Wendy’s in new franchise initiative to attract underrepresented populations

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Wendy’s wants to increase increasing restaurant ownership among underrepresented populations, specifically among women and people of color.

The Wendy's Company is launching a new franchise recruitment initiative aimed at increasing restaurant ownership among “underrepresented populations.”

The company’s new Own Your Opportunity initiative is designed to support the company's goal of increasing restaurant ownership among underrepresented populations, specifically among women and people of color.

To jumpstart the new program, Wendy's said it has created more competitive liquidity and net worth requirements for all new franchise applicants. The company is working with its three preferred U.S. financial lenders: City National Bank, Huntington National Bank and Wintrust Franchise Finance.

In addition, Wendy’s has:

  • Introduced new restaurant formats, which can help enable ownership in the Wendy's system with a lower initial financial commitment.
  • Supported First Women’s Bank, the only women-founded, women-owned, and women-led commercial bank in the U.S. with a strategic focus on serving the women's economy, by becoming a “mission partner.”
  • Created a build-to-suit development fund to help fuel growth in underdeveloped trade areas, where Wendy's secures and builds restaurant locations and hands over turnkey solutions to franchisees. Priority will be given to those franchisee candidates who cannot otherwise access the required capital for new restaurant development. 

"To be the best Wendy's we can be, we must make available opportunities for everyone who wants to grow with us," said Wendy's president and CEO Todd Penegor. "The Wendy's brand truly thrives when our System reflects the diversity of our customers and restaurant teams, and when our franchisees are highly engaged and growing together with us."

In 2021, Wendy's set new goals to advance its corporate responsibility platform, with one of the goals being to increase the representation of underrepresented populations among company leadership and management, as well as the diversity of Wendy's franchisees. Wendy's said it believes that over time its new Own Your Opportunityinitiative will help advance this goal by providing more pathways for all, including for diverse franchisees who want to join the Wendy's family.

"We believe that increasing diversity of thought and experience will bring new ideas and innovations to Wendy's, which will help us continue to grow together for decades to come," said Abigail Pringle, Wendy's president, international and chief development officer. "When you become a Wendy's franchisee, you own more than a great restaurant – you Own Your Opportunity, with a path to prosper and the prospect to lead within a thriving and beloved restaurant brand." 

Wendy's and its franchisees operate approximately 7,000 restaurants worldwide.

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