Wendy's warns UK consumers are 'under pressure' as it rows back on growth plans

11 August 2022 by
Wendy's warns UK consumers are 'under pressure' as it rows back on growth plans

US burger brand Wendy's has said it remains "bullish" on UK expansion despite high inflation impacting customer footfall.

The company plans to have 35 UK sites open by the end of the year, including ten company-owned restaurants, while the rest will be run in partnership with ‘dark kitchen' expert Reef.

Wendy's currently has eight company-owned UK sites in Brighton, Reading, Oxford, and London's Stratford, Croydon, Camden, Ilford, and Romford.

Speaking on an investor call, chief executive Todd Penegor said the chain was also targeting expansion in Ireland and mainland Europe, starting in Spain.

He said: "We've already got a couple of franchisees approved that will be opening restaurants in the UK early next year alongside us…and we've got another handful beyond that that have been approved that will start opening restaurants in the UK further down the road."

Gunther Plosch, chief financial officer of Wendy's said UK consumers were "clearly under pressure" due to high inflation, which was impacting footfall.

Wendy's has revised down its total target number of global sites to 8,000 – 8,500 locations by 2025, 500 lower than it said in its first quarter update.

The company has also rolled back on its plan to open hundreds of delivery kitchens with Reef.

Last year, Wendy's said it was aiming to roll-out 700 delivery sites across the USA, Canada, and UK over the next five years, but this week said it anticipated opening 100-150 delivery kitchens by the end of 2025, with the majority in the UK and Canada, after "recent challenges" opening in certain locations.

Wendy's was founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1969 and now operates more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide

The chain ran around 10 company-operated UK restaurants in the 1990s, but shut them down after complaining of high operating costs.

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