Wendy’s lost some sales momentum at the end of 2014, with growth in same-store sales decelerating during the fourth quarter to 1.9 percent for company stores and 1.6 percent for franchised units.
The results tempered the comparable-sales increase for company stores to 2.3 percent for the year, still one of the highest gains among the big burger brands. The gains raised average unit volumes for company units in North America to $1.6 million.
In releasing preliminary financial results for the quarter, the franchisor noted that it sold 237 company restaurants to franchisees during 2014, and intends to sell 500 more. The company’s intends to lower the proportion of corporate stores to 5 percent by mid-2016.
Wendy’s also set a goal of hitting a sales-to-investment ratio for new stores of 1.3 by 2020.
Nearer term, the company said, it anticipates same-store sales growth at company stores to hit 3 percent, and to invest heavily in technology.
A pilot program for mobile ordering is being expanded this month from seven stores in Columbus, Ohio, Wendy’s home market, to Phoenix, and a test of the CurrentC digital wallet is anticipated to start later this year.