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Why Are There No Wendy’s in Europe?

There are more than six thousand Wendy’s restaurants worldwide. However, it wasn’t easy for them to spread out to different countries because of high operation costs. But did you know there are no Wendy’s in Europe?

A Dutch businessman Raymond Warrens opened a snack bar named after his daughter Wendy in 1988. In 1995, he registered his right to use the name exclusively in the Benelux region. This is the reason why Wendy’s USA can’t open stores in Europe.

Wendy’s in Europe 

In the 1980s, Wendy’s USA opened stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, then known as the Benelux region. The stores were short-lived, and the company decided to close them after some time. A few years later, a Dutch businessman named Raymond Warrens opened a snack bar named after his daughter Wendy. And in 1995, Warrens registered the name of his mom-and-pop shop and was awarded the trademark for it. (Source: Mashed)

Wendy’s Fish and Chips has been operating in Koningstraat ever since and has been a local favorite in the town full of hole-in-the-wall establishments. The snack bar offers similar meals to the US fast food and serves a mishmash of Dutch, German, and Denglisch meals. (Source: Thrillist)

History of Wendy’s USA

Dave Thomas, a local from Columbus, Ohio, founded and opened the first Wendy’s shop on November 15, 1969. Thomas, who named his shop after his daughter, aimed to provide his customers with fast, hearty food in a convenient space great for families.

A year later, Thomas opened a second shop in Columbus. The second shop had the first modern drive-thru window amongst competing fast food shops then. Soon after, the brand quickly grew, opening around five hundred restaurants reaching as far as Canada. In 1979, Wendy’s expanded to more than 1,500 shops, all the way to Mexico. It also was the first fast-food restaurant that introduced the concept of a salad bar. (Source: Ohio History Central)

In 1976, Wendy’s went public, issuing 1 million stocks in NASDAQ for $28 per share. It soon aired its first commercial in 1977 amidst the other fast-food giants. And by 1981, Wendy’s joined the New York Stock Exchange, with the trading symbol WEN.

In 1990, then-president George H.W. Bush asked founder Dave Thomas to be the spokesperson for the national adoption initiative. This led Thomas to establish the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in 1992.

The company continued to expand, adding about five hundred shops each year in the early eighties. The Wendy’s chain continued to expand, purchasing Tim Horton’s in 1996 then Baja Fresh Mexican Grill in 2002. In 2008, the company acquired Arby’s. Today, there are more than 6,500 Wendy’s stores operating worldwide. (Source: Wendy’s)

Wendy’s vs The Warrens 

The fast-food giant sued Warrens in 2000 and lost. It has continued to do so in the hopes of gaining a foothold in the European market ever since. Warrens only had the right to use the name Wendy’s in the Benelux region, but when the European Union formed, his rights extended to cover all of the European states under the union.

With Brexit, the American Wendy’s established a store in Reading, England, since the UK is no longer part of the European Union. The Reading store is the first of five stores lined up to open in 2021.


Wendy’s USA is also looking into a different expansion model to cater to the European market. It is currently building up its ghost or dark kitchens across the globe. It has already partnered with dark kitchens in Toronto and India, where rents are high, and spaces come at a premium. (Souce: Mashed)

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