The Wendy’s Company (NASDAQ: WEN) has sold 23 restaurants in the greater Portland, Oregon area and Southwest Washington to Group W Partners, LLC, led by veteran Wendy’s franchisees Dan O’Brien and Doug Rich.
The two also operate Bodan Incorporated, based in Boulder, Colorado, with 18 Wendy’s restaurants in Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska.
Wendy’s announced plans in July to geographically concentrate its restaurant ownership through the sale of about 425 Company-operated restaurants in 13 U.S. markets, primarily in the West. Restaurants are being sold to qualified operators on a market-by-market basis, with the completion of this process targeted by second quarter 2014.
Included in these agreements are specific plans to reimage certain restaurants in Wendy’s contemporary Image Activation restaurant design. They also include development plans for new restaurants.
As a result of system optimization, Wendy’s President and Chief Executive Officer Emil Brolick said the Company expects to generate a higher operating margin and stronger free cash flow, along with further enhancing the quality of its earnings with a more predictable revenue stream from a higher percentage of royalty and rental income.
“Dan O’Brien and Doug Rich are terrific operators with a strong customer orientation,” Brolick said. “With a focus on operational excellence, a strong balance sheet and a commitment to restaurant reimaging, their organization fits the criteria we are looking for as we continue to execute our system optimization initiative.”
“We’re honored that we have been selected to represent the Wendy’s brand in the greater Portland area and in Southwest Washington,” said O’Brien, a Wendy’s Hall of Famer and a franchisee since 1990. “With the brand transformation that’s gaining momentum at Wendy’s, we’re excited about the future and the opportunities for growth.”
Group W Partners is partnering with Steve Harris as Director of Operations and is opening a local office to service the 23 newly acquired restaurants. The franchisee’s first Image Activation remodeled restaurant is scheduled to open in mid-December in Vancouver, Washington.
As part of its system optimization initiative, the Company has now sold or has announced signed agreements to sell 233 restaurants this year.