Wendy’s Wouldn’t Be Wendy’s Without Franchising

by Mary Schell, Senior Vice President of Government and External Relations
Oct 31, 2016 9:05 AM ET
Campaign: The Square Deal

The Square Deal Blog

If you’ve followed The Square Deal throughout the year, you know that by the end of this year, 95% of Wendy’s U.S. restaurants will be owned by more than 300 franchisees.

But what does that mean? 

Well, it means we’re so much more than just a big Company.  It means we’re a big family.

Each franchisee represents a family who wanted to share Dave Thomas’ dream.  The most rewarding part of my 21-year journey with the Wendy’s brand has been the chance to know and admire the families that make up our system. Our franchise model has given hundreds of families the opportunity to own their own small business and follow their dreams. And now, second and third generations of entrepreneurs within these families are making the choice to continue growing their family-owned business – with us, their Wendy’s family.

FRANCHISING: You’re in business for yourself… but not by yourself.

The franchise business model has been around for decades and generally allows entrepreneurs to purchase an agreement or license to market a product or service while using the trademark of a larger company.  Of the 6,500 restaurants in the Wendy’s system, only about 400 are currently owned by The Wendy’s Company.  The majority are owned and operated by Wendy’s franchisees:  small business owners who are working hard to grow the economy, create jobs, and give something back to their local communities. 

Did you know?

  • There are 733,000 franchise businesses in the U.S.
  • Franchise organizations employ 7.6 million people
  • Each year, the economic output from franchise businesses is $674 billion

For more than 20 years, I’ve worked with the team at the International Franchise Association (IFA) to protect the franchise business model.  Most Wendy’s franchisees are truly small business owners; 72% of Wendy’s franchise organizations own fewer than 10 restaurants.  Owning a franchise business can be a rewarding path to the middle-class and achieving the American Dream, and it’s my job working with the IFA to help protect the franchise business model so that the franchise community continues to thrive and contribute to a healthy American economy that works for everyone.

The Congressional Franchise Caucus

Luckily, we aren’t the only ones who believe the franchise business model is important.  A bipartisan Congressional Franchise Caucus (CFC) was recently created to highlight the role that America’s franchise businesses and their employees play in our nation’s economy.  The CFC is meant to be an educational group and can help give franchise owners the opportunity to showcase to policymakers the stories behind their businesses; it’s a channel for franchisees to explain how their businesses are creating jobs, helping the economy, and supporting their local communities. 

FRANCHISING: It’s not a business; it’s a way of doing business.  Every year we celebrate those who do it best!

This October, Wendy’s franchisees, suppliers, and Company employees gathered in Las Vegas for an annual business update meeting.  We celebrated our world-class brand, families, and community, and a portion of the meeting was dedicated to celebrating franchisees who have been exceptional business operators. One of the meeting’s highlights was the induction of my friend Eddie Rodriguez, CEO of Wendy’s franchise JAE Restaurant Group, into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame.

JAE Restaurant Group opened its first Wendy’s restaurant in Hialeah, Florida in 1993.  JAE prides itself on remaining true to their core values, being a leader in the franchise quick-service restaurant industry, and providing a quality restaurant experience to their customers.  Eddie and his team are living proof that you can create a path to success through the opportunities available through the franchise business model.  In 23 years, JAE has grown from one Wendy’s restaurant to 177.  The JAE team was awarded the Wendy’s Award for Best Operator in 2002, the Dave Thomas Award for Best Overall Franchisee in 2003 and 2012, and now Eddie has a home in the Wendy’s Hall of Fame. 

While JAE is committed to providing quality food service to their customers, the franchise is also committed to giving back to the local communities in which they do business.  Eddie and JAE have been long-time supporters of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Eddie also serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, FL.  Our founder, Dave Thomas, strongly believed in supporting the community that supports your business, and we believe that Eddie and his JAE team are living up to Dave’s values.

Franchisees like Eddie are why we fight so hard for small business owners who have embraced the franchise business model.  Without our franchisees, Wendy’s would not be the world-class system we are today.  We are proud to be a franchise brand and are looking forward to supporting small business owners who choose to share the dream our founder Dave Thomas first shared with us.

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