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Franchise 500 2023
2024 Franchise 500 Rank
#17 Ranked #15 last year
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Initial investment
$321K - $4.6M
Units as of 2023
7,127 Increase 4.6% over 3 years

Wendy’s Franchise

Few fast-food restaurant chains have been as successful as Wendy's. For that reason alone, you might consider starting a Wendy's franchise as a new business owner, especially if you want to build a quick-service restaurant (QSR) business without worrying about massive branding efforts or customer base building.

But what does it take to start a Wendy’s franchise, and how much do you pay? Keep reading to learn more.

Why should you start a Wendy’s franchise?

The original Wendy's restaurant was opened in 1969 by Dave Thomas, who founded the company in Columbus, Ohio. The company got its name from his daughter’s nickname and quickly gained recognition for its quality food and fast prep times. 

Wendy’s offers hamburgers, fries and famous Frosty desserts that rival the menus of other fast food franchises (such as Burger King or McDonald’s) in the U.S., Canada and even in foreign countries and cities like Dublin, Ireland.

Today, approximately 94% of Wendy’s locations are franchised, meaning would-be entrepreneurs have many opportunities to join this business. 

There are lots of good reasons to start a Wendy's franchise, including:

  • Wendy’s brand recognition worldwide is among the strongest in the fast-food industry. Wendy’s franchise owners can benefit from having a pre-established customer base virtually anywhere they open a location.
  • Franchisees get to decide on prices, restaurant hours, staff wages, uniforms and more (including interior decoration for their real estate), as stated in the franchise agreement.
  • The initial investment cost for a Wendy’s franchise is relatively affordable, though still over $1 million in many locations. 
  • Wendy’s provides extensive training for all new Wendy’s franchisees. With this franchisor, you can expect to be guided through the store opening process from start to finish.
  • While Wendy's usually recommends against absentee ownership for new franchised locations, it doesn't forbid it outright. Therefore, you don't have to be a Wendy's restaurant manager if you don't want to, provided you can find someone capable of taking the job.

Does Wendy’s offer territory exclusivity?

Unfortunately, Wendy’s does not provide territory exclusivity for any franchisees. This franchisor approves of competition, so you’ll need to choose your store location carefully to avoid having multiple restaurants competing against each other in the same spot.

That said, Wendy’s does help new franchisees with market research and locating the perfect place for their retail restaurant locations. With this assistance, you should be able to find the ideal spot to break ground at your new restaurant.

Related: Why Wendy’s and McDonald’s Still Don’t Have Veggie Burgers

What support resources does Wendy’s offer its new franchisees? 

Should you choose to franchise with Wendy’s, remember that you’ll take advantage of significant support resources as a business owner. 

These resources are available, in part, due to the overall Wendy’s approach to corporate responsibility and social wellness. The corporate team focuses on respect, equality and fair treatment of team members.

As a result, you can rest assured that Wendy’s will help you assemble a solid management and leadership team, including managers, assistant managers and front-line workers. This can be particularly beneficial if you don’t have much experience staffing a restaurant or running a business.

Furthermore, Wendy’s provides good support for different levels of investment options. Whether you have a ton of investment capital or only a small amount, you should be able to find a way to invest in Wendy’s as a franchisee in some way.

When you join the Wendy’s system, you also join the professional franchise community. This includes the Wendy’s “next generation” of franchisees, offering you a robust social support network and guidance team to answer any questions.

Other support resources you can expect when becoming a Wendy’s franchisee include:

  • Access to marketing support, including add templates, national and social media advertising, regional advertising and email marketing support.
  • Assistance setting and maintaining safety and security procedures.
  • Grand opening assistance to ensure that your new store succeeds from day one.
  • Access unique corporate resources, like a business newsletter, a toll-free line and online support.
  • Lease negotiation help if you find the perfect spot for your Wendy’s restaurant but need help securing the location for your business.
  • Proprietary software and field operations support.

On top of that, new franchisees can join various meetings and conventions. Through these meetings and conventions, you'll learn the strategies successful Wendy's franchisees use to thrive. 

Plus, you can make friends and grow your professional network, potentially opening up new business opportunities.

That doesn’t even touch on the training you’ll receive as a new Wendy’s store owner, as mentioned above. Read on for more information about what you can expect from the training modules for your Wendy’s franchise.

Related: Wendy’s Amazing Social Media Team Shares the Secrets to Its Success

How much does starting a Wendy’s franchise cost?

Of course, you need to know how much it costs to start a Wendy’s franchise before signing on the dotted line. The liquid assets and application fees may require you to contact lenders for financing to start this franchise business.

For starters, you’ll need to pay an initial franchise fee of about $50,000. Your total initial investment can run from anywhere between $330,000 and $3.7 million; it all depends on the location of your store, how much equipment it needs and similar factors.

This franchisor requires that each applicant have a net worth of $1 million, with at least $500,000 in cash, to ensure that new franchisees can meet these requirements. The royalty fees are reasonable: 4% for the royalty fee and 4% for the ad royalty fee. 

Each franchise agreement you sign lasts for 20 years. You can renew your franchise ownership terms if they benefit you and you want your relationship to continue. 

Get enough experience, and Wendy’s may allow you to oversee or manage multiple locations. As one of the oldest fast-food institutions, Wendy’s restaurants likely aren’t going away anytime soon.

Does Wendy’s provide financial aid? 

While Wendy’s doesn’t provide financial aid, it has several beneficial relationships with third-party lending sources. Through these sources, you can get financing to cover your franchise fee, inventory, startup costs and equipment payments.

You can even get financial aid to help with payroll in the earliest months and years of your business’s operations.

Related: Wendy’s Roasts Jack in the Box by Making Fun of McDonald’s: ‘Somehow Not the Worst’

What kind of training is required to open a new Wendy’s franchise? 

To ensure you hit the ground running at your Wendy's franchise location, you must complete an extensive set of initial training modules. 

These include 72 hours of classroom training, which takes approximately 20 to 24 weeks. Throughout this training program, you'll complete online, classroom, virtual instructor-led and on-the-job training assignments.

You’ll have to visit certified training restaurants throughout the United States to complete your training. 

Note that you have to complete these training programs even if you don’t plan to be the general manager of your store; franchisors require all franchisees to know how to run a Wendy’s restaurant at a bare minimum.

Still, this isn’t exactly a bad thing. With this extensive training, you’ll know how to run your business successfully from the start and what to look for in qualified, capable employees.

The on-the-job training is the more significant part of the training sequence. It’s not uncommon to take about 900 hours, especially if you plan to be a manager who works at your Wendy’s restaurant in person. During the training, you’ll be assigned a dedicated mentor who will walk you through what it takes to run a Wendy’s restaurant successfully.

Afterward, you’ll also get additional training resources to quickly bring new employees up to speed and ensure that your restaurant is staffed with the best people possible at all times. 

These training efforts and resources are worthwhile; compared to other restaurant franchisors, Wendy’s clearly shows that it’s committed to ensuring new franchisees feel confident and capable.

Related: Wendy’s Has Officially Entered the Metaverse. Here’s How You Can Visit the ‘Wendyverse.

Start a Wendy’s franchise today

As you can see, starting a Wendy’s franchise could be a great idea. Consider starting a new Wendy’s franchise if your market has potential.

Check out Entrepreneur’s other articles for more information about Wendy’s and other franchise opportunities.

Find Your Perfect Franchise

Company Overview

About Wendy's

Industry Food
Related Categories Hamburgers, Food: Quick Service
Founded 1969
Parent Company Wendy's Int'l. Inc.
Leadership Todd Penegor, President & CEO
Corporate Address One Dave Thomas Blvd.
Dublin, OH 43017
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1971 (53 years)
# of employees at HQ 950
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchises throughout the US.

This company is offering new franchises worldwide.

# of Units 7,127 (as of 2023)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Wendy's franchise.

Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees

Here's what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.

Initial Franchise Fee Information Circle
Initial Investment Information Circle
$320,500 - $4,622,000
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
Term of Agreement Information Circle
20 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing Wendy's has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

Training & Support Offered

Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.

On-The-Job Training 900 hours
Classroom Training 72 hours
Ongoing Support
Purchasing Co-ops
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? No
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
Take our quick quiz to find your ideal franchise

Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Wendy's landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022