Wendy’s UK – Do They Franchise?

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wendy's uk

For many Wendy’s epitomises what it means to be American. In 1969, the iconic brand was founded by Dave Thomas in Ohio and is now the world's third-biggest hamburger fast food chain. With more than 6,500 locations, Wendy’s comes in just after Burger King and McDonald's.

Of the 6,537 locations, 330 are company-owned, and the remaining 6,207 restaurants are franchised, with the majority situated in North America. As a franchise, Wendy's retains control over the outside store appearance, the quality of food served, and the menu. However, franchisees can have a say in the hours of operation, interior decor, pricing, staff uniforms, and wages.

Read more about: Franchise Definition

A bit of history

The idea for Wendy's hamburgers was inspired by a trip that Dave Thomas took to his hometown in Michigan. Here they sold square burgers and thick malt shakes. Thomas took this idea and served square patties that had corners that stuck out so customers could see the quality of the meat when he opened his first restaurant.

Thomas chose the name Wendy's after his fourth child who was called Melinda Lou Wendy Thomas. The first Ohio restaurant had photographs of Wendy all over the walls. Three years after opening, the first franchised restaurant opened in Indiana in 1972.

Wendy’s is now renowned throughout America for its square hamburgers, sea salt fries, and signature frozen dairy dessert, Frosty. But can we enjoy these famous dishes at Wendy’s UK?

Wendy’s UK locations

Unfortunately, being able to own a Wendy’s UK franchise is not available at the moment. However, the dream almost came a reality in 2000 when Wendy’s looked to purchase properties and open franchises in London.

But high property and operating costs put Wendy’s UK on hold, and other fast food brands such as McDonald’s took its place on the high streets in the capital.

Wendy’s then went quiet on its plans to expand into the UK for almost two decades.

Wendy’s UK

All this changed, however, in July 2017 when Wendy’s returned to London to host a one-day pop-up event. Wendy’s famous hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes were on the menu, and even though the event only lasted four hours, it gives hope that Wendy’s UK will become a reality sooner, rather than later.

And it would seem that it’s a perfect time for Wendy’s to consider a move to the UK. Other American hamburger franchises such as Five Guys have had massive success since launching its first store in London on Independence Day 2013.

Other burger franchise opportunities

If you can’t wait for Wendy’s UK to become a thing, then you may want to consider investing in one of the following burger franchises.

Loaded Burgers

Loaded Burgers is one of the fast-growing gourmet burger brands developed by five brothers who were tired of only being able to find skinny, unappetising burgers around London. In contrast, Loaded Burgers offers fresh, delicious burgers at a reasonable price. This highly successful brand is one to watch for the future and is ideal for prospective franchisees looking to deliver a premium product at prices that won't put customers off.

If you’d like to join this exciting franchise, you’ll need to make a minimum investment of £20,000. For this initial start-up cost, you’ll be granted rights to use the Loaded Burger image, name and identity, be provided with equipment for your restaurant, and receive vast amounts of support and assistance. This includes an initial training period, help to select a restaurant location, and advice on marketing and growth strategies.


Wimpy is another iconic burger brand that’s looking to expand throughout the UK by attracting new franchisees. Wimpy was the first fast-food chain to open in the UK and once boasted over 500 stores nationwide. While the rise of American giants like McDonalds and KFC have since dwarfed that number, Wimpy has put into place a carefully considered and expertly branded plan to expand through a powerful franchising model. With 60 years of experience in the fast food sector, the franchise is ideally placed to provide franchisees with all the support and assistance they require to succeed.

A minimum personal investment of £220,000 is required to open a new Wimpy franchise. If your budget doesn't stretch that far, you may want to consider setting up a Wimpy Express unit for just £80,000. Both of these figures include the £10,000 franchise fee and will entitle you to trade under the Wimpy name. You’ll attend a two-week training course and receive ongoing support to give you the best possible chance of growing your business.


Rocket’s unique approach sees it targeting the fast food market with high-quality food that's quick to serve and tastes delicious. Franchisees get to choose between two distinct restaurant models. The first – Eddie’s Rocket’s – makes the most of retro American diner décor to create a high-energy atmosphere that’s conducive to the type of dining experience most of their customers desire. The second – Rocket’s Restaurants – is better suited to smaller locations, where space is a premium, and the focus needs to be on providing a better burger every time.

If you’re interested in becoming a franchisee, the investment you’ll need to make will be dependent on which restaurant model you choose. For the smaller Rocket’s Restaurants option, a minimum investment of anywhere between €200,000 and €600,000 can be expected. For the larger Eddie’s Rocket’s restaurant, you’ll require somewhere between €400,000 and €1.4 million, depending on the size and location of your chosen property.

Whichever option you choose, you’ll have access a wide variety of support systems, including assistance in selecting commercial premises, training programmes, and ongoing business support.


After a period of stagnant growth, Wendy’s is planning on going through a period of massive expansion. The franchise model, which has served Wendy’s well since 1972, will continue to be used for future growth. And signs are looking good that part of the expansion plans will result in Wendy’s popping up all over the UK.

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