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Wendy’s Launches Significant Expansion in Canada with 2.0 NextGen Concept

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Quick service restaurant brand Wendy’s recently opened its 400th location in Canada with a plan to significantly accelerate growth in the near future.

The newest location on Carling Avenue in Ottawa is what the company calls state-of-the-art, delivering Wendy’s newest design experience.

“This opening represents a milestone for Wendy’s. The new location introduces a wholly enhanced restaurant design to Canada and also marks our 400th restaurant in the country, a turning point for accelerated growth for Wendy’s in Canada. It is a testament to our performance in the country in recent years and it signals where we are headed,” said Paul Hilder, SVP & Managing Director, Canada and UK, The Wendy’s Company.

Wendy’s Canada 2.0 NextGen Concept

“The new restaurant at 2545 Carling Avenue in Ottawa, owned by Wendy’s franchisee the Thakker organization, is the first free-standing version of the new NextGen global 2.0 brand standard for Wendy’s in Canada. The new brand standard includes a smaller footprint with a simple, efficient design, costing less to build while optimizing the Wendy’s experience for customers, staff and delivery drivers.”

Hilder said Wendy’s has been in Canada for over 40 years and Canada is currently its largest international market. 

“There is a lot of opportunity in Canada. We have opened more than 50 new locations in recent years, and are focusing our efforts on engaging existing franchisees and recruiting new franchisees to continue to bring more Wendy’s to more people across the country. We are incredibly proud of our 400th restaurant milestone,” he said.

“To accelerate our growth, we are actively recruiting new franchisees across Canada, with significant opportunity in Quebec, one of the most populous provinces in Canada, and the Maritimes. Both are regions where Wendy’s currently has a smaller footprint and is looking to expand.

REEF Pickup Location for Wendy’s on College (Photo by Dustin Fuhs)

“We are also focusing on innovating to provide more access and convenience for urban customers, including through investments in our mobile app and delivery business. This includes a new development commitment with REEF to open and operate 700 delivery kitchens over the next five years across Canada, the U.S. and the UK. In 2020, we launched the pilot with REEF here in Canada and currently have nine REEF delivery kitchen locations across the country. As part of our investment in our delivery business, we recently welcomed Uber Eats to our delivery partner line-up alongside SkipTheDishes.”

Hilder said the new store format is a global brand standard for Wendy’s and it will be rolling out to new locations from here. More free-standing locations are planned for Canada, such as a drive-thru and walk-up-only model slated to open in Trenton, Ontario, and a restaurant similar to Ottawa will soon open in Parksville, Vancouver Island. 

“The great thing about this new design is that it is adaptable to a range of locations and applications— urban retail locations, food courts, drive-thru only and even shipping containers,” he said. 

Hilder said the QSR industry in Canada is competitive and has undergone a lot of changes as a result of the global pandemic. 

“For Wendy’s, we keep our focus on the reason why we exist in the first place, and that is our high quality food. Quality is our recipe and you see this with our fresh Canadian beef, our greenhouse grown tomatoes and lettuce, and by bringing fresh made-to-order food to Canadians. This focus of ours is the reason why Wendy’s is now ranked third in the Canadian QSR category,” he said.

Wendy’s on Queen Street in Toronto (Photo by Dustin Fuhs)

“We also live in an era where people are looking for safe and convenient ways to get great food. Convenience has always been a top factor for the QSR industry, but this has taken on more importance since the onset of the pandemic. People want to add great food to their experience, whether it is through a drive-thru restaurant or by ordering through a delivery service. “The pandemic has opened doors to new QSR customers looking for this convenience, so up-to-date delivery options, mobile ordering and payments, and digital possibilities have rapidly become a must for QSR, and a significant focus for Wendy’s. We will continue to evolve our digital business to provide speed, convenience and affordability to our fans.”

The new brand standard includes a smaller footprint with a simple, efficient design that costs less to build while being adaptable to a range of locations including urban retail locations, food courts, drive-thru only and even shipping containers.

The state-of-the-art Ottawa restaurant, which is the first free-standing version of the new next generation global 2.0 brand standard in Canada, is designed to optimize the Wendy’s experience for customers, restaurant team members and delivery drivers. It includes one exterior pick-up window that serves two purposes: one side is for drive-thru customers and the other is a walk-up window for delivery drivers. This allows those who are ordering via drive thru to place their orders faster and at the same time increases the speed for delivery pickup. The interior includes a new order flow system, modern finishes, lighting and artwork and the latest, highest efficiency HVAC system that utilizes significantly more fresh air from outside with much less reliance on recirculated air.

Abigail Pringle

Wendy’s was founded in 1969 by  Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio. The first Wendy’s restaurant in Canada opened in 1975. The brand has more than 6,800 restaurants worldwide.

“Looking ahead, and with commitments from current franchisees and through the recruitment of future franchise partners, we’ve laid out an ambitious plan to significantly accelerate growth.Expanding our presence also allows us to create more career opportunities as we bring more high-quality, freshly prepared food to customers across Canada,” said Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s President, International and Chief Development Officer

Article Author

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 is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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