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NRN editors discuss the Wendyverse, Applebee’s viral email about wages, and fast-casual Smashburger’s new full-service unit

Plus, Wafels & Dinges founder Thomas DeGeest on the brand’s entrance into franchising


This week on the Extra Serving podcast, a production of Nation’s Restaurant News, NRN editors Holly Petre, Sam Oches, and Leigh Anne Zinsmeister spoke about Wendy’s entrance into the metaverse with the new “Wendyverse” restaurant.

On April 2, Wendy’s will officially enter the metaverse with a new virtual restaurant. Rather than hop on the trend of simply trademarking its name, the Dublin, Ohio-based quick-service restaurant has created a virtual reality restaurant in the Metaverse 2.0. This will give users the opportunity to interact with one another and the brand in a new way.

Out of the major QSR players, Wendy’s is the first to dive deep into the metaverse and open up a new restaurant. What does this mean for the brand? The team discusses.

Also, the team talks about Smashburger’s latest innovation: a full-service location. The fast-casual restaurant is entering a new segment and calling it the “way of the future for fast-casual.” Find out what the team has to say about this new play for Smashburger.

Lastly, Petre, Zinsmeister and Oches talk about the Applebee’s email that went viral from a local manager, claiming that wages may be lowered due to rising gas prices. The team speaks about the implications for the industry.

For this week’s interview, Petre spoke with Thomas DeGeest, founder of NYC-based regional chain Wafels and Dinges about the brand’s recent entrance into franchising.


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