above information was derived from the year 2019 FDD of Wendy’s. This data may not reflect the most current information. AskMrFranchise and affiliates are not responsible for any act or failure to act in reliance upon this report, article, data, and/or information. None of the information mentioned above should be used to substitute or replace consultation with legal or other professionals.

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