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Wendy’s to open in Oxford on Magdalen Street

Jill Cushen reports on US fast food chain Wendy's plans for relaunching in the UK.

Jill Cushen
Jill Cushen
Editor-in-Chief, Hilary 2022. Reading English at Regent's Park College.

The popular US burger chain Wendy’s is set to rejoin the UK market with Oxford hosting the second new restaurant.

The fast food restaurant company, founded in 1969 in Ohio, plans to relaunch its UK brand with the first store coming to Reading in early 2021. Under the current plan, the Oxford store will be located on Magdalen Street. A planning application has been approved by Oxford City Council for a Wendy’s shop front. The food giant is one of the largest and most successful burger outlets in the US behind only McDonald’s and Burger King and has more than 6,500 Wendy’s restaurants currently in operation. 

Speculation has been rising since 2017 when the chain launched a one-day pop up store in London on Great Queen Street. The company announced in October 2019 that it would open 20 stores in Britain. The Mirror reported that Wendy’s international division president and chief development officer Abigail Pringle said: “The United Kingdom will be our beachhead to European expansion. We believe it is a growing market and it has lots of great growth ahead of it.”

Wendy’s opened the UK branch of its fast food chain in 1992 and had 10 stores nationwide. However, after 7 years, due to retail and operating costs, the company left the UK and decided to focus on its North America base. In 2000 McDonald’s paid £750,000 to take over Wendy’s’ 3 London sites. 

A spokesperson for the burger chain quoted in the Oxford Mail has confirmed that the first UK store will open in Reading, and said that it is “very much looking forward” to reopening stores across the UK and is “excited about the future as we enter this market”.

The Oxford restaurant will be housed in the premises previously occupied by the shoe shop Schuh. Wendy’s will join US burgers and fries company Five Guys on Magdalen Street. The store will be located next to the recently-closed Debenhams department store. Debenhams’ store in Oxford permanently closed in 2020 after its parent company Arcadia went into administration. Last month, it was revealed that the Debenhams property would be converted into a hotel or office space.

According to a research report published in November, takeaway and fast-food industry revenue in the UK is expected to grow to £19.1 billion over the next five years. 

It is not yet known when the Oxford store can be expected to open.

Image: Mike Mozart on Flickr. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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