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Wendy’s Chipotle-Inspired Approach to Burgers Is Paying Off

Wendy???s Chipotle-Inspired Approach to Burgers Is Paying Off
Photograph by Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo

In the battle between the burger chains, Wendy’s is gaining ground on its rivals. Same-store sales inched ahead by 0.7 percent in North America to start the year, slightly better than Burger King’s 0.1 percent increase and healthier than McDonald’s 1.7 percent decline.

While Wendy’s average check value and heavy drive-thru traffic still categorize it as a fast-food operation, the chain has been pursuing a strategy inspired more by fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle Mexican Grill than by its burger-flipping rivals. Wendy’s mantra for a while now has been fast-casual quality at quick-service prices. “A brand transformation is well under way at Wendy’s,” spokesman Bob Bertini wrote in an e-mail.