Wendy’s Disputes Revenue Downturn

Officials at the Dublin-based headquarters of Wendy’s International say reports that first quarter revenues are down 71% from the same time a year ago are misleading. Wendy’s stockholders Thursday morning heard from an upbeat CEO and company officials at the annual stockholders meeting.

After hearing from enthusiastic company president Kerrii Anderson one stockholder left the meeting in an aggressive mood.

“I was kind of surprised that she didn’t get up and say, ‘Move over McDonald and Burger King. Here we come!’”

But another investor, Ray Vawter, says he did not know how to reconcile news reports that first quarter profits were down 71% from the same time a year ago.

“Well, I don’t know, I’m a little confused over the way it was presented this morning,” Vawter says. “From what I saw, I can’t really answer your question, really.”

The nation’s third largest hamburger chain has been struggling recently. Only 11 new restaurants opened during the quarter while 87 were closed during the past year. That leaves the total number of restaurants at 6,658. The company also spun-off its Tim Hortons coffee and pastries chain and sold off its Baja Fresh chain. Without the Tim Hortons revenue Wendy’s spokesman Denny Lynch says Wendy’s overall revenue would naturally decline.

“When you take the Tim Hortons part out of the business, then we made 14.5 million this year versus a loss of 5.9 million last year in the first quarter,” Lynch says.

The price of Wendy’s stock was up about 15% Thursday morning after news that a special committee has been formed to investigate what the company calls “strategic options.” Led by board chairman James Pickett, members may revise the Company’s strategic plan, make changes to its capital structure, or possibly sell or merge the company with another. But company spokesman Lynch warned against speculation that a sale is eminent.

“The board of directors has the responsibility to look out for the best interest of the shareholders,” Lynch says. “And the board has created a special committee to look at all options that the company can consider and so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions as to what options they may chose. Because they’ll look at all options.”

Wendy’s says no time frame will be established and no public announcements will be made about the committee’s work.