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Wendy’s Unveils Digital Forward Redesigned Restaurants in Oklahoma, Kansas City

Jun 06, 2023

by Joe Halpern | Aug 22, 2023 | News

Wendy’s new redesigned restaurants were unveiled recently in Kansas City and Oklahoma, as the burger chain giant is planning to debut more than 200 of the digitally enabled protypes through 2024.

Along with upgraded technology, the new restaurant models—owned by the Wenspok Companies in Great Bend, Kansas, and the Meritage Hospitality Group in Edmond, Oklahoma—feature a sleek, modern look and optimized layout that the company is estimating will deliver a nearly 50 percent increase in kitchen capacity compared to its current restaurants.

“The Global Next Gen restaurant standard was designed to improve the restaurant economic model, benefiting new franchisees just entering the system and current franchisees doubling down on growth by building new restaurants,” said Abigail Pringle, president of international and chief development officer for Wendy’s.

Abigail Pringle, president of international and chief development officer for Wendy’s

“We estimate the Global Next Gen design standard reduces capital expenses 10 percent compared to previous restaurant designs, and cuts annual energy costs by about 6 percent, using more efficient lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning,” Pringle said.

The new restaurant configuration features state-of-the-art equipment, Wendy’s said, and a layout built to maximize capacity and give staff the tools to increase food quality, including sandwich production areas, dedicated space for digital orders, and more preparation area.

Wendy’s is hoping that strategically placed front counters and drive-thru lanes, along with expanded storage capacity, will improve operational flow, crew comfort and service speed.

The new protypes feature a pull-ahead parking spot that allows crews to advance cars forward to eliminate longer wait times at the pick-up window and a convenience door that opens directly from the back of house, creating quick crew member access to cars in the pull ahead spot.

New dedicated delivery pick-up windows will make it more convenient and quicker for delivery drivers, who previously needed to enter the dining room, to grab orders and go. Wendy’s goal is to fulfill its delivery orders more efficiently and accurately, according to the company.

Wendy’s Global Next Gen design includes self-order kiosks, order pick-up shelving, and dedicated parking for mobile order pick-up.

Additionally, a dedicated mobile order pickup area will allow customers to select a pick-up time when placing their mobile order and, upon arrival, park in a dedicated mobile order parking spot and grab their meal off the pick-up shelving. According to Wendy’s, the new build standard unlocks 400 times the capacity for digital orders through its app and third-party delivery to meet growing consumer preferences for digital ordering.

Wendy’s new reimagined kitchen features a galley-style design that runs from the front to the back of the restaurant, according to the company. It allows staff to slide between positions more easily to fulfill orders faster.

“We’re confident this new global restaurant design standard will accelerate traditional restaurant growth with restaurants built for the digital age,” said Pringle, adding “Global Next Gen sets the stage for better returns for our franchisees while shortening the payback period, unlocking more opportunities for Wendy’s to grow our global restaurant footprint.”

Wendy’s opened 41 stores in Q2 2023 for a net total of 24, to bringing the first-half totals of the year to 80, with a net of 20 locations. The chain expanded by a net of 56 domestic units last year.

In Q2, the public company reported digital sales dollars increased 25 percent, year-over-year. CEO Todd Penegor told investors in Wendy’s most recent earning’s call, that the company is looking for global digital sales to eclipse $1.5 billion this year.

Wendy’s has 7,000 global restaurants. The estimated total cost for buying a Wendy’s franchise ranges from $1.9 million to $4.6 million, according to its franchise disclosure document.

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