Selling, reimaging restaurants pays off for Wendy’s

by Monica Watrous
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DUBLIN, OHIO — The Wendy’s Co. is full steam ahead on system optimization and brand transformation efforts in 2014.

The fast-food chain said it expects to complete the sale of approximately 415 restaurants by the end of the first quarter for total proceeds of approximately $235 million. Wendy’s sold 244 restaurants in 2013 and has sold or signed agreements to sell 174 more.

Additionally, the company completed or initiated more than 200 restaurant reimages last year and plans to nearly double the pace in 2014, with the reimaging of 200 company-owned units and 150 to 200 franchise-operated locations. Wendy’s also expects to open 15 new company-operated restaurants and 45 new franchise-operated restaurants this year.

“During the past year, we accelerated the Wendy’s brand transformation with image activation, enhanced our company-operated restaurant portfolio through system optimization and introduced several successful new products while building our product pipeline,” said Emil Brolick, president and chief executive officer. “These efforts resulted in 2013 North America company-operated same-restaurant sales growth of 1.9% and record average annual sales of $1.51 million at North America company-operated restaurants. Most importantly, the progress we’ve made with our various initiatives has positioned the Wendy’s brand for further growth in 2014, as we expect to nearly double the pace of our image activation reimages, continue introducing innovative products and complete our system optimization initiative.”

Successful promotions of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich and Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche also contributed to a strong year, driving same-restaurant sales growth in North America restaurants. For the year ended Dec. 29, 2013, net income attributable to the company was $45,487,000, equal to 12c per share on the common stock, up nearly six times from $7,083,000, or 2c per share, last year. Revenues for the year totaled $2,165,829,000, down slightly from $2,198,323,000 in fiscal 2012.

Fourth-quarter net income attributable to Wendy’s increased 25% to $33,069,000, or 9c per share, from $26,388,000, or 7c per share, in the same prior year period. Revenues for the quarter dropped 8.7% to $505,929,000 from $553,943,000 the year before.
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