Wendy’s Plan To Open “Hundreds” Of Stores In Australia (And Not Everybody’s Thrilled)
— 14 March 2023

Wendy’s Plan To Open “Hundreds” Of Stores In Australia (And Not Everybody’s Thrilled)

— 14 March 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Another major player in the burger game has been not-so-quietly eyeing our sunburnt shores, and soon enough, we may be (re)welcoming several Wendy’s Australia outposts. Although perhaps the term “welcoming” might not be the most accurate, despite the positive reception of the local pop-up event hosted circa 2021.

For background, just a few months prior, multiple reports revealed the world’s third largest burger chain (not to be confused with homegrown operation Wendy’s Milk Bar) was hungry for expansion. At that stage, consultancy firm DC Strategy had already been appointed to recruit “master franchisees” capable of slinging Dave’s Single square cheeseburgers, Frosty delights, and Baconators.

Since then, Wendy’s Chief Development Officer Abigail Pringle has confirmed there are indeed plans to purchase Aussie land for new restaurants and re-conquer territory on behalf of the US$4.8 billion (AU$7 billion) fast-food giant; having previously attempted to stake their claim here before folding in 1985 with $8 million worth of debts and eventually selling all 11 failed Melbourne stores to Hungry Jack’s billionaire Jack Cowin.

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“We believe Australia is a lucrative market for long-term growth. We think that the Australian market could be hundreds of restaurants,” Abigail Pringle recently assured The Australian Financial Review.

“We have to be careful with what that timeline is exactly because we want to pick the right partner. And that takes a little bit of time. But we think that we can have hundreds of restaurants in the market over time.”

“We will have Australian ingredients. That’s an important thing – to really work within the market.”

According to Matthew Cranston of the AFR, this could potentially mean partnering with a listed group such as Collins Foods (ASX: CKF), which operates KFC and Taco Bell, the Retail Food Group (ASX: RFG), which operates Donut King, maybe even a family office. But as we mentioned earlier, the mere prospect of this development has quite understandably been viewed as an affront by some.

Wendy's Plans To Open "Hundreds" Of Stores In Australia (And Not Everybody Is Thrilled)

“They come here thinking that as an American imperialist, they can land on our shores. They don’t define or differentiate themselves in any meaningful way,” Grill’d Founder & CEO Simon Crowe told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“What I do know is every time an American business contemplates Australia, they underestimate the Australian consumer and our discerning nature.”

Crowe added: “Perhaps that fast food era of 30, 40 years ago – that ship has sailed. And I can’t see how Wendy’s would be the slightest bit relevant. We as Australians should be really proud of the produce and the quality of restaurants and cafes.”

“There can’t be two Wendy’s,” Dean Tully, owner of the Wendy’s Milk Bar Whyalla store, bluntly explained to The Guardian.

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“They can come to Australia and strut their stuff by all means, but I wouldn’t want it to be under the Wendy’s banner.”

The global empire – which was founded back in 1969 by Dave Thomas – currently counts over 7,000 locations, including in our sister nation of New Zealand. The Kiwis have been chowing down on Wendy’s burgers since 1988, shortly after packing up hop here in Australia.

This comes to light as both Mark Wahlburg’s Wahlburgers and the heavy-duty operators behind Five Guys establish their presence in Australia. So far, Wahlburgers only has a single location at 18a/7 Macquarie Street in Sydney (Opera Quays) with plans to roll out across Warriewood, Dee Why, Byron Bay, Surfers Paradise, as well as Auckland thanks to a rather hefty $50 million investment.

Five Guys, on the other hand, has enjoyed a bit of a head start. In addition to the Penrith location that kicked things off well over a year ago and the relatively-new Sydney CBD location, Obama’s favourite joint has recently touched down in Melbourne’s inner-city suburb of Southbank.

Wendy's Plans To Open "Hundreds" Of Stores In Australia (And Not Everybody Is Thrilled)

Now that you’ve read everything we know about Wendy’s Australia so far, check out where you’ll find the best burgers in Sydney here and where you’ll find the best burgers in Melbourne here.

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


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