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Wendy's Franchise Review

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (2 Reviews)


In 1969, an adopted son of a drifter, Dave Thomas, opened his first Wendy’s restaurant, named after one of his daughters. The restaurant embodied his vision for high quality, made to order burgers. By 1980 there were 2000 Wendy’s nationwide and just 4 years later the “Where’s the beef?” slogan became a national sensation. Wendy’s went global between 1988 and 1990, and Founder Dave Thomas put his money into a cause that was near and dear to his heart opening the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, that he created to find “permanent, loving homes for foster children.”

Background and Benefits

Hamburger-flipping Dave Thomas wasn’t satisfied with just fathering 4000 Wendy’s restaurants by 1992; he wanted just one thing more, and that was to get his GED. Dave Thomas did just that in 1993. Founder Dave Thomas is all about giving back. His dream of opening a quality hamburger restaurant complete with wholesome ideals paid off and the franchise was over 6000 restaurants strong by the time Dave Thomas left this world in 2002. Mega-Brand Wendy’s has kept pace with competitors by reaching out to mature burger eaters and leaving the kid stuff to the local competing Kings and Clowns. Dave Thomas’ message was simple. He provided good old-fashioned wholesome food for good old-fashioned folks, and it has worked.

How Much Does a Wendy’s Franchise Cost?

Wendy’s requires $500,000 in liquid assets with $1,000,000 net worth, which was a bit easier to achieve in last year’s economy. The total investment lies somewhere between $250,000 and $600,000 but if you want to buy a franchise you will have to wait. Wendy’s is not currently accepting applications for Domestic franchises although it appears International franchises and Canadian franchises are still available. With the stock crash last month (from $28 in May to just over $5 by September’s end) Wendy’s may be calling in the cards for a full-out review of operations, and perhaps a little old-fashioned belt-tightening.

What We Like

We loved Dave Thomas, the wholesome clean-cut ambiance, and all of that “Giving Back” for which he was famous. Rags to Riches stories have always held a special place within the hearts of Americans and we have always been a nation who cheers for the underdog and cheers even louder when the underdog makes it big. Dave Thomas gave us Mega-Brand Wendy’s, a sometimes too distant reminder of old America during the days of classic cars, the traditional family unit, and family dinner times. As we continue to miss Dave Thomas, we will be watching Wendy’s Restaurants, cheering her on as we wait for that stock comeback as well as for a new opportunity to purchase a franchised piece of an American Legend.


  • Mega Branding - Everything's nice about Wendy's, Dave Thomas, the food, and reputation, but financials are down $22MM from last year. Proceed with caution.


  • Plummeting value - With stock values in the toilet and Wendy's current hold on new applications, you will just have to take the "wait and see" approach.

Wendy's Restaurants Inc. Franchise Information

Business Established: 1969
Franchising Since: 1972
Franchise Fee: Currently not accepting applications
Total Investment: $250,000 to $600,000

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