Burger Chain Wendy’s to Open UK Delivery Kitchen Chain

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The American burger chain Wendy’s will open a chain of “dark kitchens” in the United Kingdom to meet the growing demand of the home delivery market.

The company, which is returning to the UK more than 20 years after retreating, said it will open up to 10 of the delivery kitchens by the end of this year, some of which could be managed at from trucks.

Abigail Pringle, president of international affairs at Wendy’s, said the dark kitchen sites, run through a franchise with specialist operator Reef, would be part of a plan to have up to 400 outlets in the UK .

Wendy’s opened its first new UK restaurant in Reading in June and plans to have five more restaurants by the end of the year. Outlets are expected to open in Stratford, east London, as well as Oxford and Croydon. The company is also talking to 30 potential restaurant franchise partners to help with its expansion.

Pringle said the first store traded well, with customers tending to order the products Wendy’s was best known for, including Frosty, a frozen dessert first launched in 1969.

She said the Dark Kitchens, which would initially all be located in London, would make a “significant contribution” to the company’s growth plans in the UK under “multi-channel consumer access.”

“UK delivery [market] has continued to grow from year to year. Humans love convenience and it will always be part of what they are looking for.

She said the Dark Kitchens food, which will premiere open “in a few weeks,” will be delivered through Reef’s partnerships with leading specialists, including Uber Eats and Deliveroo.

Wendy’s use of delivery kitchens in the UK comes after testing the concept in the US and Canada. In Canada, he also partners with Reef, which runs kitchens from what he calls “vessels,” which can be trucks, shipping containers, or repurposed warehouses or stores.

In the UK, Pringle said Wendy’s would consider a variety of locations, potentially including trucks, railroad arches and industrial zone units.

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Pringle said Wendy’s return to the UK would be more successful than her previous attempt in the 1980s, as the company was “fully committed to long-term growth in the UK”, including significant investments in company-owned restaurants.

Wendy’s is one of the first big brands to try dark kitchens on a large scale in the UK, where they have proven controversial due to concerns about working conditions.

However, McDonald’s tested one site in Hounslow in 2019 and Wagamama has around five locations with plans to open more.


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