To get bigger, The Wendy’s Co. is getting smaller. The Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain wants to add another 1,000 locations by 2020, executives told investors on Thursday. One strategy the company plans to use to encourage that growth is a new, more flexible design that will enable Wendy’s to go into smaller spaces.
Traditionally, the quick-service chain needed at least an acre of real estate to build its traditional, standalone units. But its new “smart design” can go into much smaller spaces, said Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s chief development officer.
“The new designs enable the company to build on half an acre or even a quarter of an acre if needed,” Pringle said.
Traditional sites are more difficult to open because real estate is more challenged today than it was a decade ago. One-acre sites in high-traffic areas don’t exactly grow on trees. And when they come along, they can be expensive. The new design, executives said, is $300,000 cheaper than a traditional site.
That’s not the only strategy the company is using to expand add locations. Wendy’s is also adapting to urban areas.
“We are looking far beyond suburban markets,” Pringle said.
And the company is also looking at co-developing with convenience stores and other real estate opportunities, such as inline sites and strip-center end caps. And the company wants to convert vacated buildings — and not just restaurants.