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The Wendy's Company is putting muscle behind its technology innovation focus with today's opening of 90 Degrees Labs near the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Located at 1562 North High Street, the labs will provide an open, collaborative environment for Wendy's employees to explore forward-looking ways to utilize technology for key business initiatives.
The facility will house about 25 Information Technology and Operations professionals, who will focus on opportunities to spur innovation, while working closely with employees from Wendy's Dublin Restaurant Support Center.
The labs' first efforts will center on consumer-facing opportunities involving Wendy's restaurants, such as mobile ordering, pay, and other digital experiences. Efforts also will include strengthening support systems like optimizing business intelligence and internal communications technologies.
"Our goal is to create an agile working environment, with a dedicated cross-functional team, that will enable us to take greater advantage of rapidly evolving technology in all areas of our business," says Emil Brolick, president and CEO, The Wendy's Company. "The labs will be an important asset in Wendy's continuing transformation, as we work to drive growth by making our restaurants more inviting and by giving consumers greater access to our brand through technology."
Encompassing more than 8,200 square feet accommodating nearly 90 people, the interior of the facility includes a simulated Wendy's restaurant, moveable "stand-up" work stations and a layout that encourages interaction and communication. The engaging atmosphere is progressively casual yet professional, like work environments typically found in Silicon Valley.
"Through proximity, the facility is intended to inherit energy and gain perspective from the neighboring university campus, as we work to develop differentiating, interactive digital experiences for our customers, employees, and franchise system," said Drew Domecq, vice president of Enterprise Solutions, who will lead day-to-day operation of 90 Degrees Labs.
The opening is the latest in a series of major investments made in Ohio — the birthplace of Wendy's — over the last four years under Brolick's leadership. The Company — with considerable support from the State and the City of Dublin — has renovated its Restaurant Support Center and opened the Thomas Conference Center. In addition to opening a new flagship restaurant in Dublin in late 2013, the Company and its franchisees have generated significant local economic impact through the reimaging and new construction of more than 50 restaurants to date throughout Ohio with Wendy's bold, ultra-modern design.
As part of its commitment to corporate responsibility, Wendy's also actively supports the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national public charity, and its tireless efforts to find, permanent loving homes for the many children in the foster care system who are waiting for adoption. Efforts include providing funding support, through the Foundation's signature Wendy's Wonderful Kids program, for full-time adoption recruiters in every state, D.C., and six Canadian provinces, including seven recruiters in Ohio. In total, these efforts have resulted in more than 4,700 foster care adoptions, with more than 600 in process.