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Wendy's needs no introduction for most Americans. The fast food chain first arrived in the US in 1969, with its first restaurant opening in Columbus, Ohio. The chain was founded by Dave Thomas, who actually appeared in over 800 commercials for the brand until his passing in 2002. Now, in the year that marks its 50th anniversary, Wendy's is planning an international expansion, including a return to the UK.
Wendy's last tenure in the UK saw a flagship branch on London's Shaftesbury Avenue, but at the turn of the Millenium the company began withdrawing the brand from Britain.
At the end of 2018, Wendy's was the World's third largest burger fast food chain, behind McDonalds and Burger King, and as the firm looks to expand its overseas operations, talk of a return to the UK emerged at Wendy's Investor Day 2019, which took place earlier in October.
The UK has quickly become a popular move for American brands, with Five Guys, Shake Shack, Wahlburgers and a number of other US companies entering the British market. Wendy's see themselves as ready to compete in the busy American food market on this side of the Pond, with Abigail Pringle, Wendy's International President, confirming that the brand's biggest Twitter following outside of North America comes from the UK. Speaking at the Investor Day, Ms Pringle said of the UK that "We believe their overall growth in the quick service restaurant segment – and hamburger specifically – is growing and we believe we can be a challenger brand in that market and have great success. We also know that great American brands have been successful. Burger brands have been unbelievably successful there. But we believe that we can challenge those brands. The United Kingdom will be our beachhead to European expansion."
Although no locations have been confirmed, media outlets have been speculating that up to 20 branches could be opened, some as early as in 2020. It's a good time to have a taste for American food in the UK!