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Wendy's sales climb amid transformation push

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 4:15 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012

He noted Thursday that it was the "perceived quality" that customers care about — not the actual ingredients.

"We believe we can be more astute about that than we have been in the past," he said.

Another big part of Wendy's transformation is the remodeling of its outdated restaurants with a more modern, inviting look. Brolick, who was hired about a year ago, says that new look is needed to signal the chain's transformation to customers, as well as justify the higher prices. The look, which has a variety of seating options, light wood and flat-screen TVs, is intended to make people feel that they can relax to enjoy their meal — not unlike the atmosphere at Panera.

Wendy's said it plans to accelerate remodeling of company-operated restaurants in the months ahead and recently introduced an incentive program to entice franchisees to remodel. Starting in March, it's also rolling out the first update to its logo since 1983.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Wendy's reported a bigger loss, in part because of a charge related to the early payoff of debt. It lost $26.2 million, or 7 cents per share. It posted a loss of $4 million, or a penny per share, a year ago when it incurred costs related to the spinoff of the Arby's chain.

Not including one-time items, Wendy's said it earned 3 cents per share. Analysts expected 5 cents.

Total revenue rose 4 percent to $636.3 million, which also fell short of the $640.6 million Wall Street expected.

The company declared an increase in its quarterly dividend to 4 cents per share from 2 cents per share.

The Wendy's Co. has more than 6,500 restaurants, primarily in North America.