The US burger chain Wendy’s, which has 7000 stores globally, believes Australia has the longterm potential for hundreds of outlets.
Wendy’s has a 2025 target of 8500 stores internationally.
Chief development officer Abigail Pringle told the Australian Financial Review “We believe Australia is a lucrative market for long-term growth. We think that the Australian market could be hundreds of restaurants.”
Wendy’s has already dipped its toes in the Australian market. In 2021 the burger brand launched a pop-up restaurant in Sydney.
Pringle said the result was encouraging, and took the business a step closer to bringing the brand to Australia.
Wendy’s plan for hundreds of Australian outlets needs the right partner
Five months ago the burger chain announced its intentions to head Downunder, partnering with master franchisees.
According to the AFR there is discussions underway now with potential masters. There is no timeline attached to the plan, the focus is on finding the right partners.
Ideal candidates will be well capitalised and may have other business infrastructure, and share a focus on strong teams and culture.
Wendy’s is not interested in short term private equity deals, Pringle said.
“But we are interested in folks that have patient capital that want to build a business over the long term.”
One option could be to purchase land and build restaurants, a model Wendy’s is employing in the US and Canada.
The ‘Own Your Opportunity’ program was launched a year ago. It sees Wendy’s funding the development of a site: finding the land, designing and building the building, and handing franchisees the keys.
US burger chain success
When Wendy’s does arrive in Australia, it will follow a familiar path for US fast food chains.
The biggest growth for a relatively new brand stepping in to this market is Carl’s Jr, which now has 45 Australian outlets after its 2016 soft launch at Bateau Bay in the Central Coast.
It signed a new franchise agreement in 2021 and there are now eight New South Wales stores, 11 Queensland outlets, 19 stores in Victoria, and seven in South Australia.