QSL: Wendy's Moves Forward with Remodels, Brings Program to New York

Wendy's Moves Forward with Remodels, Brings Program to New York

Wendy's Moves Forward with Remodels, Brings Program to New York

Wendy's new remodel program will arrive in New York in 2012. The much discussed remodel program is in the hands of Tesser, a design firm started in 1993 as TreDesign and renamed Tesser in 1999, after the acquisition of Tesser, LLC. Tesser has also worked with several other QSR clients, including KFC and Domino's.

With KFC, San Francisco-based Tesser upgraded the QSR chicken chain's logos and signage, adapting its messaging to be more relevant in the digital age and to better reflect the concept's heritage in Colonel Sanders. Tesser's work with Domino's led to upgraded signage and designs that were also more contemporary, and focused on Domino's Pizza combo deals.

Wendy's is experimenting with four prototypes in its new "Image Activation" program. It opened 10 such restaurants in 2011 and will build twice that many in 2012.

The four new prototypes are: Ultra-modern, Contemporary, Traditional and Urban. Wendy's will also renovate 50 stores across the United States this year, adopting lessons from the four markets to which it has already brought the new designs: Columbus, Ohio; Pittsburgh; Virginia Beach; and Phoenix.

In New York, Wendy's will bring its remodels to 3rd Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets, and 560 Broadway, between Bleeker Street and Bond Street.

In a recent investor conference, Wendy's revealed more details of the prototypes in a video to attendees. The new red-tone designs will incorporate larger windows and a clear view of the kitchen to showcase the preparation of food. The upgraded dining rooms will feature flat-screen TV's, WI-FI connectivity for guests, and more comfortable seating.

The newly-created marketplace environment will allow Wendy's to display vegetables and other ingredients used in the preparation of its products. Gerard Lewis, senior vice president, Culinary Innovation, for Wendy's said in the conference that "Everybody wants to be a foodie," conveying the urgency of culinary staff across all concepts to bring more creativity and integrity into the food preparation process.

Diners in today's age have more sophisticated tastes, according to Lewis, and want ingredients leaning toward the gourmet.

The more open and transparent environment in the new prototypes will help customers appreciate the fresh preparation of meals. In fact, Lewis said that many of the new ingredients in Wendy's new breakfast program are made fresh at the store-level, and set the QSR concept apart from its core competition in the morning daypart.

The new Wendy's design will also allow the chain with over 6,500 restaurants to offer new baked goods, coffee and beverage options. Wendy's execs say that its Redhead Coffee Roasters coffee offering, a part of its new breakfast program, was rated best in an independent taste test again Timothy's World Coffee ─ significant because the test was conducted in Canada, where Timothy's is a premium brand.

Remodels of existing stores are expected to exceed $800,000 and have a projected return on investment of about 15 percent.

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