Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where's The Beef? Wendy's Opening in Sandy Springs

Wendy's may have moved its corporate headquarters back to Dublin, Ohio, but it still loves its one-time home of Sandy Springs. In the works for over a year, Wendy's will open a new freestanding location in an outparcel of Perimeter Pointe, along Abernathy Road in Sandy Springs in February. Oddly enough, the restaurant is opening a stone's throw from Arby's headquarters, a building still home to about 50 Wendy's corporate employees.

Wendy's merged with Sandy Springs-based
Arby's in September 2008, but this past summer, amidst difficulties in creating synergies between the two brands and executives seeing more growth potential for Wendy's, Arby's was sold. Arby's was purchased by Atlanta-based FOCUS Brands (Roark Capital), the corporate owner of Moe's Southwest Grill, Auntie Anne's Pretzels, Carvel, Cinnabon, McAlister's Deli, Corner Bakery and others.

I recently watched a very informative CNBC special on Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy', and learned a number of interesting facts. Among the more interesting, the late Dave Thomas, like the late Steve Jobs, was adopted, but found great success in the business world. Additionally, Thomas started his career in restaurants with Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) At one point he owned four KFCs, but after making them successful, he sold them back to corporate and went on to open the first Wendy's in Columbus, Ohio in November 1969. I was also reminded that Wendy's burgers are square, not round, because at Wendy's, they "don't cut corners."

Though Wendy's does have a loyal following, it remains the world's third largest fast food hamburger chain with nearly 7000 locations, trailing Burger King's 12,000+ locations and McDonald's 31,000+ locations. Last year, they replaced their french fries with "natural cut fries with sea salt" and most recently replaced their existing hamburger lineup with "Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Burger." The new burger is still square but is a thicker patty with a buttered bun, crinkle-cut pickles and extra cheese. Instead of white onions, the veggies are now red.

McDonald's is the only other fast food burger eatery with a freestanding location in the area. It opened in a former bank location at the corner of Ashford-Dunwoody Road and Perimeter Center West. Within Perimeter Pointe Shopping Center, there is a free standing Chick-Fil-A restaurant, though it's located on the Mt. Vernon Highway side, near The Sports Authority, whereas the new Wendy's is located in front of the Regal Cinemas.

Wendy's recently announced plans to create stores using a new store design, taking a page out of the McDonald's book. McDonald's has begun renovations at more than half of its U.S. stores and will continue to open new stores with its fresher, more updated look. The new Wendy's executives refer to the new location as "ultra modern." Thus far, only a handful have opened but I imagine the new location in Sandy Springs will sport the new look. I reached out to Wendy's communications department for comment on the new location, but multiple messages went unanswered.

I spoke with friends at neighboring Goodwill and Fidelity Bank, both excited for the opening of another affordable lunch option. Do you live in the area? Are you excited about the opening? Do you favor the Golden Arches to the square patty? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Anonymous said...

Not to be anal, but both Arby's HQ and Wendy's Atlanta employees are in Sandy Springs, not Dunwoody...

Atlantan99 said...

You are right! The change has been made. Thanks for the quick catch and for reading the blog.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I love this concept! I have been waiting for Wendy's to come to Atlanta for so long. They have the best burgers and a delicious shake called a Frosty.
When will the La Parilla open in Toco Hill shopping Center?

Atlantan99 said...

Ahh yes, the Frosty, now available in both chocolate AND vanilla!

I'm told La Parrilla will open by the end of the month in Toco Hills.

SB said...

I work next door and I know my co-workers are glad to have Wendy's in walking distance.

On the Sandy Springs vs Dunwoody issue, I believe this area is still called Atlanta by USPS. I recently saw that Sandy Springs is petitioning to have USPS officially change it. As an office location, all these companies should prefer to keep the Atlanta official address.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but if these companies want an "Atlanta" address, they should relocate their offices to the city of Atlanta.

TheJohnP said...

In Embry Hills a long standing Arby's/Arby's-Mrs. Winners/Arby's-Wendy's is now becoming a Wendy's.

The Arby's-Wendy's combo had it's good qualities, like getting a Frosty with curly fries. And bad qualities, like you couldn't get potato cakes after breakfast or a baked potato at all.

For awhile it didn't appear it was going to remodel to a Wendy's as it sat empty for quite some time. My guess is corporate was seeing if traffic would flow to other area locations or not. Guess it didn't because they've finally started working on the remodel and hiring a staff.

Although given the preference, I wish it had stayed an Arby's...

Atlantan99 said...

Hey TheJohnP,

I know exactly where you are talking bout! I too wondered what would happen with that property given they co-branded it with Wendy's just as Arby's was sold it seemed. I don't recall the Mrs. Winners but there sure were plenty of them in town (many still sitting empty).

I really hope the new Wendy's in SS is the "Ultra Modern" store, looks a whole lot better.

Thanks as always for the comment and for reading the blog.

Simon said...

Does anyone know why the Wendy's at 6350 Powers Ferry Rd on the other side of Sandy Springs closed a few weeks ago and if anything is planned for that space?

Atlantan99 said...

Hey Simon,

I have thus far been unable to find anything that is looking to open on that parcel. It is my understanding the Wendy's closures was a business decision.

Thanks for the question and for reading the blog!

Anonymous said...

Almost every Wendy's I've visited in the past year (usually a stop on a road trip) has been absolutely dirty and disgusting. They do not keep their stores clean. They do not hire people even at the caliber of Burger King. Almost every one I have been to has had workers who get the orders wrong, use inappropriate language, and make cleaning the tables a DIY activity.

Wendy's needs to step it up a notch, big time!

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