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Wendy's may expand to Russia

Wendy’s may be planning to open stores in Russia next year, according to local reports in the country.

While an item posted on the international website of parent Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc. said the company was “actively seeking qualified, prospective franchisees throughout Russia,” a spokesman would not confirm plans for the Russian expansion.

“Wendy's/Arby's Group has said previously that we plan to sign development agreements for three to four new international markets in 2010,” spokesman Bob Bertini said. “We announced a development agreement for Arby's restaurants in Turkey in May, but it's premature to discuss any other specific plans or target markets.”

A report Thursday in The Moscow Times, however, said the company is planning to open 20 franchised units in the first quarter of 2011, 10 in Moscow and 10 in St. Petersburg. According to the report, Wendy’s executives are interested in opening stores at highway rest stops and in railway stations and smaller towns throughout both regions.

Another Russian publication, Vedomosti, reported that Wendy’s is in talks with restaurateur Mikhail Zelman of Food Service Capital Group to operate the franchised units.

Atlanta-based Wendy's/Arby's has been ramping up its international expansion, with the opening of new franchised stores in Singapore and Dubai this year and plans to open 100 Arby's restaurants in Turkey over the next 10 years.

The company also said in June that it plans to re-enter the Japanese market and is seeking a franchise partner to open co-branded Wendy’s/Arby’s restaurants. Wendy’s had operated restaurants for 30 years in Japan before exiting the market last year.

If Wendy’s does expand into Russia, it would follow on the heels of Burger King, which opened its first unit there in January. McDonald’s has been operating stores in Russia for the past 20 years.

Wendy’s/Arby’s Group operates or franchises more than 10,000 restaurants worldwide under both brands.

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected].

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