Wendy’s to Double Store Footprint in Quebec Under Franchise Deal with Former Arizona Coyotes GM

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The Compass Restaurant Group, based out of Ontario and run by Kathryn and John Chayka, a former General Manager of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, has picked up 13 franchise Wendy’s restaurants in Quebec with a commitment to expand the brand in that province.

The restaurants were previously owned by DP Murphy (Quebec) Inc.

The deal also comes with a commitment to build 13 additional restaurants in Quebec by 2025 as Wendy’s seeks to double its footprint in the province.

“At Wendy’s, we see tremendous opportunity in Quebec with more than a quarter of the population living there and only three per cent of our Wendy’s Canadian restaurants. This new agreement demonstrates the strength of the brand and the faith our franchise partners have in our bright future,” said Abigail Pringle, President, International and Chief Development Officer at The Wendy’s Company, in a statement.

“Wendy’s franchise owners, like Kathryn and John Chayka, continue to play an integral role in bringing our restaurants to communities across Canada and we are thrilled with their continued commitment to Wendy’s.”

The Chayka’s became Wendy’s franchise owners in 2015 when they purchased 12 locations in southern Ontario from Wendy’s corporate. Today they have 14 locations, primarily in the Niagara region but from Fort Erie to Burlington. The company’s head office is in Timmins, ON, but the Chayka’s are based out of Niagara. 

“I think Wendy’s has done a really good job growing and re-invigorating the brand. They’ve done a really good job adapting with consumers, and not only that, it’s sometimes hard for brands to be Canadian when they’re not necessarily Canadian. I think they do a really good job with the quality. We have Canadian beef. They do a great job speaking to the Canadian consumer and even more now speaking to the Millennial consumer,” said Kathryn. 

The Chayka’s are known for their involvement in the community. For example, in 2020, they donated and delivered more than 1,000 meals to frontline workers in the Niagara region who were fighting the spread of COVID-19. They also offered 50 per cent off meals for employees on leave of absence and provided active employees the same discount to provide meals for their families after their shift was over.

“Community has always been an important part of our lives and our Wendy’s restaurants have been a great way for us to connect with those in the Niagara region. This expansion is an exciting opportunity for us to grow our business, bring jobs to Quebec and to provide more Wendy’s experiences to more consumers across Canada,” said Kathryn.

“I think right now the economy is really strong (in Quebec). It’s interesting because the Wendy’s brand only has 13 stores in the province but Quebec has a quarter of Canada’s population. It’s not like there’s necessarily crazy barriers to entry. We see all sorts of brands in Quebec that are also popular throughout all the provinces in Canada. Other QSR’s (quick service restaurants) even . . . Overall we thought it was a huge opportunity. We’re young and we’re hungry and we want to grow and we felt that given all the opportunities in all the provinces Quebec had the most potential.”

There are nearly 400 Wendy’s restaurants across Canada.

Pringle said Quebec is substantially underpenetrated versus the rest of the country. 

“We’ve seen strong sales growth in this market and believe there is a great opportunity to unlock growth for Wendy’s in Quebec,” said Pringle.

“We know that consumers are looking for fresh, high quality, made to order food at an affordable price that they can access quickly, conveniently and safely, and Wendy’s is positioned to do just that. We also offer consumers a variety of ways to access the brand that creates convenience in their everyday lives such as delivery, mobile order, and our drive-thrus.

“At Wendy’s, our vision is to become the world’s most beloved and thriving restaurant brand. To achieve that, we are developing innovative ways to expand access to the brand and unlock explosive growth across the globe. Expanding our footprint is one of our strategic growth pillars, and we remain committed to recruiting franchisees and building relationships with partners who want to grow with us. We expect Canada to contribute to our net growth Internationally in 2021. Further, we remain confident in our plans to reach approximately 8,000 restaurants globally by 2025.”

Wendy’s was founded in 1969 by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio.

The first Wendy’s restaurant in Canada opened in 1975. Today there are more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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