The Wendy’s Company (“Wendy’s”) is one of the largest quick-service hamburger companies in the world.
Trian has been invested in Wendy’s International, Inc., the predecessor company of The Wendy’s Company, since late 2005. At that time, Wendy’s was one of America’s most beloved brands, but the business had lost its way after the passing of its founder Dave Thomas. Trian believed there were opportunities to create value by divesting ancillary brands, lowering overhead, improving restaurant operations, investing in growth and returning capital to shareholders.
By the beginning of the recession in 2008, Trian had been successful in pushing the Company to divest the Tim Horton’s brand, but felt there was more work to be done on turning around the core business. As a result, Trian opportunistically facilitated the merger between Triarc Companies, Inc. (which owned the Arby’s® restaurant company and was controlled by Trian’s Founding Partners) and Wendy’s International in the summer of 2008.
Now the largest shareholder with three board seats, Trian has helped implement an operational turnaround focused on improving and growing the core Wendy’s brand. After selling control of the Arby’s brand in mid-2011, Wendy’s launched an Image Activation (remodel) program in 2012 with the goal of substantially reimaging all of the system’s restaurants by 2020. In 2013, Wendy’s embarked on a refranchising strategy (called System Optimization) to significantly reduce the percentage of company-owned stores by the end of 2016. In 2014, Wendy’s launched a Resource Realignment initiative targeted at reducing G&A expense by $30mm and realigning resources towards restaurant technology and development. Wendy’s further built on this initiative in 2017 when they committed to driving G&A to 1.5% of system sales which represented another $30mm of G&A savings. In 2018, Wendy’s announced a $25mm investment to stand up their Digital Experience Organization, as part of their broader digital and technology transformation efforts. Finally, in 2019 and early 2020, Wendy’s launched breakfast nationwide and took a new approach to international growth by opening the first company owned restaurants in the U.K.
Nelson Peltz, Peter May and Matt Peltz serve on the board of Wendy’s.