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Wendy’s Doubles Down On Smart Design

Wendy’s is drawing on a cap-ex budget of $75-$80 million this year to unveil new smaller Smart Design 2.0 units and continue its Image Activation program on older stores.

“The new designs enable the company to build on half an acre or even a quarter of an acre if needed,” says Abigail Pringle, Wendy’s chief development officer. The units cost about $300,000 less than the company’s standard building.

The chain has upped the ante with the minimally sized Smart 55 design, which targets an additional $150,000 in savings, some of it through use of high-efficiency HVAC, LED lighting and Energy Star foodservice equipment. The 2,600 sq.ft. footprint includes a kitchen/prep/storage area measuring between 950-1,000 sq.ft.

Making old units look new again remains a priority; last year, the chain and its franchisees reimaged 551 restaurants in North America, 30 more than in 2016. Nearly 44% of the 6,600-unit global system has been updated, slightly ahead of expectations, and on target with the plan to update 10% of the global system on an annual basis through 2020. By that time, the company anticipates an estimated global restaurant count of 7,250.

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