Wendy’s focusing on drive-thrus to build UK footprint

By Shwetali Sapte

- Last updated on GMT

Wendy’s focusing on drive-thrus to build UK footprint

Related tags Wendy's Burger Multi-site US chain QSR Fast food drive-thru

Wendy’s first UK drive-thru is performing ahead of expectations, with the format seen as a key driver for its growth across the country, according to CEO Todd Penegor.

Penegor was speaking on an investor call following the release of Wendy’s Q1 results, which saw the US-based fast food chain close the quarter with 29 UK restaurants.

The group is aiming to have 45 sites operating by the end of the year​, including bricks and mortar, dark kitchens and drive-thrus.

Penegor further said a new meal deal, which was introduced in some UK sites last month and offers a spicy chicken sandwich, fries, chicken nuggets and a small drink for £7.99, is proving popular across markets with value-conscious consumers.

The chain reported continued growth across its international markets, with 39 new restaurants opened globally in Q1.

It has seen same restaurant system sales growing by 28% on a two-year basis, along with significant customer count growth, attributed to strategic pricing and menu innovation, such as the launch of new breakfast items in the US and Canada.

A strong uptick in digital ordering has resulted in an international digital sales mix of 19% across regions.

Wendy’s also announced plans to pilot voice AI in its US drive-thrus in June to 'drive profitability over time'.

Penegor further revealed the chain is focused on the 'underpenetrated' late night market, where it sees 'lots of opportunity'.

Commenting on the Q1 results, he said: “Our strong first quarter results build on the momentum we created in 2022. We delivered our sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit global same-restaurant sales growth on a two-year basis driven in part by our compelling marketing programs, continued operational improvements, and the significant acceleration of our digital business.

”Our sales growth contributed to an over 250 basis point year-over-year expansion in US company-operated restaurant margin. Our successful start to the year and clear alignment behind our strategic pillars give us confidence that we will deliver meaningful global growth for the remainder of 2023 and beyond.”

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Hospitality Guides

View more