Wendy’s announced on Monday a new franchise recruitment initiative, “Own Your Opportunity,” that will create franchising pathways for underrepresented populations, specifically among women and people of color.

“To be the best Wendy’s we can be, we must make available opportunities for everyone who wants to grow with us,” says president and CEO Todd Penegor. “The Wendy’s brand truly thrives when our System reflects the diversity of our customers and restaurant teams, and when our franchisees are highly engaged and growing together with us.”

In 2021, Wendy’s announced new goals to advance the company’s corporate responsibility platform, “Good Done Right.” Included was a goal to increase representation of underrepresented populations among leadership and management, as well as diversity of franchisees. Wendy’s believes over time, the Own Your Opportunity initiative will help advance this goal by providing more pathways for all, including diverse franchisees who want to join the Wendy’s family.

To jumpstart Own Your Opportunity, Wendy’s has:

  • Created more competitive liquidity and net worth requirements for all new franchise applicants.
  • Expanded economic opportunities for new franchisees working together with our three preferred U.S. financial lenders—City National Bank, Huntington National Bank, and Wintrust Franchise Finance
  • Supported First Women’s Bank, the only women-founded, women-owned, and women-led commercial bank in the U.S. with a strategic focus on serving the women’s economy, by becoming a Mission Partner. This partnership underscores the company’s continued commitment to bridging the gender gap in lending and empowering women entrepreneurs.
  • Created a build-to-suit development fund to help fuel growth in underdeveloped trade areas, where Wendy’s secures and builds restaurant locations and hands over turnkey solutions to franchisees. Priority will be given to those franchisee candidates who cannot otherwise access the required capital for new restaurant development.
  • Introduced new innovative restaurant formats, which can help enable ownership in the Wendy’s system with a lower initial financial commitment.
  • Conducted franchise surveys and held various focus group discussions and business reviews to help identify tools and resources most beneficial in helping existing franchisees thrive and grow.


“We believe that increasing diversity of thought and experience will bring new ideas and innovations to Wendy’s, which will help us continue to grow together for decades to come,” says Abigail Pringle,  president of international markets and chief development officer. “When you become a Wendy’s franchisee, you own more than a great restaurant—you Own Your Opportunity, with a path to prosper and the prospect to lead within a thriving and beloved restaurant brand.”

Fast Food, Franchising, News, Wendy's