The Wendy’s Company

The Wendy’s Company (“Wendy’s”) is one of the largest quick-service hamburger companies in the world.

Trian originally invested in Wendy’s International, Inc., the predecessor company of Wendy’s, in late 2005, as Trian believed there were opportunities to improve value in the brand as a standalone hamburger business by divesting ancillary brands, and returning capital to shareholders. In September 2008, Trian helped to orchestrate a merger between Triarc Companies, Inc. (which owned the Arby’s® restaurant company and at the time was controlled by Trian’s Principals) and Wendy’s International.

In 2011, following the merger of Wendy’s International and Triarc (which became known as the Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. and thereafter Wendy’s), Trian helped devise several operational initiatives focused on improving and growing the core Wendy’s brand. After selling control of the Arby’s brand in mid-2011, Wendy’s launched Image Activation, a remodel program, in 2012 with the goal of substantially reimaging 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. Additionally, Wendy’s sold its bakery operations in mid-2015. In 2017, Wendy’s announced significant overhead reductions for completion by 2020.

Nelson Peltz, Peter May and Matt Peltz serve on the board of Wendy’s.

Sector: Consumer

Fun Fact: The Frosty, Wendy’s signature frozen dairy dessert, has been on the menu since the first Wendy’s location opened its doors in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio

Company Website:

ESG Highlights:

  • Favorable ISS Governance Score: Received a 1 on ISS’s QualityScore metric (as of April 1, 2018), the best possible score
  • Board Refreshment: From February 2015 through March 2018, Wendy’s has appointed 7 new directors (to a Board of 12 directors)
  • Animal Welfare: Wendy’s is an industry leader in animal welfare and responsible treatment, adopting welfare guidelines for beef and pork in 1998 that were developed by Dr. Temple Grandin, who is a consultant to Wendy’s. Other animal welfare initiatives include a commitment to sourcing all cage-free eggs by 2020 and using antibiotics solely to treat animal illness
  • Healthy Menu Options: Wendy’s is a leading purveyor of salads and was the first quick service restaurant to create a salad bar in 1979
  • Energy Consumption: Committed to a 20% energy reduction per transaction in U.S. company-owned restaurants by 2025
  • Supplier Code of Conduct: In 2016, Wendy’s launched its Supplier Code of Conduct, deployed to the company’s suppliers of food, paper and packaging, which covers topics such as human rights and labor practices, environmentally sustainable business practices and food safety. In 2017, Wendy’s expanded the Code of Conduct to include additional assurances and requirements related to human rights and labor practices for certain suppliers of hand-harvested, whole fresh produce
  • Diversity: At company-owned restaurants, a majority of all General Manager (GM) roles are occupied by women, and a majority of GM roles are also occupied by people of color (as of April 1, 2018)
  • Community Outreach: Since 2004, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program have found permanent homes for more than 7,000 children through 2017

For more information on ESG initiatives at Wendy’s, please visit

Former Trian Board Member