The war of the Wendy’s has started, pitting a plucky little Aussie chain with 120 outlets against an American giant with more than 7,000 stores around the world.
They both sell fast food and they’re both called Wendy’s, but one is Australian and specialises in ice cream and the other is American and famous for square burgers.
‘There can’t be two Wendy’s,’ said Dean Tully, owner of the Aussie Wendy’s store in Whyalla, South Australia.
Based on economics, the burger joint could be considered the potential favourite to win the junk food war with the US chain pocketing a turnover of $3.1billion in 2022 while its Aussie rival’s revenue was $94.7million.
Australian Wendy’s Milk Bar, which started in South Australia in 1979 is also 10 years younger than the US Wendy’s, which kicked off operations in 1969, in Columbus, Ohio.
The war of the Wendy’s has started, pitting a plucky little Aussie chain (pictured) with 120 outlets against an American giant with more than 7,000 stores around the world
It’s coming though, with its chief development officer Abigail Pringle holding online meetings with potential franchisee investors, amid plans to open hundreds of stores.
‘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,’ Mr Tully told Guardian Australia.
‘We don’t have two Hungry Jack’s. We don’t have two McDonald’s. We are Wendy’s.’
Ms Pringle said Wendy’s believes ‘Australia is a lucrative market for long-term growth’
‘We think that the Australian market could be hundreds of restaurants,’ she added.
Ms Pringle has been with Wendy’s for 21 years and said the chain could offer incentives such as co-investment to entice Australian franchisees.
‘We are putting money on our balance sheet, we are finding the land, we are designing, building and handing you the keys,’ she told The Australian Financial Review.
‘We haven’t yet said that we’re going to do that in Australia, but all I would share with you is we are actively doing that in the US and in Canada.’
Wendy’s, the US version, (pictured) is best known for its square burgers, French fries and ‘Frosty’ dessert
There is no set opening date or location for the first restaurant but with the Australian fast food market expected to expand by 32 per cent to $8.7billion over the next five years, according to Euromonitor data, Wendy’s is keen to get the ball rolling.
Ms Pringle said Wendy’s was looking at a master franchisee model in Australia – which means a partner company that would handle most of the Australian business.
‘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,’ she said.
Established examples includes Collins Foods which operates KFC and Taco Bell and Restaurant Brands which runs Pizza Hut and Carl’s Jr.
Supatreats, based in the Sydney suburb of Parramatta, is the master franchisee of Wendy’s Milk Bar.
The US version of Wendy’s – the third biggest burger chain after McDonald’s and Burger King (known as Hungry Jack’s in Australia) – is best known for its square hamburgers, French fries and ‘Frosty’ frozen dairy desserts.
It differentiates itself from McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s by having a strictly made-to-order policy and doesn’t use heat lamps to keep food warm.
Professor Michael Handler, a trade mark law expert at UNSW said the two Wendy’s will probably come to an agreement to peacefully coexist Down Under.
Chief development officer Abigail Pringle (pictured) said Australia is a lucrative market and the company coudl offer incentives such as co-investment to get the ball rolling
They already do so in New Zealand, where the Aussie chain operates as Wendy’s Supa Sundaes.
Prof Handler said that given one store focuses on ice-creams and the other on burgers, there won’t be much confusion.
‘I can imagine that Australian consumers won’t be too confused and can differentiate the longstanding ice-cream business from the big international burger chain, so it’s plausible to think that the two can coexist,’ he said.
Daily Mail Australia contacted Supatreats for this story, but the owner did not wish to comment.