20.05.2024

Flynn Group makes another international acquisition 

The largest franchise operator in the world has acquired Wendy’s in New Zealand. The group already owns rights to develop the burger brand in Australia.

The largest franchise operator in the world has acquired Wendy’s in New Zealand. The group already owns rights to develop the burger brand in Australia. 
The largest franchise restaurant operator in the world just got a little bigger. 

Flynn Group LP on Monday announced the acquisition of Wendco (NZ) Limited, the sole franchisee of the Wendy’s brand in New Zealand. 

It’s a small deal, including more than 20 restaurants across New Zealand, which were operated by the Lendich family since 1988. But Flynn Group also is the sole franchisee of the Wendy’s brand in neighboring Australia, and Chairman and CEO Greg Flynn said the New Zealand operations will help “give a running start” in Australia, where Flynn Group plans to develop 200 restaurants over the next decade—with the first opening there this fall. Flynn Group also operates 194 Wendy’s in the U.S. 

Flynn said further international expansion is part of the company’s three-channel growth plan, which includes more restaurant growth in the U.S., as well as growth of more non-restaurant franchises, like Planet Fitness gyms, which the company began franchising last year

“We’ve operated in one country for 25 years, mostly because we didn’t run out of opportunity,” he said, adding that he still sees opportunity in the U.S., but, “It’s time to start taking advantage of opportunities internationally.” 

A franchise operator of six restaurant brands, the San Francisco-based Flynn Group operates 2,700 restaurants, as well as Planet Fitness gym locations, mostly in the U.S. The restaurant brands include Applebee’s, Arby’s, Taco Bell, Panera Bread, Pizza Hut and, of course, Wendy’s, spanning 44 states and now two countries outside the U.S., generating more than $4.7 billion in sales and employing more than 75,000. 

Flynn, who started with the Applebee’s brand in 1999, first made the jump overseas last year with the acquisition of the master franchisee license for Pizza Hut in Australia, later adding a master franchise agreement for Wendy’s in the territory as well. Currently, Flynn Group operates 273 Pizza Huts in Australia. 

The group may also look at growing its other restaurant brands globally, he said. 

Ron Bellamy, Flynn Group’s chief operating officer, said in a statement, “The acquisition of the Wendy’s New Zealand business represented a compelling opportunity to continue our growth ambitions internationally and to expand our strong partnership with the much-loved Wendy’s brand. Wendco New Zealand has a proud 35-year track record of delighting customers, and we are honored to carry that tradition forward. Our immediate priority will be to collaborate with the existing team to determine how we can best leverage our scale and capabilities to build on their success as we enter this next chapter of growth together.” 

With the deal, Phil Reed was named president of Flynn ANZ, which will include the Wendy’s operations for both Australia and New Zealand. Reed was previously CEO of Pizza Hut Australia before the Flynn acquisition, and then he took on the responsibility of the Wendy’s operation there, when that became part of the Flynn portfolio. 

Reed called the move “an incredible milestone” for Flynn as the company advances its mission to expand internationally. 

“We now have multiple brands across two key markets and see a clear opportunity to build on an already strong foundation established by the Lendich family and the talented team at Wendy’s New Zealand,” Reed said in a statement. “There’s strong momentum and we’re keen to support the local team in every way possible with ambitions to double the number of Wendy’s restaurants across the country.” 

The deal may also bring Pizza Hut to New Zealand for the first time, Flynn hinted. 

“It would make a lot of sense, wouldn’t it?” he said. 

Source: Restaurant Business

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