Wendy's, founded by Dave Thomas on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio, is an American international fast food restaurant chain that is well-known for their slogan "Quality Is Our Recipe". Wendy's merged with Triarc Companies Inc., a publicly traded company and the parent company of Arby's on April 24, 2008, to be Wendy's/Arby's Group but eventually known as The Wendy's Company in 2011. Although Wendy's has only been around for 48 years while another hamburger fast food chains such as Whataburger has been around for 68 years and Fatburger has been around for about 71 years, Wendy's managed to be the world's third largest hamburger fast food chain with approximately 6,500 outlets around the world, right behind McDonalds and Burger King.
From the start, Dave has always been an innovative leader in which he had developed an innovative method in preparing fresh made-to-order hamburgers, in contrast to other quick-service food chains that rely on frozen beef and mass production of food. Besides being known for their signature square-shaped ground beef hamburger patties and their focus on highest quality food and freshest ingredients, Wendy's was quick to gain a huge following of loyal customers due to their constant effort of trying to communicate externally with their consumers. They launched their first network television commercial in 1977 and a national advertising campaign in 1984 in which Dave continued to appear in more than 800 commercials by 1989. Unfortunately, in 2002, Dave passed away at the of 69 due to liver cancer and Wendy's encountered difficulty in keeping a consistent brand image for their company. They kept changing their slogans, from "Taste the difference fresh makes" in 1999 and "It's better here" in 2003. Only after the merging, in 2011, Wendy's began to transform their website and overall brand. Till this date, Wendy's stays innovative while living up to Dave's legacy, winning the hearts of millennials with the use of social media such as Twitter in which they incorporate humour in their tweets and replies. Here is an example that I love, of how they attract the millennials, protect their brand and roast a hater all at once.
Wendy's innovations could not have worked if not for how they are managed through the years, which is through a functional organisational structure. They communicate internally with the use of business functions as bases for grouping resources and activities. Instead of having geographic divisions, they have centralized function-based groups for the entire global organisation in which they focus on corporate control and carefully implement global expansion strategies. For example, they have a legal department, an accounting department, and a marketing department. The activities of each of these groups affect Wendy's operations worldwide. This supports Wendy's current focus on the North American market. Their organisation communication is based on global hierarchy that creates vertical lines of communications, command, and authority. For example, concerns are escalated from franchises and regional offices to the corporate headquarters. This supports global control of business operations. Lastly, at the level of local operations, teams are part of Wendy's. For example, Wendy's restaurants use teams for daily operations to support fluctuations in the company's daily operations.
Another will be the teams in their 90o Lab, a technology innovation centre, in which it is designed to provide an open, collaborative environment for Wendy's team members to create ideas and solutions for consumer-facing opportunities as well as key business initiatives. In addition, how Wendy's trains, aligns and engages their diverse workforce effectively is by using Brightcove-powered video that drives their internal communications and training programs for the corporate employees, company-owned restaurant employees and franchise teams. Wendy's rapidly delivers secure, consistence, role-appropriate content and aligned messaging to all by using videos, replacing written memo and hard copy learning material. This reduces the length of employee training time which subsequently helped facilitate more effective operations, improve restaurant safety and create an inclusive company culture. Wendy's partners with Brightcove to deliver video on demand (VOD) through their organisation intranet portal called "WeConnect" in which it is accessible only to Wendy's corporate employees and franchise owners. It features video communications announcing news, updates and vital corporate information. Wendy's also makes use of live stream video through Brightcove Live, which delivers off-site viewers real-time video footage of officer and director meetings, employee meetings, general conventions, and the company's annual Investor Day via the WeConnect portal.
On March 22, 2005, Wendy's faced a crisis in which a consumer of Wendy's, named Anna Ayala, claimed that she discovered a portion of a human finger in her bowl of chili while she was dining at Wendy's in San Jose, California. She went public and sued Wendy's for it. Wendy's handled this crisis well as the San Jose franchise owner notified management and their corporate executives jumped into action with a multipronged public relations initiative. Wendy's President quickly stepped into the public spotlight, responding initially to the media. The company offered a $50,000 reward to the first person providing verifiable information leading to the identification or origin of the finger and made a comprehensive internal investigation to ensure that the finger didn't come from an employee. They made themselves available to the media to reaffirm that the quality of their food for consumers is their top priority. Wendy's personnel appeared clean as the results of the internal investigation indicated that no Wendy's personnel seemed to be involved, no restaurant employees or chili suppliers had suffered hand injuries and that the employee who prepared the chili was a 10-year veteran of the San Jose restaurant.
Nonetheless, the company was careful not to blame anyone, most of all Ayala. Even after Ayala's lawyer quit and she mysteriously dropped her threat to sue, Wendy's kept its distance from pointing fingers. Over the next month, the police investigation proceeded, and Wendy's continued to make itself available to the media. As the month passed, Wendy's finger incident refused to go away. Police in Las Vegas arrested Ayala at her home and charged her with attempted larceny in perpetrating a hoax against Wendy's. According to police, Ayala had been involved in a lot of other legal disputes, filed numerous lawsuits against various retail establishments. In January 2006, Ayala and her husband pleaded guilty to the scheme to extort money from Wendy's. Ayala's husband had purchased the mysterious finger from husband had purchased the mysterious finger from a co-worker, who lost it in an industrial accident. Ayala was sentenced to nine years in jail and her husband to 12 years. They were ordered to pay $21 million. Due to this hoax, Wendy's had to lay off dozens of workers and cost the company $2.5 million in lost sales.
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