At Wendy’s, we want our values and our sustainability priorities to reflect just as prominently in our corporate office locations as they do in our restaurants around the globe. Below provides a snapshot of some of our key sustainability initiatives in our office setting and pilot program locations.
The Restaurant Support Center is included in the Better Buildings Challenge with a goal to reduce our energy use per square foot by 20% by 2025 against a 2013 baseline. Wendy’s exceeded that goal in 2019. The center has a 40% reduction in energy per square foot in 2020 compared to the 2013 baseline. The center has a 10% reduction in 2020 over 2019 which reflects ongoing energy initiatives and the impact of COVID-19, which triggered a transition from employees in the office to working from home.
Wendy’s employee-led Squarely Sustainable Council brings together passionate employees and subject-matter experts to advance environmental efforts at our Restaurant Support Center, like our campus pollinator garden. During 2020, the council initiated several events that covered topics such as solid waste solutions, sustainable packaging and operational efficiencies. We are working to leverage the input of the council to help inform sustainable practices in our new flexible work environment.
The test kitchen in our Restaurant Support Center is where Wendy’s works to develop new and improved menu items, and where we test out those items with customers.
In 2020, we started updating our facilities to refine our innovation process for 2021 and beyond. The test kitchen now has three fully functional kitchen lines, so a panel might occupy one while a cooking demo takes place on another. New, more energy-efficient equipment, along with new LED lighting and independently operated hoods, will save energy, too. When construction wraps, customer participants in our sensory panels will have a separate entrance to improve their experience. The facility has always had controlled access and still does. Now, more windows let in more light and—along with monitors in the adjacent food theatre—let visitors see more of the fun.
As part of our commitment to sustainability, Wendy’s has designated an existing company restaurant as a test bed for sustainability initiatives that may one day extend across our brand.
Moving forward, we will test and trial sustainability initiatives, including sustainable packaging materials and modified waste handling solutions, at this restaurant. We also hope to highlight additional areas like energy and water usage.
We know that one restaurant location won’t provide the answer to every pressing sustainability issue. Yet, establishing one restaurant as the focus of our innovation will help us test new materials, methods and messages in a real operating environment where customers and crew can experience them first-hand.