In 2019, Wendy’s ranked among the leading quick-service restaurants (QSR) in terms of systemwide sales in the United States. But just like McDonald’s and Burger King, two of the brand’s biggest competitors, Wendy’s is not only selling its products across America but also entering new markets and expanding geographic reach. International expansion began in 1975 with the opening of Wendy’s first location in Ontario, Canada. Today, over 50 years later, Wendy's operates more than 6,700 quick-service restaurants worldwide. Indonesia and Puerto Rico are the countries with the highest number of Wendy's establishments outside of North America.
While the total number of Wendy’s restaurants has remained stable over the past few years, the number of company-owned restaurants has declined significantly. Today, a majority of branches are operated by franchisees as part of Wendy’s franchise business model. Other structural changes that the company has undergone in recent years include the launch of a mobile app to accommodate digital ordering, payment, and delivery, as well as a wide-ranging brand transformation that saw the modernization of Wendy’s restaurants in 2012. Looking at customer experiences and their overall satisfaction with the brand proved to be successful, as Wendy’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) score reached its peak around that time. In 2019, the franchise received a score of 77, which was below the limited-service restaurant average, but above market leader McDonald’s ACSI score. How diners will rate the brand in 2020 will likely be influenced by the restaurants’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as restaurant closures and supply shortages have already taken a toll on the hamburger chain and the U.S. quick-service restaurant industry as a whole.