The Wendy’s Company (2005 – Present)

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 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 June 10, 2019), the best possible score (on a scale of 1-10, best-worst)
  • Board RefreshmentFrom February 2015 through May 2018, Wendy’s has appointed 7 new directors (to a Board of 11 directors)
  • Fresh Produce LeadershipWendy’s is a leading purveyor of salads and was the first quick service restaurant to create a salad bar in 1979. In June 2018, Wendy’s announced an initiative to source vine-ripened tomatoes for its North American restaurants exclusively from indoor, greenhouse hydroponic farms
  • Philanthropy Wendy’s has helped raise more than $200 million to support the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and children in foster care since the Foundation’s inception. Through June 2019, more than 8,500 children have been adopted and nearly 500 professional adoption recruiters hired as a direct result of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Program
  • Corporate Equality In 2018 Wendy’s achieved a score of 80 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (a 160% increase since its initial participation in 2006)
  • Animal WelfareIn 2019, Wendy’s will begin partnership with Progressive Beef™, an animal care and sustainability initiative that seeks to enhance beef supply chain accountability, transparency and traceability. In 2018, Wendy’s fulfilled its commitment to source 100% of its beef from Beef Quality Assurance certified sources
  • Sustainability: Squarely Sustainable, a nod to the Wendy’s signature square hamburgers, is the Wendy’s four-pronged approach to sustainability. The Company aims to: Use Less and reduce unnecessary materials use; Use Better and seek certified sustainable materials where possible; Spark Action by identifying consumer-facing actions that can drive change; and Engage Partners to work with others to find solutions on important issues
  • Energy ConsumptionIn 2016, Wendy’s joined the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Building Challenge, making a commitment to reduce energy consumption in U.S. company-owned restaurants by 20% per transaction by 2025. Wendy’s recently unveiled a new “Smart Family of Designs,” aimed at providing a portfolio of store development options to franchisees that reduce environmental impact via smaller location footprints
  • Sustainable Packaging: In February 2019, Wendy’s announced that the company partnered with Closed Loop Partners and the NextGen Consortium to work on sustainable packaging initiatives for the Wendy’s system. Wendy’s reduced fiber and plastic in several packaging formats, reducing by several million pounds the amount of paper and plastic materials used. Wendy’s also switched to light-weight paperboard fry cartons which require 17 percent less raw materials and led to saving 3 million pounds of materials

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

Former Trian Board Member