Wendy's Sleek New Prototype Is Deliciously Eco-Friendly

The smaller building which has recently debuted in Virginia offers lower-energy heating and air-conditioning units, LED lighting and energy-saving kitchen equipment.  


May 23 2019, Updated 8:17 p.m. ET

Wendy’s has officially unveiled a new restaurant model called Smart 55. It made its debut a few weeks ago in Portsmouth, Virginia. From the interior to the exterior, the new layout is more open and includes private booths, a wi-fi bar, and touch screen self-serve fountains with over one hundred drink options. Most importantly, the model is also designed to create a smaller eco-footprint compared to other standalone Wendy’s restaurants. 

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To begin with, this building model is smaller. While typical Wendy’s restaurants need at least an acre of real estate, these can be built on an area as small as a quarter of an acre. Still, with the open plan, the building can fit almost 60 people at the available seating areas within the 2,600 square foot layout. 

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This model also focuses on energy efficiency. For example, the Smart 55 uses high efficiency HVAC units, which work in lower-energy heating and air-conditioning units. To brighten up the place, they set up light-emitting diode or LED lighting. The kitchen, which is probably the most active part of the restaurant, is hooked up with a range of smart energy saving equipment. 

Besides creating a smaller footprint, these smaller buildings make economic sense since they also come with a lower price tag. The Smart 55 model costs about $300,000 less than the company’s typical standalone buildings.

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With about 6,600 franchise and company-operated restaurants around the world, Wendy’s shift towards sustainable initiates looks to have a far reaching impact.

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This new location, in particular, is owned by Delight Restaurant Group, a franchisee of Wendy's restaurants which has 30 locations. The Delight Restaurant Group has been making moves to make their buildings more eco-friendly and joined the Department of Energy's Better Building Challenge in 2017 to follow through on their commitment to bring their energy usage down by 20 percent over the course of 10 years.

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Besides this new eco-conscious location, Wendy’s has been taking steps to better manager their energy usage throughout the company. Wendy’s built LEED-certified restaurants in Missouri and Georgia to test out how to best incorporate energy conservation efforts into all of their restaurants. The company also supports the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which promotes cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.

Wendy’s is also stepping up when it comes to recycling. They work with oil recycling companies to turn their cooking oil into second use items like biofuel. As a result, Wendy’s restaurants are able to recycle about 545 lbs. to 750 lbs. of waste oil monthly. They also do regular recycling across the company, and make sure their corrugated cardboard boxes stay out of landfills. Hopefully, more companies follow Wendy’s lead and build a greener future.

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