- A 2021 franchise recruitment initiative that lowered barriers to ownership led Wendy’s to approve double the number of franchise candidates year over year in 2022, including candidates from underrepresented populations, the company said Tuesday.
- As part of the initiative, titled “Own Your Opportunity,” Wendy’s said it changed the company’s liquidity and net worth requirements for new franchise applicants and introduced new store concepts requiring a lower initial financial commitment. The chain also worked with preferred lenders to target specific groups of entrepreneurs.
- Wendy’s published the findings as part of its 2022 Corporate Responsibility Report, which also detailed the chain’s workforce demographic shifts over the past two years. Since 2020, Wendy’s said it has increased the number of women in company leadership and the number of Black restaurant managers by 6% each.
Wendy’s strategy of addressing diversity, equity and inclusion goals through its franchise ownership model is similar to what the company’s competitors have done.
McDonald’s, for example, announced in 2021 a franchisee recruitment initiative with the aim of reducing barriers to ownership for underrepresented groups, which it planned to address in part by reducing upfront equity requirements and working to increase access to financing solutions.
The report’s publication comes two years after Wendy’s announced the hire of its first vice president and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. In the report, Wendy’s said it developed a “multi-year strategy” to improve its DEI goals that included methods such as recruiting from educational institutions with diverse talent pools; offering training and development in areas including allyship and mitigating unconscious bias; and working with employee resource groups.
2023 marks a critical year for workplace DEI initiatives, in part because a complex economic environment may be causing organizations to cut back on third-party DEI consultants, according to the results of HR Dive’s 2023 Identity of HR survey. Though HR teams may be able to bring some of this work in-house, that may be a challenge considering the degree to which employers have deprioritized DEI — if not cut back on the subject entirely.