We’re incredibly proud of the way our Wendy’s family came together and worked to provide great restaurant experiences while the safety and well-being of our customers and employees remained our top priority.
Though the pandemic affected communities around the globe in different ways, our priorities were clear: create a safe environment for our team members and customers, support our people, help our franchise community and give back to the communities where we operate restaurants.
As a brand, we reinforced procedures and adopted several new practices in our restaurants:
Flexed restaurant operations: As most of our restaurants shifted to a predominantly drive-thru operating model, we also expanded our digital offerings in the U.S. and Canada to provide safe, contactless options like curbside pick-up and delivery.
Provided personal protective equipment: In accordance with CDC guidance, we followed recommendations and instituted a brand standard that restaurant team members wear food service gloves and face masks while working (unless an exception applied), and sourced a reliable supply of approved options for our restaurant teams.
Reinforced proper handwashing: We continuously reinforced our strict food safety procedures, personal hygiene standards and sanitation protocols and required all restaurant level team members systemwide to complete additional handwashing training.
Increased deep cleaning: Throughout the day, restaurant teams put an emphasis on cleaning high-touch areas, in many cases every 15 minutes.
Introduced social distancing: Restaurants used social distancing signs and floor decals to promote distance between customers and team members.
Enhanced order safety precautions: We promoted and used no-contact and limited-contact ordering and the Wendy’s app to provide additional options for our team members and customers.
Supported truck drivers: While our dining rooms were closed, we introduced new walk-up ordering procedures to accommodate customers with oversized vehicles, such as truck drivers and first responders.
The following are additional steps the Company took to support Company employees.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
In March 2020, we implemented a temporary Emergency Paid Sick Leave for eligible U.S. hourly Company employees. This program was designed to respond to the needs of employees affected by COVID-19, encourage employees to stay home if they are symptomatic and seek testing if symptoms are present. The policy provides up to 14 days of paid leave annually for COVID-19 related challenges, including those who act as a caregiver for eligible family members. In 2021, we expanded our paid sick time policy to provide paid sick time to all eligible part-time hourly employees on a permanent basis.
Restaurant Recognition Pay
To recognize and support our Company restaurant employees, the Company implemented Restaurant Recognition Pay for Company restaurant teams. Hourly crew members, shift managers and assistant general managers in Company restaurants received a 10% increase in hourly pay in April and May 2020. Additionally, we protected bonuses for Company general managers and district managers through September 2020 to ensure managers weren’t penalized for impacts to business performance that were outside their control due to COVID-19.
Supporting Employee Wellness
All Company employees—whether enrolled in a company medical plan or not—have access to our Employee Assistance Program, which provides free, confidential 24/7 counseling support for a wide variety of topics. Further, all U.S. Company employees have access to telehealth and can see a board-certified doctor at a low cost.
Global Restaurant Team Appreciation Week
Wendy’s strong culture of recognition was especially important in 2020, when the world depended on restaurants to sustain and uplift the communities they serve. Our restaurant teams remained dedicated to supporting one another and our customers, and our Wendy’s family made it a priority to show our appreciation. In mid-May, we launched the first-ever Global Restaurant Team Appreciation Week around the world to recognize, celebrate and say “thank you” to district managers, restaurant managers and team members across the Wendy’s system.