Wendy’s plans to increase U.S. stores by a third amid remodeling

From Beacon Journal wire services

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Wendy’s Co., the burger chain that sold its Arby’s brand last year, could boost the number of U.S. locations the company operates by more than a third as it remodels restaurants with modern finishes.

“The capacity for the Wendy’s brand is something close to 8,000 restaurants” in the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Emil Brolick said Thursday. The Dublin, Ohio-based company has about 5,817 U.S. locations and is remodeling its eateries to look more high end with booth seating and fireplaces.

Wendy’s has sought to attract customers with more premium menu items, including a bacon portabella melt burger and asiago ranch chicken sandwiches. The company also has tried to boost sales and compete with McDonald’s by selling breakfast items, such as chicken biscuits and home-style potatoes, at stores in the Northeast and other markets.

Wendy’s said it plans to double its quarterly dividend to 4 cents a share, payable Dec. 17 to shareholders of record Dec. 3. Shares are down about 21 percent in 2012.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, Wendy’s reported a wider net loss, in part because of a charge related to an early payoff of debt. It lost $26.2 million, or 7 cents per share. It posted a loss of $4 million, or a penny per share, a year ago when it incurred costs related to the spinoff of the Arby’s chain.

Not including one-time items, Wendy’s said it earned 3 cents per share. Total revenue rose 4 percent to $636.3 million, which fell short of the $640.6 million Wall Street expected.

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