Customers visiting Wendy's in the CVG airport

The Wendy’s brand has been diligently working to find unique ways to put more restaurants in airports.

So, when wife and husband team, Jessie and Laurence Aston from Sinkula Investments, were presented with an opportunity to open a Wendy’s inside Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and serve it’s 3.6 million travelers each year, it was a unique opportunity they couldn’t pass up.

A next-generation franchisee, Jessie’s father, Joseph Sinkula, started the family business with his first five Wendy’s restaurants in 1995. Today, Sinkula owns 13 Wendy’s restaurants. We got caught up with Jessie and Laurence recently to ask all about their new airport location, which opened on September 19.


Why did you want to get into the airport space? 

Jessie: It made a lot of sense for us because CVG is right in the middle of our market. We have two other Wendy’s restaurants within two miles, and we live about 10 minutes from the airport. 

Cincinnati is a dense market with a lot of Wendy’s restaurants, but airports are a totally different type of opportunity to be there for our customers. 

Larz: For us, it’s also an opportunity to be able to grow the business and touch a lot of people in the airport we wouldn’t normally touch. It casts a wider net than other airports because of where it’s geographically located. 


How did this process begin? How did you know about the opportunity?

Jessie: Jeff Roberts, our Division Vice President, brought us the opportunity. The airport was looking for a hamburger chain to go into its terminal. There was a bidding and application process. We submitted the application, then went through a series of interviews to win the bid. We were up against competitors like McDonald’s and Shake Shack, and even other Wendy’s franchisees.


Why do you think the airport selected you?

Jessie: CVG was very interested in working with someone in the local community. Some of their other restaurants were managed from afar, so staffing was difficult. They also have a lot of other local brands in the airport that wouldn’t normally be in an airport, so knowing we were a local Wendy’s franchisee encouraged them. Cincinnati is our home, and that certainly helped!


What was unique about this process?

Larz: For us, it was quite challenging not having built a non-traditional restaurant before. The design layout is a lot different. But also, as you can imagine, doing a build out with the Transportation Safety Administration and security was a challenge. Our space is right above customs, so that was interesting to try to get our crew in through international customs space.

Jessie: Our restaurant is also a combination of two existing spaces, so we had to knock down a wall. One of the spaces was a pizza brand and the other was a sandwich place. Wendy’s corporate team helped us a lot with the non-traditional design.


Why are you excited about this location?

Larz: We’re very familiar with Wendy’s, but this is a totally new challenge. CVG does much of its business in the morning, so the menu mix will be pretty heavy toward breakfast. I’d imagine it’ll be close to 40% breakfast, which is exciting. We’re open at 4:00 am for breakfast!


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