Wendy’s testing units inside Walmart stores

Columbus Business First

COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST)–Wendy’s is enlisting one of the world’s biggest retailers in its growth push.

The Dublin-based restaurant chain is testing at least two new concepts – Wendy’s Hamburger Stand and Wendy’s Snack Stand – inside Walmart stores.

The fast-food company opened its first hamburger stand at a Walmart store in Heath and plans to do the snack stand at a different Ohio location, though it has not yet said where.

Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor spoke to Nation’s Restaurant News late last week about these new models.

He told that trade publication that although the test sites will have limited menus, they will offer some items that you can’t find at a traditional Wendy’s, such as Frosty Fusion flavors including strawberry and a jalapeno-popper chicken nugget.

Though it’s a new test for Wendy’s, food operators have long been part of Walmart’s mix. Subway and McDonald’s both have operated inside the retailer for years, though McDonald’s has closed more than 200 of those in the past year.

Columbus-based Gosh Enterprises, owners of Charleys Philly Steaks, Bibibop, and Lennys Grill & Subs is putting both Charleys and Lennys units into Walmarts.

Wendy’s last week said it plans to add 700 new delivery-only units in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom through a partnership with Miami-based operator REEF, which runs ghost kitchens – no on-site seating – that serve as delivery hubs for brands. Those units allow Wendy’s to enter dense, urban markets where they is currently underrepresented.

The company is exploring all manner of non-traditional operations in its push to grow to 8,500 to 9,000 units worldwide by 2025. Prior to the REEF announcement that target was 8,000. Ideas also include drive-thru only locations, fuel center units, and even Frosty carts for use at locations such as zoos and theme parks.

For more business headlines, go to ColumbusBusinessFirst.com.

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