Wendy's Wendy's


Junior Bridgeman, Wendy's Franchisee with Cate Gutowski and Amber Johnson, GE Lighting Engineers

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Wendy's challenge

In 1969, Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. His concept was simple: high-quality food made with the freshest ingredients, served the way the customer wants.

Through more than four decades of growth, Wendy’s has remained deeply committed to customer experience—becoming the first national chain to embrace such innovations as the pick-up window and the salad bar. But in the fast-food business, where margins are notoriously thin, quality has to be coupled with efficiency.

When Wendy’s second-largest franchise owner, Junior Bridgeman, sought a way to improve his margins without sacrificing customer service, he turned to GE Capital: his provider of franchise financing for more than 15 years.

“Not too often do companies that loan you money also try to figure out ways to help you make more money. That’s really a credit to GE Capital.”

–Junior Bridgeman
Wendy’s Franchisee

GE Capital's strategy

GE Capital recommended taking a close look at Bridgeman’s energy costs. As a part of GE—a company linked to energy usage since the time of Thomas Edison—GE Capital was perfectly positioned to help Bridgeman reduce his restaurants’ power consumption.

Using GE’s proprietary WattWise application—designed to help franchisees regulate and reduce their energy costs quickly and conveniently on their mobile devices—GE Capital conducted lighting audits at two of Bridgeman’s Wendy’s restaurants. WattWise recommended changes to the restaurants’ existing lighting solutions, explained the potential energy savings and outlined the total expected cost to implement these changes.

The results

The WattWise tool helped Bridgeman to identify an average energy savings of more than $500 per location. Expanded to include all of his 163 Wendy’s locations across Wisconsin, Kentucky, Missouri, and Florida, this would result in a cost savings of nearly $82,000 a year.

GE Capital takes great pride in not just helping people become business owners through franchise financing, but also in helping them run their businesses more profitably and more responsibly through our unique consultative capabilities.

And GE’s advice goes further than just lighting. GE has collaborated with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop the Eco Treasure Hunt: a program that targets sources of waste in electricity, natural gas, water, wastewater, chilled water, compressed air, steam and heat. In addition, GE integrates Lean and Six Sigma tools to streamline processes and improve quality while trimming unnecessary costs.