The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ: WEN) today announced the sale of all of its 24 Company-operated restaurants, along with two future locations, in the Seattle market to Cedar Enterprises, Inc., a long-time Wendy’s franchisee.
With this transaction, Cedar, based in Columbus, Ohio, becomes Wendy’s® third largest franchisee – operating 170 restaurants in five states, including 47 in Washington.
Wendy’s President and Chief Executive Officer Emil Brolick said the sale is an important part of the Company’s brand transformation – including reimaging and new restaurant development, a new Wendy’s logo, innovative products, bold new packaging and enhanced marketing. The latest element of the transformation is the Company’s initiative to optimize its restaurant portfolio by concentrating its ownership geographically through the sale of about 425 Company-operated restaurants in 13 U.S. markets to franchise operators. The Company is targeting the end of the second quarter of 2014 for the completion of these transactions.
“We are expanding our relationship with successful, well-capitalized franchisees that are proven operators with a strong commitment to our Image Activation reimaging program,” Brolick said. “Cedar Enterprises – led by President Jim Evans and Franchise Owners Joe Karam, David Karam and Jim Karam – has been an important part of the Wendy’s system since 1975. They are an early adopter of Image Activation, and continue to actively support our brand on many levels.”
“We’re excited about Wendy’s future, with new opportunities for growth through Image Activation, enhanced customer service and other brand-building initiatives,” David Karam said. “We’ve called Washington State home for more than 15 years, and we welcome this great opportunity to significantly expand our presence and impact in the Seattle area.”
Included in the agreement between Wendy’s and Cedar is a plan to reimage certain restaurants in the new Image Activation design. The agreement also includes a development plan for new restaurants.
As part of its System Optimization strategy, Wendy’s previously announced the sale of Company restaurants in two markets, Kansas City and St. Louis. The Company continues to sell restaurants – primarily in the West region of the U.S. — on a market-by-market basis, and is experiencing strong interest from qualified buyers.