An Update from the Wendy’s Franchise Association

By now, you have seen the announcement of the Wendy's Franchise Association, along with a note from Todd Penegor. As a result, you may have questions! Much work has gone into the formation of the WFA, but there is still a long way to go. The Steering Committee is working hard on your behalf to create an association that will stand the test of time. We have studied other franchise associations and are learning Best Practices from them. We are also thankful for the efforts of those who have come before us in their work. We would not be at this point today without those groups!

We are very encouraged by the willingness of the Brand to work with us, but we still have a long way to go to work through the details of the formal relationship. We have every indication that we will be collaborating with the Brand on issues of importance for many years to come.

So, let's get to the FAQs!

Why is a new franchise association being formed?

Franchisees in the Wendy's system have expressed a desire for an association that represents all owners. Built on the foundation of the previous association, the Wendy's Franchise Association has new leadership, mission and goals.

There is a place and role for an independent, collaborative and transparent franchise association, one that reflects Wendy's culture and Dave Thomas' legacy and values.

The WFA is being created for the long haul, not to solve a single problem or address any current issue. It will have a solid foundation that will serve franchisees and the brand for years to come.

Is this just a reaction to all the other associations we have heard about recently?

No. Work has been going on to establish this association for almost a year. It has taken time to put together an organization that will stand the test of time. The goal is for future generations of franchisees to benefit from the work being done here!

I have NOT been a member of the previous association, what's in it for me?

Much more to come on that, but our goal is simply to have 100% of the franchise community be a part of the association AND to be excited about the work that is being done! There are members of the Steering Committee who have not been part of previous associations, so they understand your curiosity.

I HAVE been a member of OFFA, what's different?

First of all, there were positives that came through the years of OFFA's existence. We intend to capture the positive spirit of that work, and to build on it.

The main difference will be the collaboration with The Wendy's Company. We are interested in proactive communications with the Brand, and they are open to the dialogue. More to come there, too!

What does the new association stand for?

The mission of the franchise association is to serve as a credible voice for its members, protect the interests of the system, improve the profitability and operation of our restaurants, and strengthen the entire Wendy's family.

Our vision is to be Independent, Collaborative, and Transparent.

Who is forming the Wendy's Franchise Association?

Seven franchise owners, with leadership experience in other franchise organizations, serve on the steering committee. They are: Steve Adkins, MUY! Hamburger Partners; John Antonaccio, CKA Management; Chris Lane, BASEC Management; Eddie Rodriguez, JAE Restaurant Group; John Peters, Holland Enterprises; Jay Sutherland, Wendy’s Alaska; and, Mike Zak, Wenzak, Inc.
Mike Zak and Jay Sutherland were selected by the members to lead the committee.

What are the association's goals?

  • Maximize franchise owner engagement through credible communication
  • Facilitate a mutually respectful relationship with brand leadership
  • Provide exceptional member benefits
  • Develop future leaders and support Next Gen owners
  • Ensure that Dave Thomas’ legacy and the Wendy’s culture endures

Is this just an association to cater to large franchise organizations?

NO! More than 50% of owners have between 1-5 restaurants, and they matter just as much as the “big guys.” We are committed to supporting all Wendy's owners and have been very mindful of balancing the needs of organizations of all sizes. We intend to have representation on the board and committees of small, medium and large organizations.

If a difficult issue arises with the brand, will you have our backs?

While the association board is committed to working collaboratively with the brand, ultimately, the association represents the franchisee members. We are committed to serving all Wendy's owners. When conflicts arise, the board will do all it can to ensure the franchise point of view is heard and respected. And if members want to pushback on a specific issue, the board will do so through respectful discussions and seek a mutually beneficial solution.

I have a question, concern, feedback, best practice, etc. What do I do while the association is being formed?

Please continue to utilize your franchise representative  in  the  leadership groups of WNAP, FAC, WTAC and QSCC. Once we have a fully-functioning board in place with specific committees, we will have communication processes in place.

How will the association be funded?

To start, funding will come from member dues, which will be in line with other franchise associations. In the future, the  board  may  consider  additional funding from meeting and keynote speaker sponsorships, vendor advertising on the association website or vendor booths at annual meetings.

What will create a Return on MY Investment by joining the WFA?

Great question! We love ROI! Members will be part of a supportive, like-minded group of business owners who work together for the greater good of the franchise system and to strengthen the brand. Providing members with useful benefits is our priority. Here are some of the benefits we plan to offer our members:

  • Networking: at annual member meetings and other meetings throughout the year to share best practices and discuss issues affecting members
  • Industry experts: access to industry experts at meetings, video conferences or Town Hall calls
  • PAC: support the PAC’s education and legislative activities at the national and local levels
  • Third party research: conduct research studies on specific issues and initiatives
  • Communications: consistent sharing of information via email and website
  • Educational programs: classes on a variety of topics, such as negotiating skills, EPLI, HR practices, tax laws and minimum wage
  • Data collection: assist with data collection and benchmarking against other franchisees and QSRs on a regional and DMA level
  • Clearinghouse: track and share best practices and other pertinent information
  • Cost savings: explore cost saving opportunities, such as captive insurance programs

How can I get involved?

We would LOVE for you to get involved but give us a little time! We are in the midst of talks with the Brand, securing legal representation, incorporating, establishing by-laws, etc. In short, we are not to the finish line yet. We WILL be reaching out to franchisees with specific skillsets as we complete this work.

We will also be looking for board members and committee members from a variety of groups, including franchise groups of all sizes, geographic regions and will include a heavy emphasis on the next generation of franchise leadership.

In the interim, please contact us at if you would like to offer support.

When will we hear more?

You will hear from the Wendy's Franchise Association a LOT this year! Between now and Convention, there will be a lot of activity and you will get frequent updates from us. We are also planning initial meetings and have asked the Brand for space at the Convention. MUCH more to come!

Our first communication came through WeConnect in order to ensure that all franchisees were included, and to have Todd's note of support included. All communications from this point forward will be through the Association's assets to protect our independence and keep you well-informed of all items of interest to the franchise community.

A few final thoughts.

The goal of the Wendy's Franchise Association is to support Wendy's franchise owners and to act in the best interest of the whole business. To do this, we must be Independent, Collaborative and Transparent. We are an independent association dedicated to supporting you! We will be collaborative, both with the franchise community and the Brand. We can be an important conduit. And, transparency is the key to any credible organization.

You can trust us to serve you!

As we move into our 50th year, we intend to support the franchise community in a way that helps to build a great next 50 years! We want an “even better tomorrow” together! And, we are constantly reminded of the importance of Dave Thomas and the culture he created. Our goal is to have an organization that would have made him proud!

If you have any additional questions, please send them to