10-K 1 twc10k2016.htm 10-K Document

 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K
(X)
 
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED January 1, 2017
OR
( )
 
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(D) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM ______________ TO _______________

---------------------------------
THE WENDY’S COMPANY
(Exact name of registrants as specified in its charter)
---------------------------------
Commission file number: 1-2207

Delaware
 
38-0471180
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
 
One Dave Thomas Blvd., Dublin, Ohio
 
43017
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code: (614) 764-3100
---------------------------------
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of Each Class
 
Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered
Common Stock, $.10 par value
 
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
 
 
 
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes [x] No [ ]

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes [ ] No [x]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes [x] No [ ]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (section 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes [x] No [ ]

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (section 229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of the registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. [ ]



Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer   [x]      Accelerated filer [ ]       Non-accelerated filer [ ]      Smaller reporting company [ ]

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Yes [ ] No [x]

The aggregate market value of common equity held by non-affiliates of The Wendy’s Company as of July 1, 2016 was approximately $1,938.3 million. As of February 22, 2017, there were 246,926,773 shares of The Wendy’s Company common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
The information required by Part III of this Form 10-K, to the extent not set forth herein, is incorporated herein by reference from The Wendy’s Company’s definitive proxy statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to Regulation 14A not later than 120 days after January 1, 2017.
 




PART I

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Projections

This Annual Report on Form 10-K and oral statements made from time to time by representatives of the Company may contain or incorporate by reference certain statements that are not historical facts, including, most importantly, information concerning possible or assumed future results of operations of the Company. Those statements, as well as statements preceded by, followed by, or that include the words “may,” “believes,” “plans,” “expects,” “anticipates,” or the negation thereof, or similar expressions, constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “Reform Act”). All statements that address future operating, financial or business performance; strategies, initiatives or expectations; future synergies, efficiencies or overhead savings; anticipated costs or charges; future capitalization; and anticipated financial impacts of recent or pending transactions are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Reform Act. The forward-looking statements are based on our expectations at the time such statements are made, speak only as of the dates they are made and are susceptible to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors. Our actual results, performance and achievements may differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. For all of our forward-looking statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Reform Act. Many important factors could affect our future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein. Such factors, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately, and many of which are beyond our control, include, but are not limited to, the following:

competition, including pricing pressures, couponing, aggressive marketing and the potential impact of competitors’ new unit openings on sales of Wendy’s restaurants;

consumers’ perceptions of the relative quality, variety, affordability and value of the food products we offer;

food safety events, including instances of food-borne illness (such as salmonella or E. coli) involving Wendy’s or its supply chain;

consumer concerns over nutritional aspects of beef, poultry, french fries or other products we sell, concerns regarding the ingredients in our products and/or cooking processes used in our restaurants, or concerns regarding the effects of disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics impacting the Company’s customers or food supplies;

the effects of negative publicity that can occur from increased use of social media;

success of operating and marketing initiatives, including advertising and promotional efforts and new product and concept development by us and our competitors;

the impact of general economic conditions and increases in unemployment rates on consumer spending, particularly in geographic regions that contain a high concentration of Wendy’s restaurants;

changes in consumer tastes and preferences, and in discretionary consumer spending;

changes in spending patterns and demographic trends, such as the extent to which consumers eat meals away from home;

certain factors affecting our franchisees, including the business and financial viability of franchisees, the timely payment of such franchisees’ obligations due to us or to national or local advertising organizations, and the ability of our franchisees to open new restaurants and remodel existing restaurants in accordance with their development and franchise commitments, including their ability to finance restaurant development and remodels;

increased labor costs due to competition or increased minimum wage or employee benefit costs;

changes in commodity costs (including beef, chicken and corn), labor, supplies, fuel, utilities, distribution and other operating costs;

availability, location and terms of sites for restaurant development by us and our franchisees;

development costs, including real estate and construction costs;


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delays in opening new restaurants or completing reimages of existing restaurants, including risks associated with the Image Activation program;

the timing and impact of acquisitions and dispositions of restaurants;

anticipated or unanticipated restaurant closures by us and our franchisees;

our ability to identify, attract and retain potential franchisees with sufficient experience and financial resources to develop and operate Wendy’s restaurants successfully;

availability of qualified restaurant personnel to us and to our franchisees, and the ability to retain such personnel;

our ability, if necessary, to secure alternative distribution of supplies of food, equipment and other products to Wendy’s restaurants at competitive rates and in adequate amounts, and the potential financial impact of any interruptions in such distribution;

availability and cost of insurance;

adverse weather conditions;

availability, terms (including changes in interest rates) and deployment of capital;

changes in, and our ability to comply with, legal, regulatory or similar requirements, including franchising laws, payment card industry rules, overtime rules, minimum wage rates, wage and hour laws, government-mandated health care benefits, tax legislation, federal ethanol policy and accounting standards;

the costs, uncertainties and other effects of legal, environmental and administrative proceedings;

the effects of charges for impairment of goodwill or for the impairment of other long-lived assets;

the effects of war or terrorist activities;

risks associated with failures, interruptions or security breaches of the Company’s computer systems or technology, or the occurrence of cyber incidents or a deficiency in cybersecurity that impacts the Company or its franchisees, including the cybersecurity incidents described in Item 1A below;

the difficulty in predicting the impact of the sale of Company-operated restaurants to franchisees on ongoing operations, any tax impact from the sale of restaurants and the future impact to the Company’s earnings, restaurant operating margins, cash flow and depreciation;

risks associated with the Company’s securitized financing facility, including the ability to generate sufficient cash flow to meet debt service obligations, compliance with operational and financial covenants, and restrictions on the Company’s ability to raise additional capital;

risks associated with the amount and timing of share repurchases under the $150.0 million share repurchase program approved by the Board of Directors; and

other risks and uncertainties affecting us and our subsidiaries referred to in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (see especially “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations”) and in our other current and periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

All future written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to us or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. New risks and uncertainties arise from time to time, and it is impossible for us to predict these events or how they may affect us. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K as a result of new information, future events or developments, except as required by Federal securities laws. In addition, it is our policy generally not to endorse any projections regarding future performance that may be made by third parties.


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Item 1. Business.

Introduction

The Wendy’s Company (“The Wendy’s Company”) is the parent company of its 100% owned subsidiary holding company Wendy’s Restaurants, LLC (“Wendy’s Restaurants”). Wendy’s Restaurants is the parent company of Wendy’s International, LLC, formerly known as Wendy’s International, Inc. Wendy’s International, LLC is the indirect parent company of Quality Is Our Recipe, LLC (“Quality”), which is the owner and franchisor of the Wendy’s® restaurant system in the United States. As used in this report, unless the context requires otherwise, the term “Company” refers to The Wendy’s Company and its direct and indirect subsidiaries, and “Wendy’s” refers to Quality when the context relates to ownership of or franchising the Wendy’s restaurant system and to Wendy’s International, LLC when the context refers to the Wendy’s brand.

As of January 1, 2017, the Wendy’s restaurant system was comprised of 6,537 restaurants, of which 330 were owned and operated by the Company. References in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (the “Form 10-K”) to restaurants that we “own” or that are “Company-operated” include owned and leased restaurants. The Wendy’s Company’s corporate predecessor was incorporated in Ohio in 1929 and was reincorporated in Delaware in June 1994. Effective September 29, 2008, in conjunction with the merger with Wendy’s, The Wendy’s Company’s corporate name was changed from Triarc Companies, Inc. (“Triarc”) to Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. Effective July 5, 2011, in connection with the sale of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Arby’s”), Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, Inc. changed its name to The Wendy’s Company. The Company’s principal executive offices are located at One Dave Thomas Blvd., Dublin, Ohio 43017, and its telephone number is (614) 764-3100. We make our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to such reports, as well as our annual proxy statement, available, free of charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after such reports are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. We also provide our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, free of charge, on our website. Our website address is www.aboutwendys.com. Information contained on that website is not part of this Form 10-K.

Merger with Wendy’s

On September 29, 2008, Triarc and Wendy’s completed their merger (the “Wendy’s Merger”) in an all-stock transaction in which Wendy’s shareholders received 4.25 shares of Wendy’s/Arby’s Class A common stock for each Wendy’s common share owned.

In the Wendy’s Merger, approximately 377,000,000 shares of Wendy’s/Arby’s Class A common stock were issued to Wendy’s shareholders. In addition, effective on the date of the Wendy’s Merger, Wendy’s/Arby’s Class B common stock was converted into Class A common stock. In connection with the May 28, 2009 amendment and restatement of Wendy’s/Arby’s Certificate of Incorporation, Class A common stock was redesignated as “Common Stock.”

Sale of the Bakery

On May 31, 2015, Wendy’s completed the sale of 100% of its membership interest in The New Bakery Company, LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Bakery”), to East Balt US, LLC (the “Buyer”) for $78.5 million in cash (subject to customary purchase price adjustments).

Sale of Arby’s

On July 4, 2011, Wendy’s Restaurants completed the sale of 100% of the common stock of Arby’s to ARG IH Corporation (“ARG”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARG Holding Corporation (“ARG Parent”), for $130.0 million in cash (subject to customary purchase price adjustments) and 18.5% of the common stock of ARG Parent (through which Wendy’s Restaurants indirectly retained an 18.5% interest in Arby’s). Our 18.5% equity interest as of January 1, 2017 has the potential to be diluted by stock options issued as incentives to ARG’s management.

Fiscal Year

The Company’s fiscal reporting periods consist of 52 or 53 weeks ending on the Sunday closest to December 31 and are referred to herein as (1) “the year ended January 1, 2017” or “2016,” which consisted of 52 weeks (2) “the year ended January 3, 2016” or “2015,” which consisted of 53 weeks and (3) “the year ended December 28, 2014” or “2014,” which consisted of 52 weeks.


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Business Segments

The Company manages and internally reports its business geographically. The operation and franchising of Wendy’s restaurants in North America (defined as the United States and Canada) comprises virtually all of our current operations and represents a single reportable segment. The revenues and operating results of Wendy’s restaurants outside of North America are not material. See Note 25 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data included in Item 8 herein, for financial information attributable to our geographic areas.

The Wendy’s Restaurant System

Wendy’s is the world’s third largest quick-service restaurant company in the hamburger sandwich segment.

Wendy’s is primarily engaged in the business of operating, developing and franchising a system of distinctive quick-service restaurants serving high quality food. At January 1, 2017, there were 6,098 Wendy’s restaurants in operation in North America. Of these restaurants, 330 were operated by the Company and 5,768 by a total of 376 franchisees. In addition, at January 1, 2017, there were 439 franchised Wendy’s restaurants in operation in 29 countries and territories other than North America. See “Item 2. Properties” for a listing of the number of Company-operated and franchised locations in the United States and in foreign countries and United States territories.

The revenues from our restaurant business are derived from two principal sources: (1) sales at Company-operated restaurants and (2) franchise-related revenues including royalties, rents and franchise fees received from Wendy’s franchised restaurants. Company-operated restaurants comprised approximately 5% of the total Wendy’s system as of January 1, 2017.

Wendy’s is also a 50% partner in a Canadian restaurant real estate joint venture with a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International Inc., a quick-service restaurant company that owns the Tim Hortons® brand. The joint venture owns Wendy’s/Tim Hortons combo units in Canada. As of January 1, 2017, there were 97 Wendy’s restaurants in operation that were owned by the joint venture. (Tim Hortons is a registered trademark of Tim Hortons USA Inc.)

Wendy’s Restaurants

Wendy’s opened its first restaurant in Columbus, Ohio in 1969. During 2016, Wendy’s opened 13 new Company-operated restaurants and closed seven generally underperforming Company-operated restaurants. In addition, Wendy’s purchased two restaurants from franchisees and sold 310 restaurants to franchisees. During 2016, Wendy’s franchisees opened 136 new restaurants and closed 84 generally underperforming restaurants. The restaurants sold to franchisees were sold as part of the system optimization initiative which is further described in “Acquisitions and Dispositions of Wendy’s Restaurants” below.

The following table sets forth the number of Wendy’s restaurants at the beginning and end of each fiscal year from 2014 to 2016:
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Restaurants open at beginning of period
6,479

 
6,515

 
6,557

Restaurants opened during period
149

 
109

 
103

Restaurants closed during period
(91
)
 
(145
)
 
(145
)
Restaurants open at end of period
6,537

 
6,479

 
6,515


During the period from December 30, 2013, through January 1, 2017, 361 Wendy’s restaurants were opened and 381 generally underperforming Wendy’s restaurants were closed.

Operations

Each Wendy’s restaurant offers an extensive menu specializing in hamburger sandwiches and featuring filet of chicken breast sandwiches, which are prepared to order with the customer’s choice of condiments. Wendy’s menu also includes chicken nuggets, chili, french fries, baked potatoes, freshly prepared salads, soft drinks, Frosty® desserts and kids’ meals. In addition, the restaurants sell a variety of promotional products on a limited time basis. Wendy’s also offers breakfast in some restaurants in the United States.

Free-standing Wendy’s restaurants generally include a pick-up window in addition to a dining room. Approximately two-thirds of sales at Company-operated Wendy’s restaurants occur through the pick-up window.

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Wendy’s strives to maintain quality and uniformity throughout all restaurants by publishing detailed specifications for food products, preparation and service, continual in-service training of employees, restaurant operational audits and field visits from Wendy’s supervisors. In the case of franchisees, field visits are made by Wendy’s personnel who review operations, including quality, service and cleanliness and make recommendations to assist in compliance with Wendy’s specifications.

Wendy’s does not sell food or supplies to its franchisees.

Raw Materials and Purchasing

As of January 1, 2017, four independent processors (six total production facilities) supplied all of Wendy’s hamburger in the United States. In addition, five independent processors (seven total production facilities) supplied all of Wendy’s chicken in the United States.

Wendy’s and its franchisees have not experienced any material shortages of food, equipment, fixtures or other products that are necessary to maintain restaurant operations. Wendy’s anticipates no such shortages of products and believes that alternate suppliers are available. Suppliers to the Wendy’s system must comply with United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) and United States Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulations governing the manufacture, packaging, storage, distribution and sale of all food and packaging products.

Wendy’s has a purchasing co-op relationship agreement (the “Wendy’s Co-op”) with its franchisees which establishes Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. (“QSCC”). QSCC manages, for the Wendy’s system in the United States and Canada, contracts for the purchase and distribution of food, proprietary paper, operating supplies and equipment under national agreements with pricing based upon total system volume. QSCC’s supply chain management facilitates the continuity of supply and provides consolidated purchasing efficiencies while monitoring and seeking to minimize possible obsolete inventory throughout the Wendy’s supply chain in the United States and Canada.

Wendy’s and its franchisees pay sourcing fees to third-party vendors on certain products sourced by QSCC. Such sourcing fees are remitted by these vendors to QSCC and are the primary means of funding QSCC’s operations. Should QSCC’s sourcing fees exceed its expected needs, QSCC’s board of directors may return some or all of the excess to its members in the form of a patronage dividend.

Quality Assurance

Wendy’s quality assurance program is designed to verify that the food products supplied to our restaurants are processed in a safe, sanitary environment and in compliance with our food safety and quality standards. Wendy’s quality assurance personnel conduct multiple on-site sanitation and production audits throughout the year at all of our core menu product processing facilities, which include beef, poultry, pork, buns, french fries, Frosty® dessert ingredients, and produce. Animal welfare audits are also conducted every year at all beef, poultry, and pork facilities to confirm compliance with our required animal welfare and handling policies and procedures. In addition to our facility audit program, weekly samples of beef, poultry, and other core menu products from our distribution centers are randomly sampled and analyzed by a third-party laboratory to test conformance to our quality specifications. Each year, Wendy’s representatives conduct unannounced inspections of all company and franchise restaurants to test conformance to our sanitation, food safety, and operational requirements. Wendy’s has the right to terminate franchise agreements if franchisees fail to comply with quality standards.

Trademarks and Service Marks

Wendy’s or its subsidiaries have registered certain trademarks and service marks in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in international jurisdictions, some of which include Wendy’s®, Old Fashioned Hamburgers® and Quality Is Our Recipe®. Wendy’s believes that these and other related marks are of material importance to its business. Domestic trademarks and service marks expire at various times from 2017 to 2026, while international trademarks and service marks have various durations of ten to 15 years. Wendy’s generally intends to renew trademarks and service marks that are scheduled to expire.

Wendy’s entered into an Assignment of Rights Agreement with the Company’s founder, R. David Thomas, and his wife dated as of November 5, 2000 (the “Assignment”). Wendy’s had used Mr. Thomas, who was Senior Chairman of the Board until his death on January 8, 2002, as a spokesperson and focal point for its products and services for many years. With the efforts and attributes of Mr. Thomas, Wendy’s has, through its extensive investment in the advertising and promotional use of Mr. Thomas’ name, likeness, image, voice, caricature, endorsement rights and photographs (the “Thomas Persona”), made the Thomas Persona

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well known in the United States and throughout North America and a valuable asset for both Wendy’s and Mr. Thomas’ estate. Under the terms of the Assignment, Wendy’s acquired the entire right, title, interest and ownership in and to the Thomas Persona, including the sole and exclusive right to commercially use the Thomas Persona.

Seasonality

Wendy’s restaurant operations are moderately seasonal. Wendy’s average restaurant sales are normally higher during the summer months than during the winter months. Because the business is moderately seasonal, results for any quarter are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any other quarter or for the full fiscal year.

Competition

Each Wendy’s restaurant is in competition with other food service operations within the same geographical area. The quick-service restaurant segment is highly competitive and includes well-established competitors. Wendy’s competes with other restaurant companies and food outlets, primarily through the quality, variety, convenience, price, and value perception of food products offered. The number and location of units, quality and speed of service, attractiveness of facilities, effectiveness of marketing and new product development by Wendy’s and its competitors are also important factors. The price charged for each menu item may vary from market to market (and within markets) depending on competitive pricing and the local cost structure. Wendy’s also competes within the food service industry and the quick-service restaurant sector not only for customers, but also for personnel, suitable real estate sites and qualified franchisees.

Wendy’s competitive position is differentiated by a focus on quality, its use of fresh, never frozen ground beef in the United States and Canada and certain other countries, its unique and diverse menu, its promotional products, its choice of condiments and the atmosphere and decor of its restaurants. Wendy’s continues to implement its Image Activation program, which includes innovative exterior and interior restaurant designs, with plans for significantly more new and reimaged company and franchisee restaurants in 2017 and beyond. The Image Activation program also differentiates the Company from its competitors by its emphasis on selection and performance of restaurant employees that provide friendly and engaged customer service in our restaurants.

Many of the leading restaurant chains continue to focus on new unit development as one strategy to increase market share through increased consumer awareness and convenience. This results in increased competition for available development sites and higher development costs for those sites. Competitors also employ marketing strategies such as frequent use of price discounting, frequent promotions and heavy advertising expenditures. Continued price discounting, including the use of coupons, in the quick-service restaurant industry and the emphasis on value menus has had and could continue to have an adverse impact on Wendy’s. In addition, we believe that the growth of fast casual chains and other in-line competitors causes some fast food customers to “trade up” to a more traditional dining out experience while keeping the benefits of quick-service dining.

Other restaurant chains have also competed by offering high quality sandwiches made with fresh ingredients and artisan breads and there are several emerging restaurant chains featuring high quality food served at in-line locations. Several chains have also sought to compete by targeting certain consumer groups, such as capitalizing on trends toward certain types of diets or diet preferences (e.g., low carbohydrate, low trans fat, gluten free or antibiotic free) by offering menu items that are promoted as being consistent with such diets.

Additional competitive pressures for prepared food purchases come from operators outside the restaurant industry. A number of major grocery chains offer fresh deli sandwiches and fully prepared food and meals to go as part of their deli sections. Some of these chains also have in-store cafes with service counters and tables where consumers can order and consume a full menu of items prepared especially for that portion of the operation. Additionally, convenience stores and retail outlets at gas stations frequently offer sandwiches and other foods.

Wendy’s also competes with grocery chains and other retail outlets which sell food that will be prepared at home. Competition with these chains and other outlets has increased as the gap between the price of food at home compared to food purchased at restaurants has widened.

Technology is becoming an increasingly critical part of the restaurant consumer experience. Restaurant technology includes mobile interactive technology for brand menu search information, mobile ordering, mobile payment and other self-service technologies.

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Acquisitions and Dispositions of Wendy’s Restaurants

During 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company completed the sale of 310, 327 and 255 Company-operated restaurants to franchisees, respectively, which included the sale of all of its Company-operated restaurants in Canada. In addition, during 2016 and 2015 the Company facilitated the transfer of 144 and 71 restaurants between franchisees, respectively. The Company has now completed its plan to reduce its Company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately 5% of the total system.

Wendy’s will continue to optimize its system by facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee transfers of restaurants, as well as evaluating strategic acquisitions of franchised restaurants and strategic dispositions of Company-operated restaurants to existing and new franchisees, to further strengthen the franchisee base, drive new restaurant development and accelerate Image Activation adoption. Wendy’s generally retains a right of first refusal in connection with any proposed sale of a franchisee’s interest.

Franchised Restaurants

As of January 1, 2017, Wendy’s franchisees operated 5,768 Wendy’s restaurants in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

The rights and obligations governing the majority of franchised restaurants operating in the United States are set forth in the Wendy’s Unit Franchise Agreement (non-traditional locations may operate under an amended agreement). This document provides the franchisee the right to construct, own and operate a Wendy’s restaurant upon a site accepted by Wendy’s and to use the Wendy’s system in connection with the operation of the restaurant at that site. The Unit Franchise Agreement provides for a 20-year term and a ten-year renewal subject to certain conditions. Wendy’s has in the past franchised under different agreements on a multi-unit basis; however, Wendy’s now grants new Wendy’s franchises on a unit-by-unit basis.

The Wendy’s Unit Franchise Agreement requires that the franchisee pay a royalty of 4% of monthly sales, as defined in the agreement, from the operation of the restaurant or $1,000, whichever is greater. The agreement also typically requires that the franchisee pay Wendy’s an initial technical assistance fee. In the United States, the standard technical assistance fee required under a newly executed Unit Franchise Agreement is currently $40,000 for each restaurant.

The technical assistance fee is used to defray some of the costs to Wendy’s for training, start-up and transitional services related to new and existing franchisees acquiring Company-operated restaurants and in the development and opening of new restaurants. In certain limited instances (such as the regranting of franchise rights for a previously closed restaurant, a reduced franchise agreement term, or other unique circumstances), Wendy’s may charge a reduced technical assistance fee or may waive the technical assistance fee. Wendy’s does not select or employ personnel on behalf of franchisees.

Wendy’s also enters into development and/or relationship agreements with certain franchisees. The development agreement provides the franchisee with the right to develop a specified number of new Wendy’s restaurants using the Image Activation design within a stated, non-exclusive territory for a specified period, subject to the franchisee meeting interim new restaurant development requirements. The relationship agreement addresses other aspects of the franchisor-franchisee relationship, such as restrictions on operating competing restaurants, participation in brand initiatives such as the Image Activation program, employment of approved operators, confidentiality and restrictions on engaging in sale/leaseback or debt refinancing transactions without Wendy’s prior consent.

Wendy’s Restaurants of Canada Inc. (“WROC”), a 100% owned subsidiary of Wendy’s, holds master franchise rights for Canada. The rights and obligations governing the majority of franchised restaurants operating in Canada are set forth in a Single Unit Sub-Franchise Agreement. This document provides the franchisee the right to construct, own and operate a Wendy’s restaurant upon a site accepted by WROC and to use the Wendy’s system in connection with the operation of the restaurant at that site. The Single Unit Sub-Franchise Agreement provides for a 20-year term and a ten-year renewal subject to certain conditions. The sub-franchisee pays to WROC a monthly royalty of 4% of sales, as defined in the agreement, from the operation of the restaurant or C$1,000, whichever is greater. The agreement also typically requires that the franchisee pay WROC an initial technical assistance fee. The standard technical assistance fee is currently C$40,000 for each restaurant.

In order to promote Image Activation new restaurant development, Wendy’s has an incentive program for franchisees that provides for reductions in royalty and national advertising payments for up to the first two years of operation for qualifying new restaurants opened by December 31, 2020, with the value of the incentives declining in the later years of the program. Wendy’s also has incentive programs for 2017 available to franchisees that commence Image Activation restaurant remodels by December 15, 2017. The remodel incentive programs provide for reductions in royalty payments for one year after the completion of

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construction. Wendy’s also had incentive programs that were available for franchisees’ participation in Wendy’s Image Activation program in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Franchised restaurants are required to be operated under uniform operating standards and specifications relating to the selection, quality and preparation of menu items, signage, decor, equipment, uniforms, suppliers, maintenance and cleanliness of premises and customer service. Wendy’s monitors franchisee operations and inspects restaurants periodically to ensure that required practices and procedures are being followed.

See Note 6 and Note 21 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data included in Item 8 herein, and the information under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis” in Item 7 herein, for further information regarding guarantee obligations, reserves, commitments and contingencies involving franchisees.

Advertising and Marketing

In the United States and Canada, Wendy’s advertises nationally through national advertising funds on network and cable television programs, including nationally televised events. Locally in the United States and Canada, Wendy’s primarily advertises through regional network and cable television, radio and newspapers. Wendy’s participates in two national advertising funds established to collect and administer funds contributed for use in advertising through television, radio, newspapers, the Internet and a variety of promotional campaigns, including the increasing use of social media. Separate national advertising funds are administered for Wendy’s United States and Canadian locations. Contributions to the national advertising funds are required to be made from both Company-operated and franchised restaurants and are based on a percent of restaurant retail sales. In addition to the contributions to the national advertising funds, Wendy’s requires additional contributions to be made for both Company-operated and franchised restaurants based on a percent of restaurant retail sales for the purpose of local and regional advertising programs. Required franchisee contributions to the national advertising funds and for local and regional advertising programs are governed by the Wendy’s Unit Franchise Agreement in the United States and by the Single Unit Sub-Franchise Agreement in Canada. Required contributions by Company-operated restaurants for advertising and promotional programs are at the same percent of retail sales as franchised restaurants within the Wendy’s system. As of January 1, 2017, the contribution rate for United States restaurants was generally 3.5% of retail sales for national advertising and 0.5% of retail sales for local and regional advertising. The contribution rate for Canadian restaurants is generally 3% of retail sales for national advertising and 1% of retail sales for local and regional advertising, with the exception of Quebec, for which there is no national advertising contribution rate and the local and regional advertising contribution rate is 4.0% of retail sales. See Note 24 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data included in Item 8 herein, for further information regarding advertising.

International Operations and Franchising

As of January 1, 2017, Wendy’s had 439 franchised restaurants in 29 countries and territories other than the United States and Canada. Wendy’s intends to grow its international business aggressively, yet responsibly. Since the beginning of 2009, development agreements have been executed for Wendy’s locations to be opened in the following countries, regions and territories: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, the Eastern Caribbean, Ecuador, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Japan, Middle East, North Africa and Philippines. These development agreements include rights for 20 countries in which no Wendy’s restaurants were open as of January 1, 2017. In addition to new market expansion, further development within existing markets will continue to be an important component of Wendy’s international strategy over the coming years. Wendy’s has granted development rights in certain countries and territories listed under Item 2 of this Form 10-K.

Franchisees who wish to operate Wendy’s restaurants outside the United States and Canada enter into agreements with Wendy’s that generally provide franchise rights for each restaurant for an initial term of 10 years or 20 years, depending on the country, and typically include a 10-year renewal provision, subject to certain conditions. The agreements grant a license to the franchisee to use the Wendy’s trademarks and know-how in the operation of a Wendy’s restaurant at a specified location. Generally, the franchisee pays Wendy’s an initial technical assistance fee or other per restaurant fee and monthly fees based on a percentage of gross monthly sales of each restaurant. In certain foreign markets, Wendy’s may grant the franchisee exclusivity to develop a territory in exchange for the franchisee undertaking to develop a specified number of new Wendy’s restaurants in the territory based on a negotiated schedule. In these instances, the franchisee generally pays Wendy’s an upfront development fee, annual development fees or a per restaurant fee. In certain circumstances, Wendy’s may grant a franchisee the right to sub-franchise in a stated territory, subject to certain conditions.

Wendy’s also continually evaluates non-franchise opportunities for development of Wendy’s restaurants in other international markets, including through joint ventures with third parties and opening Company-operated restaurants.

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General

Governmental Regulations

Various state laws and the Federal Trade Commission regulate Wendy’s franchising activities. The Federal Trade Commission requires that franchisors make extensive disclosure to prospective franchisees before the execution of a franchise agreement. Several states require registration and disclosure in connection with franchise offers and sales and have “franchise relationship laws” that limit the ability of franchisors to terminate franchise agreements or to withhold consent to the renewal or transfer of these agreements. In addition, Wendy’s and its franchisees must comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state and local laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”), which requires that all public accommodations and commercial facilities meet federal requirements related to access and use by disabled persons, and various state and local laws governing matters that include, for example, the handling, preparation and sale of food and beverages, the provision of nutritional information on menu boards, minimum wages, overtime and other working and safety conditions. Compliance with the ADA requirements could require removal of access barriers and non-compliance could result in imposition of fines by the United States government or an award of damages to private litigants. We do not believe that costs relating to compliance with the ADA will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial position or results of operations. We cannot predict the effect on our operations, particularly on our relationship with franchisees, of any pending or future legislation.

It is possible that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) could be amended or repealed in the future. The Company cannot predict the extent to which amendment or repeal of the PPACA, or the implementation of another government-mandated health care program, might require modifications to our benefits policies and practices, result in disruptions to our operations or our ability to attract and retain personnel, or result in increased health care costs.

Legal and Environmental Matters

The Company’s past and present operations are governed by federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations concerning the discharge, storage, handling and disposal of hazardous or toxic substances. These laws and regulations provide for significant fines, penalties and liabilities, sometimes without regard to whether the owner or operator of the property knew of, or was responsible for, the release or presence of the hazardous or toxic substances. In addition, third parties may make claims against owners or operators of properties for personal injuries and property damage associated with releases of hazardous or toxic substances. We cannot predict what environmental legislation or regulations will be enacted in the future or how existing or future laws or regulations will be administered or interpreted. We similarly cannot predict the amount of future expenditures that may be required to comply with any environmental laws or regulations or to satisfy any claims relating to environmental laws or regulations. We believe that our operations comply substantially with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. Accordingly, the environmental matters in which we are involved generally relate either to properties that our subsidiaries own, but on which they no longer have any operations, or properties that we or our subsidiaries have sold to third parties, but for which we or our subsidiaries remain liable or contingently liable for any related environmental costs. Our Company-operated Wendy’s restaurants have not been the subject of any material environmental matters. Based on currently available information, including defenses available to us and/or our subsidiaries, and our current reserve levels, we do not believe that the ultimate outcome of the environmental matters in which we are involved will have a material adverse effect on our consolidated financial position or results of operations.

The Company is involved in litigation and claims incidental to our current and prior businesses, including the legal proceedings related to a cybersecurity incident as described in “Item 3. Legal Proceedings.” We provide accruals for such litigation and claims when payment is probable and reasonably estimable. We believe we have adequate accruals for continuing operations for all of our legal and environmental matters. We cannot estimate the aggregate possible range of loss due to most proceedings being in preliminary stages, with various motions either yet to be submitted or pending, discovery yet to occur, and significant factual matters unresolved. In addition, most cases seek an indeterminate amount of damages and many involve multiple parties. Predicting the outcomes of settlement discussions or judicial or arbitral decisions is thus inherently difficult. Based on our currently available information, including legal defenses available to us, and given the aforementioned accruals and our insurance coverage, we do not believe that the outcome of these legal and environmental matters will have a material effect on our consolidated financial position or results of operations.

Employees

As of January 1, 2017, the Company had approximately 12,100 employees, including approximately 1,200 salaried employees and approximately 10,900 hourly employees. We believe that our employee relations are satisfactory.


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Item 1A. Risk Factors.

We wish to caution readers that in addition to the important factors described elsewhere in this Form 10-K, we have included below the most significant factors that have affected, or in the future could affect, our actual results and could cause our actual consolidated results during fiscal 2017, and beyond, to differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by us or on our behalf.

Our success depends in part upon the continued retention of certain key personnel.

There were several changes to the senior management team in May, 2016. Todd Penegor, who had been Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and International, assumed the duties of President and Chief Executive Officer. Gunther Plosch was appointed Chief Financial Officer. Robert D. Wright, formerly Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, was appointed Executive Vice President, Chief Operations Officer and International. Liliana M. Esposito, Chief Communications Officer, assumed additional responsibilities for quality assurance. In addition, in October, 2016, E.J. Wunsch was appointed General Counsel and Secretary. His title became Chief Legal Officer and Secretary in February, 2017.

We believe that over time our success has been dependent to a significant extent upon the efforts and abilities of our senior management team. The failure by us to retain members of our senior management team in the future could adversely affect our ability to build on the efforts we have undertaken to increase the efficiency and profitability of our business.

Competition from other restaurant companies as well as grocery chains and other retail food outlets, or poor customer experience at Wendys restaurants, could hurt our brand.

The market segments in which Company-operated and franchised Wendy’s restaurants compete are highly competitive with respect to, among other things, price, food quality and presentation, service, location, convenience, and the nature and condition of the restaurant facility. If customers have a poor experience at a Wendy’s restaurant, whether at a Company-operated or franchised restaurant, we may experience a decrease in guest traffic. Further, Wendy’s restaurants compete with a variety of locally-owned restaurants, as well as competitive regional and national chains and franchises. Several of these chains compete by offering menu items that are targeted at certain consumer groups or dietary trends. Additionally, many of our competitors have introduced lower cost, value meal menu options. Our revenues and those of our franchisees may be hurt by this product and price competition.

Moreover, new companies, including operators outside the quick-service restaurant industry, may enter our market areas and target our customer base. For example, additional competitive pressures for prepared food purchases have come from deli sections and in-store cafes of a number of major grocery store chains, as well as from convenience stores and casual dining outlets. Such competitors may have, among other things, lower operating costs, better locations, better facilities, better management, better products, more effective marketing and more efficient operations. Many of our competitors have substantially greater financial, marketing, personnel and other resources than we do, which may allow them to react to changes in pricing and marketing strategies in the quick-service restaurant industry better than we can. Many of our competitors spend significantly more on advertising and marketing than we do, which may give them a competitive advantage through higher levels of brand awareness among consumers.

Wendy’s also competes with grocery chains and other retail outlets which sell food that will be prepared at home. Competition with these chains and other outlets has increased as the gap between the price of food at home compared to food purchased at restaurants has widened.

All such competition may adversely affect our revenues and profits by reducing revenues of Company-operated restaurants and royalty revenue from franchised restaurants.

Changes in consumer tastes and preferences, and in discretionary consumer spending, could result in a decline in sales at Company-operated restaurants and in the royalties that we receive from franchisees.

The quick-service restaurant industry is often affected by changes in consumer tastes, national, regional and local economic conditions, discretionary spending priorities, demographic trends, traffic patterns and the type, number and location of competing restaurants. Our success depends to a significant extent on discretionary consumer spending, which is influenced by general economic conditions and the availability of discretionary income. Accordingly, we may experience declines in sales during economic downturns. Any material decline in the amount of discretionary spending or a decline in consumer food-away-from-home spending could hurt our revenues, results of operations, business and financial condition.


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If Company-operated and franchised restaurants are unable to adapt to changes in consumer preferences and trends, Company-operated and franchised restaurants may lose customers and the resulting revenues from Company-operated restaurants and the royalties that we receive from franchisees may decline.

Disruptions in the national and global economies may adversely impact our revenues, results of operations, business and financial condition.

Disruptions in the national and global economies could result in higher unemployment rates and declines in consumer confidence and spending. If such disruptions occur, they may result in significant declines in consumer food-away-from-home spending and customer traffic in our restaurants and those of our franchisees. There can be no assurance that government responses to the disruptions will restore consumer confidence. Ongoing disruptions in the national and global economies may adversely impact our revenues, results of operations, business and financial condition.

Changes in commodity costs (including beef, chicken and grains), supplies, fuel, utilities, distribution and other operating costs could harm results of operations.

Our profitability depends in part on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in commodity costs (including beef, chicken and grains), supplies, fuel, utilities, distribution and other operating costs. Commodity cost pressures, and any increase in these costs, especially beef or chicken prices, could adversely affect future operating results. In addition, our business is susceptible to increases in these costs as a result of other factors beyond its control, such as weather conditions, global demand, food safety concerns, product recalls and government regulations. Further, prices for feed ingredients used to produce beef and chicken could be adversely affected by changes in global weather patterns, which are inherently unpredictable, and by federal ethanol policy. Increases in gasoline prices could result in the imposition of fuel surcharges by our distributors, which would increase our costs. Significant increases in expenses incurred by consumers, such as living expenses or gasoline prices, could also result in a decrease in customer traffic at our restaurants, which could adversely affect our business. We cannot predict whether we will be able to anticipate and react to changing food costs by adjusting our purchasing practices and menu prices, and a failure to do so could adversely affect our operating results. In addition, we may not seek to or be able to pass along price increases to our customers.

Shortages or interruptions in the supply or delivery of perishable food products could damage the Wendy’s brand reputation and adversely affect our sales and operating results.

Wendy’s and its franchisees are dependent on frequent deliveries of perishable food products that meet brand specifications. Shortages or interruptions in the supply of perishable food products caused by unanticipated demand, problems in production or distribution, disease or food-borne illnesses, inclement weather or other conditions could adversely affect the availability, quality and cost of ingredients, which could lower our revenues, increase operating costs, damage brand reputation and otherwise harm our business and the businesses of our franchisees.

Food safety events, including instances of food-borne illness (such as salmonella or E. Coli) involving Wendy’s, its supply chain or other food service companies, could create negative publicity and adversely affect sales and operating results.

Food safety is a top priority, and we dedicate substantial resources to ensure that our customers enjoy safe, quality food products. However, food safety events, including instances of food-borne illness (such as salmonella or E. Coli), have occurred in the food industry in the past, and could occur in the future.

Food safety events could adversely affect the price and availability of beef, poultry or other meats. As a result, Wendy’s restaurants could experience a significant increase in food costs if there are food safety events whether or not such events involve Wendy’s restaurants or restaurants of competitors.

In addition, food safety events, whether or not involving Wendy’s, could result in negative publicity for Wendy’s or for the industry or market segments in which we operate. Increased use of social media could create and/or amplify the effects of negative publicity. This negative publicity, as well as any other negative publicity concerning types of food products Wendy’s serves, may reduce demand for Wendy’s food and could result in a decrease in guest traffic to our restaurants as consumers shift their preferences to our competitors or to other products or food types. A decrease in guest traffic to our restaurants as a result of these health concerns or negative publicity could result in a decline in sales and operating results at Company-operated restaurants or in royalties from sales at franchised restaurants.


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Consumer concerns regarding the nutritional aspects of beef, poultry, french fries or other products we sell, concerns regarding the ingredients in our products and/or cooking processes used in our restaurants, or concerns regarding the effects of disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics could affect demand for our products.

Consumer concerns regarding the nutritional aspects of beef, poultry, french fries or other products we sell, concerns regarding the ingredients in our products and/or cooking processes used in our restaurants, or concerns regarding the effects of disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics could result in less demand for our products and a decline in sales at Company-operated restaurants and in royalties from sales at franchised restaurants.

Increased use of social media could create and/or amplify the effects of negative publicity and adversely affect sales and operating results.

Events reported in the media, including social media, whether or not accurate or involving Wendy’s, could create and/or amplify negative publicity for Wendy’s or for the industry or market segments in which we operate. This could reduce demand for Wendy’s food and could result in a decrease in guest traffic to our restaurants as consumers shift their preferences to our competitors or to other products or food types. A decrease in guest traffic to our restaurants as a result of negative publicity from social media could result in a decline in sales and operating results at Company-operated restaurants or in royalties from sales at franchised restaurants.

Growth of our restaurant business is dependent on new restaurant openings, which may be affected by factors beyond our control.

Our restaurant business derives earnings from sales at Company-operated restaurants, franchise royalties received from franchised restaurants and franchise fees from franchise restaurant operators for each new unit opened. Growth in our restaurant revenues and earnings is dependent on new restaurant openings. Numerous factors beyond our control may affect restaurant openings. These factors include but are not limited to:

our ability to attract new franchisees;
the availability of site locations for new restaurants;
the ability of potential restaurant owners to obtain financing;
the ability of restaurant owners to hire, train and retain qualified operating personnel;
construction and development costs of new restaurants, particularly in highly-competitive markets;
the ability of restaurant owners to secure required governmental approvals and permits in a timely manner, or at all; and
adverse weather conditions.

Wendy’s franchisees could take actions that could harm our business.

As of January 1, 2017, approximately 95% of restaurants in the Wendy’s system were operated by franchisees. Wendy’s franchisees are contractually obligated to operate their restaurants in accordance with the standards set forth in agreements with them. Wendy’s also provides training and support to franchisees. However, franchisees are independent third parties that we do not control, and the franchisees own, operate and oversee the daily operations of their restaurants. Specifically, franchisees are solely responsible for developing and utilizing their own policies, procedures and documents, making their own hiring, firing and disciplinary decisions, scheduling hours and establishing wages, and managing their day-to-day employment processes and procedures, all of which is done independent of Wendy’s and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules or regulations. Further, franchisees have discretion as to the prices charged to customers. As a result, the ultimate success and quality of any franchise restaurant rests with the franchisee. If franchisees do not successfully operate restaurants in a manner consistent with required standards, then royalty payments to us could be adversely affected and the brand’s image and reputation could be harmed, both of which in turn could hurt our business and operating results.

In addition, the failure of franchisees to adequately engage in succession planning may affect their restaurant operations and development of new Wendy’s restaurants, which in turn could hurt our business and operating results.

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Our success depends on franchisees’ participation in brand strategies.

Wendy’s franchisees are an integral part of our business. Wendy’s may be unable to successfully implement the strategies that it believes are necessary for further growth if franchisees do not participate in that implementation. Our business and operating results could be adversely affected if a significant number of franchisees do not participate in brand strategies.

Our Image Activation program may not positively affect sales at Company-operated and participating franchised restaurants or improve our results of operations, and franchisees may not participate in the Image Activation program to the extent expected by the Company.

The Company and its franchisees reimaged 521 North America system restaurants and built 99 new North America restaurants in 2016. The North America system now has 32% of restaurants on the new image. The Company has plans for significantly more new and reimaged Company and franchisee restaurants in 2017 and beyond.

In order to promote Image Activation new restaurant development, Wendy’s has an incentive program for franchisees that provides for reductions in royalty and national advertising payments for up to the first two years of operation for qualifying new restaurants opened by December 31, 2020, with the value of the incentives declining in the later years of the program. Wendy’s also has incentive programs for 2017 available to franchisees that commence Image Activation restaurant remodels by December 15, 2017. The remodel incentive programs provide for reductions in royalty payments for one year after the completion of construction. Wendy’s also had incentive programs that were available for franchisees’ participation in Wendy’s Image Activation program in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The Company’s Image Activation program may not positively affect sales at Company-operated restaurants or improve results of operations. There can be no assurance that sales at participating franchised restaurants will achieve or maintain projected levels or that after giving effect to the incentives provided to franchisees the Company’s results of operations will improve. There can also be no assurance that franchisees will participate in the Image Activation program to the extent expected by the Company.

Further, it is possible that Wendy’s may provide other financial incentives to franchisees to participate in the Image Activation program. These incentives could also result in additional expense and/or a reduction of royalties or other revenues received from franchisees in the future. If Wendy’s provides additional incentives to franchisees related to financing of the Image Activation program, Wendy’s may incur costs related to loan guarantees, interest rate subsidies and/or costs related to collectability of loans.

In addition, most of the Wendy’s system consists of franchised restaurants. Many of our franchisees will need to borrow funds in order to participate in the Image Activation program. Other than the incentive programs described above, Wendy’s generally does not provide franchisees with financing but it continues to develop third-party financing sources for franchisees. If our franchisees are unable to obtain financing at commercially reasonable rates, or not at all, they may be unwilling or unable to invest in the reimaging of their existing restaurants and our future growth and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our financial results are affected by the operating results of franchisees.

As of January 1, 2017, approximately 95% of the Wendy’s system were franchise restaurants. We receive revenue in the form of royalties, which are generally based on a percentage of sales at franchised restaurants, rent and fees from franchisees. Accordingly, a substantial portion of our financial results is to a large extent dependent upon the operational and financial success of our franchisees. If sales trends or economic conditions worsen for franchisees, their financial results may worsen and our royalty, rent and other fee revenues may decline. In addition, accounts receivable and related allowance for doubtful accounts may increase. When Company-operated restaurants are sold, one of our subsidiaries is often required to remain responsible for lease payments for these restaurants to the extent that the purchasing franchisees default on their leases. During periods of declining sales and profitability of franchisees, the incidence of franchisee defaults for these lease payments increases and we are then required to make those payments and seek recourse against the franchisee or agree to repayment terms. Additionally, if franchisees fail to renew their franchise agreements, or if we decide to restructure franchise agreements in order to induce franchisees to renew these agreements, then our royalty revenues may decrease. Further, we may decide from time to time to acquire restaurants from franchisees that experience significant financial hardship, which may reduce our cash and cash equivalents.

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The system optimization initiative involves risks that could adversely affect our business and financial results.

The Company completed its plan to reduce its Company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately 5% with the sale of 310 restaurants during 2016. There are a number of risks associated with the system optimization initiative, including the impact of the sale of restaurants on ongoing operations, any tax impact from the sale of restaurants, and the future impact to the Company’s earnings, restaurant operating margin, cash flow and depreciation. If Wendy’s is unable to manage these risks effectively, our business and financial results could be adversely affected.
Further, Wendy’s generally retains ownership or the leasehold interest to the real estate when it sells restaurants under the system optimization initiative and leases or subleases the real estate to franchisees. This increases the risks described above under the heading “Our financial results are affected by the operating results of franchisees.”
Wendy’s may be unable to manage effectively the acquisition and disposition of restaurants, which could adversely affect our business and financial results.
Wendy’s has from time to time acquired the interests of and sold Wendy’s restaurants to franchisees. Wendy’s will continue to evaluate strategic acquisitions of franchised restaurants and strategic dispositions of Company-operated restaurants to existing and new franchisees. The success of these transactions is dependent upon the availability of sellers and buyers, the availability of financing, and the brand’s ability to negotiate transactions on terms deemed acceptable. In addition, the operations of restaurants that the brand acquires may not be integrated successfully, and the intended benefits of such transactions may not be realized. Acquisitions of franchised restaurants pose various risks to brand operations, including:
diversion of management’s attention to the integration of acquired restaurant operations;
increased operating expenses and the inability to achieve expected cost savings and operating efficiencies;
exposure to liabilities arising out of sellers’ prior operations of acquired restaurants; and
incurrence or assumption of debt to finance acquisitions or improvements and/or the assumption of long-term, non-cancelable leases.
In addition, engaging in acquisitions and dispositions places increased demands on the brand’s operational and financial management resources and may require us to continue to expand these resources. If Wendy’s is unable to manage the acquisition and disposition of restaurants effectively, our business and financial results could be adversely affected.
Current restaurant locations may become unattractive, and attractive new locations may not be available for a reasonable price, if at all.

The success of any restaurant depends in substantial part on its location. There can be no assurance that our current restaurant locations will continue to be attractive as demographic patterns change. Neighborhood or economic conditions where our restaurants are located could decline in the future, thus resulting in potentially reduced sales in those locations. In addition, rising real estate prices in some areas may restrict our ability and the ability of franchisees to purchase or lease new desirable locations. If desirable locations cannot be obtained at reasonable prices, the brand’s ability to execute its growth strategies could be adversely affected.

Wendy’s leasing and ownership of significant amounts of real estate exposes it to possible liabilities and losses, including liabilities associated with environmental matters.

As of January 1, 2017, Wendy’s leased or owned the land and/or the building for 330 Company-operated Wendy’s restaurants. Wendy’s also owned 519 and leased 979 properties that were either leased or subleased principally to franchisees as of January 1, 2017. Accordingly, we are subject to all of the risks associated with leasing and owning real estate. In particular, the value of our real property assets could decrease, and costs could increase, because of changes in the investment climate for real estate, demographic trends, supply or demand for the use of the restaurants, which may result from competition from similar restaurants in the area, and liability for environmental matters.

Wendy’s is subject to federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations concerning the discharge, storage, handling, release and disposal of hazardous or toxic substances. These environmental laws provide for significant fines, penalties and liabilities, sometimes without regard to whether the owner, operator or occupant of the property knew of, or was responsible for, the release or presence of the hazardous or toxic substances. Third parties may also make claims against owners, operators or occupants of properties for personal injuries and property damage associated with releases of, or actual or alleged

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exposure to, such substances. A number of our restaurant sites were formerly gas stations or are adjacent to current or former gas stations, or were used for other commercial activities that can create environmental impacts. We may also acquire or lease these types of sites in the future. We have not conducted a comprehensive environmental review of all of our properties. We may not have identified all of the potential environmental liabilities at our leased and owned properties, and any such liabilities identified in the future could cause us to incur significant costs, including costs associated with litigation, fines or clean-up responsibilities. In addition, we cannot predict what environmental legislation or regulations will be enacted in the future or how existing or future laws or regulations will be administered or interpreted. We cannot predict the amount of future expenditures that may be required in order to comply with any environmental laws or regulations or to satisfy any such claims. See “Item 1. Business - General - Legal and Environmental Matters.”

Wendy’s leases real property generally for initial terms of 15 to 20 years with one or more options to extend the term of the leases in consecutive five-year increments. Many leases provide that the landlord may increase the rent over the term of the lease and any renewals thereof. Most leases require us to pay all of the costs of insurance, taxes, maintenance and utilities. We generally cannot cancel these leases. If an existing or future restaurant is not profitable, and we decide to close it, we may nonetheless be committed to perform our obligations under the applicable lease including, among other things, paying the base rent for the balance of the lease term. In addition, as each lease expires, we may fail to negotiate additional renewals or renewal options, either on commercially acceptable terms or at all, which could cause us to close restaurants in desirable locations.

Due to the concentration of Wendy’s restaurants in particular geographic regions, our business results could be impacted by the adverse economic conditions prevailing in those regions regardless of the state of the national economy as a whole.

As of January 1, 2017, we and our franchisees operated Wendy’s restaurants in 50 states, the District of Columbia and 30 foreign countries and territories. As of January 1, 2017 and as detailed in “Item 2. Properties,” the eight leading states by number of operating units were: Florida, Texas, Ohio, Georgia, California, Pennsylvania, Michigan and North Carolina. This geographic concentration can cause economic conditions in particular areas of the country to have a disproportionate impact on our overall results of operations. It is possible that adverse economic conditions in states or regions that contain a high concentration of Wendy’s restaurants could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations in the future.

Our operations are influenced by adverse weather conditions.

Weather, which is unpredictable, can impact Wendy’s restaurant sales. Harsh weather conditions that keep customers from dining out result in lost opportunities for our restaurants. A heavy snowstorm in the Northeast or Midwest or a hurricane in the Southeast can shut down an entire metropolitan area, resulting in a reduction in sales in that area. Our first quarter includes winter months and historically has a lower level of sales at Company-operated restaurants. Because a significant portion of our restaurant operating costs is fixed or semi-fixed in nature, the loss of sales during these periods hurts our operating margins, and can result in restaurant operating losses. For these reasons, a quarter-to-quarter comparison may not be a good indication of Wendy’s performance or how it may perform in the future.

Our business could be hurt by increased labor costs or labor shortages.

Labor is a primary component in the cost of operating our restaurants. We devote significant resources to recruiting and training its managers and hourly employees. Increased labor costs due to competition, increased minimum wage or employee benefits costs (including various federal, state and local actions to increase minimum wages and government-mandated health care benefits), unionization activity or other factors would adversely impact our cost of sales and operating expenses. In addition, Wendy’s success depends on its ability to attract, motivate and retain qualified employees, including restaurant managers and staff. If the brand is unable to do so, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Complaints or litigation may hurt the Wendy’s brand.

Wendy’s customers file complaints or lawsuits against us alleging that we are responsible for an illness or injury they suffered at or after a visit to a Wendy’s restaurant, or alleging that there was a problem with food quality or operations at a Wendy’s restaurant. We are also subject to a variety of other claims arising in the ordinary course of our business, including personal injury claims, contract claims, claims from franchisees (which tend to increase when franchisees experience declining sales and profitability) and claims alleging violations of federal and state law regarding workplace and employment matters, discrimination and similar matters, including class action lawsuits related to these matters. The Company has also been named as a defendant in the matters described in “Item 3. Legal Proceedings.” Regardless of whether any claims against us are valid or whether we are found to be liable, claims may be expensive to defend and may divert management’s attention away from operations and hurt our performance. We cannot estimate the aggregate possible range of loss due to most proceedings being in preliminary stages, with various motions

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either yet to be submitted or pending, discovery yet to occur, and significant factual matters unresolved. In addition, most cases seek an indeterminate amount of damages and many involve multiple parties. Predicting the outcomes of settlement discussions or judicial or arbitral decisions are thus inherently difficult. Insurance policies contain customary limitations, conditions and exclusions that can affect the amount of insurance proceeds ultimately received. A judgment significantly in excess of our insurance coverage for any claims could materially adversely affect our financial condition or results of operations. Further, adverse publicity resulting from these claims may hurt us and our franchisees.

Additionally, the restaurant industry has been subject to a number of claims that the menus and actions of restaurant chains have contributed to the obesity of certain of their customers. Adverse publicity resulting from these allegations may harm the reputation of our restaurants, even if the allegations are not directed against our restaurants or are not valid, and even if we are not found liable or the concerns relate only to a single restaurant or a limited number of restaurants. Moreover, complaints, litigation or adverse publicity experienced by one or more of Wendy’s franchisees could also hurt our business as a whole.

We may not be able to adequately protect our intellectual property, which could harm the value of the Wendy’s brand and hurt our business.

Our intellectual property is material to the conduct of our business. We rely on a combination of trademarks, copyrights, service marks, trade secrets and similar intellectual property rights to protect our brand and other intellectual property. The success of our business strategy depends, in part, on our continued ability to use our existing trademarks and service marks in order to increase brand awareness and further develop our branded products in both existing and new markets. If our efforts to protect our intellectual property are not adequate, or if any third party misappropriates or infringes on our intellectual property, either in print or on the Internet, the value of our brand may be harmed, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, including the failure of our brand to achieve and maintain market acceptance. This could harm our image, brand or competitive position and, if we commence litigation to enforce our rights, cause us to incur significant legal fees.

We franchise our brand to various franchisees. While we try to ensure that the quality of our brand is maintained by all of our franchisees, we cannot assure that these franchisees will not take actions that hurt the value of our intellectual property or the reputation of the Wendy’s restaurant system.

We have registered certain trademarks and have other trademark registrations pending in the United States and certain foreign jurisdictions. The trademarks that we currently use have not been registered in all of the countries outside of the United States in which we do business or may do business in the future and may never be registered in all of these countries. We cannot assure that all of the steps we have taken to protect our intellectual property in the United States and foreign countries will be adequate. The laws of some foreign countries do not protect intellectual property rights to the same extent as the laws of the United States.

In addition, we cannot assure that third parties will not claim infringement by us in the future. Any such claim, whether or not it has merit, could be time-consuming, result in costly litigation, cause delays in introducing new menu items, require costly modifications to advertising and promotional materials or require us to enter into royalty or licensing agreements. As a result, any such claim could harm our business and cause a decline in our results of operations and financial condition.

Our current insurance may not provide adequate levels of coverage against claims that have been or may be filed.

We currently maintain insurance we believe is adequate for businesses of our size and type. However, there are types of losses we may incur that cannot be insured against or that we believe are not economically reasonable to insure, such as losses due to natural disasters or acts of terrorism. In addition, we currently self-insure a significant portion of expected losses under workers compensation, general liability and property insurance programs. Unanticipated changes in the actuarial assumptions and management estimates underlying our reserves for these losses could result in materially different amounts of expense under these programs, which could harm our business and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

The Company currently maintains insurance coverage to address cyber incidents. Applicable insurance policies contain customary limitations, conditions and exclusions. There can be no assurance that the cyber policies maintained by the Company will cover substantially all of the Company’s costs and expenses incurred related to the cybersecurity incidents described below in this Item 1A and in “Item 3. Legal Proceedings.”


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Changes in legal or regulatory requirements, including franchising laws, payment card industry rules, overtime rules, minimum wage rates, government-mandated health care benefits, tax legislation, federal ethanol policy and accounting standards, may adversely affect our ability to open new restaurants or otherwise hurt our existing and future operations and results.

Each Wendy’s restaurant is subject to licensing and regulation by health, sanitation, safety and other agencies in the state and/or municipality in which the restaurant is located, as well as to Federal laws, rules and regulations and requirements of non-governmental entities such as payment card industry rules. State and local government authorities may enact laws, rules or regulations that impact restaurant operations and the cost of conducting those operations. There can be no assurance that we and/or our franchisees will not experience material difficulties or failures in obtaining the necessary licenses or approvals for new restaurants, which could delay the opening of such restaurants in the future. In addition, more stringent and varied requirements of local governmental bodies with respect to tax, zoning, land use and environmental factors could delay or prevent development of new restaurants in particular locations.

Federal laws, rules and regulations address many aspects of our business, such as franchising, federal ethanol policy, minimum wages and taxes. We and our franchisees are also subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which governs such matters as minimum wages, overtime and other working conditions, along with the ADA, family leave mandates and a variety of other laws enacted by the states that govern these and other employment law matters. Changes in laws, rules, regulations and governmental policies, including the joint employer standard, could increase our costs and adversely affect our existing and future operations and results.

It is possible that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) could be amended or repealed in the future. The Company cannot predict the extent to which amendment or repeal of the PPACA, or the implementation of another government-mandated health care program, might require modifications to our benefits policies and practices, result in disruptions to our operations or our ability to attract and retain personnel, or result in increased health care costs.

Changes in accounting standards, or in the interpretation of existing standards, applicable to us could also affect our future results. See “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, for a summary of new or amended accounting standards applicable to us.

We do not exercise ultimate control over purchasing for our restaurant system, which could harm sales or profitability and the brand.

Although we ensure that all suppliers to the Wendy’s system meet quality control standards, Wendy’s franchisees control the purchasing of food, proprietary paper, equipment and other operating supplies from such suppliers through the purchasing co-op controlled by Wendy’s franchisees, QSCC. QSCC negotiates national contracts for such food, equipment and supplies. We are entitled to appoint two representatives (of the total of 11) on the board of directors of QSCC and participates in QSCC through its Company-operated restaurants, but we do not control the decisions and activities of QSCC except to ensure that all suppliers satisfy our quality control standards. If QSCC does not properly estimate the product needs of the Wendy’s system, makes poor purchasing decisions, or decides to cease its operations, system sales and operating costs could be adversely affected and our results of operations and financial condition or the financial condition of Wendy’s franchisees could be hurt.

Our international operations are subject to various factors of uncertainty and there is no assurance that international operations will be profitable.

In addition to many of the risk factors described throughout this Item 1A, Wendy’s business outside of the United States is subject to a number of additional factors, including international economic and political conditions, risk of corruption and violations of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or similar laws of other countries, differing cultures and consumer preferences, the inability to adapt to international customer preferences, inadequate brand infrastructure within foreign countries to support our international activities, inability to obtain adequate supplies meeting our quality standards and product specifications or interruptions in obtaining such supplies, restrictions on our ability to move cash out of certain foreign countries, currency regulations and fluctuations, diverse government regulations and tax systems, uncertain or differing interpretations of rights and obligations in connection with international franchise agreements, the collection of royalties from international franchisees and intellectual property rights, the availability and cost of land, construction costs, other legal, financial or regulatory impediments to the development and/or operation of new restaurants, and the availability of experienced management, appropriate franchisees, and joint venture partners. Although we believe we have developed the support structure required for international growth, there is no assurance that such growth will occur or that international operations will be profitable.


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To the extent we invest in international Company-operated restaurants or joint ventures, we would also have the risk of operating losses related to those restaurants, which would adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.

We are heavily dependent on computer systems and information technology and any material failure, interruption or security breach of our computer systems or technology could impair our ability to efficiently operate our business.

We are significantly dependent upon our computer systems and information technology to properly conduct our business, including point-of-sale processing in our restaurants, management of our supply chain, collection of cash, payment of obligations and various other processes and procedures. Our ability to efficiently manage our business depends significantly on the reliability and capacity of these systems and information technology. The failure of these systems and information technology to operate effectively, an interruption, problems with maintenance, upgrading or transitioning to replacement systems, fraudulent manipulation of sales reporting from our franchised restaurants resulting in loss of sales and royalty payments, or a breach in security of these systems could be harmful and cause delays in customer service, result in the loss of data and reduce efficiency or cause delays in operations. Significant capital investments might be required to remediate any problems. Any security breach involving our or our franchisees’ point-of-sale or other systems could result in a loss of consumer confidence and potential costs associated with fraud. Also, despite our considerable efforts and technological resources to secure our computer systems and information technology, security breaches, such as unauthorized access and computer viruses, may occur, resulting in system disruptions, shutdowns or unauthorized disclosure of confidential information. A security breach of our computer systems or information technology could require us to notify customers, employees or other groups, result in adverse publicity, loss of sales and profits, and incur penalties or other costs that could adversely affect the operation of our business and results of operations.

As part of our marketing efforts, we rely on search engine marketing and social media platforms to attract and retain customers. These efforts may not be successful, and pose a variety of other risks, including the improper disclosure of proprietary information, negative comments about the Wendy’s brand, exposure of personally identifiable information, fraud or out of date information. The inappropriate use of social media vehicles by franchisees, customers, or employees could increase our costs, lead to litigation or result in negative publicity that could damage our reputation. The occurrence of any such developments could have an adverse effect on business results.

The occurrence of cyber incidents, or a deficiency in cybersecurity, could negatively impact our business by causing a disruption to our operations, a compromise or corruption of confidential information, and/or damage to our employee and business relationships, all of which could subject us to loss and harm the Wendy’s brand.

A cyber incident is considered to be any adverse event that threatens the confidentiality, integrity or availability of information resources. More specifically, a cyber incident is an intentional attack or an unintentional event that can include gaining unauthorized access to systems to disrupt operations, corrupt data or steal confidential information about customers, franchisees, vendors and employees. A number of retailers and other companies have recently experienced serious cyber incidents and breaches of their information technology systems. The Wendy’s system has also experienced unusual credit card activity at some Wendy’s restaurants, as further described below. As the Company’s reliance on technology has increased, so have the risks posed to its systems, both internal and those it has outsourced. The three primary risks that could directly result from the occurrence of a cyber incident include operational interruption, damage to the relationship with customers, franchisees and employees and private data exposure. In addition to maintaining insurance coverage to address cyber incidents, the Company has also implemented processes, procedures and controls to help mitigate these risks. However, these measures, as well as its increased awareness of a risk of a cyber incident, do not guarantee that the Company’s reputation and financial results will not be adversely affected by such an incident.

Because the Company and its franchisees accept electronic forms of payment from their customers, the Company’s business requires the collection and retention of customer data, including credit and debit card numbers and other personally identifiable information in various information systems that the Company and its franchisees maintain and in those maintained by third parties with whom the Company and its franchisees contract to provide credit card processing. The Company also maintains important internal Company data, such as personally identifiable information about its employees and franchisees and information relating to its operations. The Company’s use of personally identifiable information is regulated by foreign, federal and state laws, as well as by certain third-party agreements. As privacy and information security laws and regulations change, the Company may incur additional costs to ensure that it remains in compliance with those laws and regulations. If the Company’s security and information systems are compromised or if its employees or franchisees fail to comply with these laws, regulations, or contract terms, and this information is obtained by unauthorized persons or used inappropriately, it could adversely affect the Company’s reputation and could disrupt its operations and result in costly litigation, judgments, or penalties resulting from violation of federal and state laws and payment card industry regulations. A cyber incident could also require the Company to notify customers, employees or other groups, result in adverse publicity, loss of sales and profits, increase fees payable to third parties, and incur penalties or remediation and other costs that could adversely affect the operation of the Company’s business and results of operations.

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Certain of Our Franchisees have Experienced Cybersecurity Incidents.

The Company first reported unusual payment card activity affecting some franchise-owned restaurants in February 2016 and that malware had been discovered on certain systems. Subsequently, on June 9, 2016, the Company reported that an additional malware variant had been identified and disabled. On July 7, 2016, the Company, on behalf of affected franchise locations, provided information about specific restaurant locations that may have been impacted by these attacks, all of which are located in the United States, along with support for customers who may have been affected by the malware variants.

Working closely with third-party forensic experts, federal law enforcement and payment card industry contacts as part of its ongoing investigation, the Company determined that specific payment card information was targeted by the additional malware variant. This information included cardholder name, credit or debit card number, expiration date, cardholder verification value and service code.

The Company believes the criminal cyberattacks resulted from service providers’ remote access credentials being compromised, allowing access, and the ability to deploy malware, to some franchisees’ point-of-sale systems. There has been no indication in the ongoing investigation that any Company-operated restaurants were impacted by this activity.

The Company worked with investigators to disable the malware involved in the first attack earlier this year. Soon after detecting the malware variant involved in the latest attack, the Company identified a method of disabling it and thereafter disabled it in all franchisee restaurants where it was discovered. The investigation has confirmed that criminals used malware believed to have been effectively deployed on some Wendy’s franchisee systems starting in late fall 2015.

The Company has been named as a defendant in a putative class action filed in the United States on behalf of customers, as well as five class actions brought by financial institutions in the United States that have been consolidated into a single proceeding. In addition, certain of the Company’s present and former directors, and one non-director executive officer of the Company, were named as defendants in a putative shareholder derivative complaint alleging breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment and gross mismanagement. These civil proceedings seek damages and other relief allegedly arising from the cybersecurity incident. In addition, claims may also be made by payment card networks against the affected franchisees. These claims and investigations may adversely affect how we or our franchisees operate the business, divert the attention of management from the operation of the business, have an adverse effect on our reputation, result in additional costs and adversely affect our results of operations.

We may be required to recognize additional asset impairment and other asset-related charges.

We have significant amounts of long-lived assets, goodwill and intangible assets and have incurred impairment charges in the past with respect to those assets. In accordance with applicable accounting standards, we test for impairment generally annually, or more frequently, if there are indicators of impairment, such as:

significant adverse changes in the business climate;
current period operating or cash flow losses combined with a history of operating or cash flow losses or a projection or forecast that demonstrates continuing losses associated with long-lived assets;
a current expectation that more-likely-than-not (i.e., a likelihood that is more than 50%) long-lived assets will be sold or otherwise disposed of significantly before the end of their previously estimated useful life; and
a significant drop in our stock price.

Based upon future economic and capital market conditions, as well as the operating performance of our reporting units, future impairment charges could be incurred. Further, as a result of the system optimization initiative, the Company has recorded losses on remeasuring long-lived assets to fair value upon determination that the assets will be leased and/or subleased to franchisees in connection with the sale or anticipated sale of restaurants, and may incur further losses as the Company continues to sell restaurants under the system optimization initiative.

The Company and certain of its subsidiaries are subject to various restrictions, and substantially all of the assets of certain subsidiaries are security, under the terms of a securitization transaction that was completed on June 1, 2015.

On June 1, 2015, Wendy’s Funding, LLC (“Wendy’s Funding” or the “Master Issuer”), a limited-purpose, bankruptcy-remote, wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of The Wendy’s Company, entered into a base indenture and a related supplemental indenture (collectively, the “Indenture”) under which the Master Issuer may issue multiple series of notes. On the same date, the Master

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Issuer issued Series 2015-1 3.371% Fixed Rate Senior Secured Notes, Class A-2-I (the “Class A-2-I Notes”) with an initial principal amount of $875.0 million, Series 2015-1 4.080% Fixed Rate Senior Secured Notes, Class A-2-II (the “Class A-2-II Notes”) with an initial principal amount of $900.0 million and the Series 2015-1 4.497% Fixed Rate Senior Secured Notes, Class A-2-III, (the “Class A-2-III Notes”) with an initial principal amount of $500.0 million (collectively, the “Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes”). In addition, the Master Issuer entered into a revolving financing facility of Series 2015-1 Variable Funding Senior Secured Notes, Class A-1 (the “Series 2015-1 Class A-1 Notes” and, together with the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes, the “Series 2015-1 Senior Notes”), which allow for the drawing of up to $150.0 million under the Series 2015-1 Class A-1 Notes, which include certain credit instruments, including a letter of credit facility. The Series 2015-1 Class A-1 Notes were issued under the Indenture and allow for drawings on a revolving basis.

The Series 2015-1 Senior Notes were issued in a securitization transaction pursuant to which certain of the Company’s domestic and foreign revenue-generating assets, consisting principally of franchise-related agreements, real estate assets, and intellectual property and license agreements for the use of intellectual property, were contributed or otherwise transferred to the Master Issuer and certain other limited-purpose, bankruptcy remote, wholly-owned indirect subsidiaries of the Company that act as guarantors (the “Guarantors”) of the Series 2015-1 Senior Notes and that have pledged substantially all of their assets, excluding certain real estate assets and subject to certain limitations, to secure the Series 2015-1 Senior Notes.

The Series 2015-1 Senior Notes are subject to a series of covenants and restrictions customary for transactions of this type, including (i) that the Master Issuer maintains specified reserve accounts to be used to make required payments in respect of the Series 2015-1 Senior Notes, (ii) provisions relating to optional and mandatory prepayments and the related payment of specified amounts, including specified make-whole payments in the case of the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes under certain circumstances, (iii) certain indemnification payments in the event, among other things, the assets pledged as collateral for the Series 2015-1 Senior Notes are in stated ways defective or ineffective and (iv) covenants relating to recordkeeping, access to information and similar matters. The Series 2015-1 Senior Notes are also subject to customary rapid amortization events provided for in the Indenture, including events tied to failure to maintain stated debt service coverage ratios, the sum of global gross sales for specified restaurants being below certain levels on certain measurement dates, certain manager termination events, an event of default, and the failure to repay or refinance the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes on the applicable scheduled maturity date. The Series 2015-1 Senior Notes are also subject to certain customary events of default, including events relating to non-payment of required interest, principal, or other amounts due on or with respect to the Series 2015-1 Senior Notes, failure to comply with covenants within certain time frames, certain bankruptcy events, breaches of specified representations and warranties, failure of security interests to be effective, and certain judgments.

In the event that a rapid amortization event occurs under the Indenture (including, without limitation, upon an event of default under the Indenture or the failure to repay the securitized debt at the end of the applicable term), the funds available to the Company would be reduced or eliminated, which would in turn reduce our ability to operate or grow our business. If the Company’s subsidiaries are not able to generate sufficient cash flow to service their debt obligations, they may need to refinance or restructure debt, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. If the Company’s subsidiaries are unable to implement one or more of these alternatives, they may not be able to meet debt payment and other obligations.

The Company has a significant amount of debt outstanding. Such indebtedness, along with the other contractual commitments of its subsidiaries, could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as the ability of certain of our subsidiaries to meet debt payment obligations.

The Company has approximately $2.5 billion of outstanding debt, including debt issued in the securitization transaction on June 1, 2015. Additionally, a subsidiary of the Company has issued the Series 2015-1 Class A-1 Notes, which will allow the subsidiary to borrow amounts from time to time on a revolving basis, up to an aggregate principal amount of $150.0 million.

This level of debt could have significant consequences on the Company’s future operations, including:

making it more difficult to meet payment and other obligations under outstanding debt;

resulting in an event of default if the Company’s subsidiaries fail to comply with the financial and other restrictive covenants contained in debt agreements, which event of default could result in all of the Company’s subsidiaries’ debt becoming immediately due and payable;

reducing the availability of the Company’s cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions and other general corporate purposes, and limiting the Company’s ability to obtain additional financing for these purposes;


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subjecting the Company to the risk of increased sensitivity to interest rate increases on indebtedness with variable interest rates;

limiting the Company’s flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, and increasing its vulnerability to, changes in the Company’s business, the industry in which it operates and the general economy; and

placing the Company at a competitive disadvantage compared to its competitors that are less leveraged.

In addition, certain of the Company’s subsidiaries also have significant contractual requirements for the purchase of soft drinks. If consumer preferences change and the Company’s customers purchase fewer soft drinks than expected or estimated, such contractual commitments may adversely affect the financial condition of the Company. The Company has also provided loan guarantees to various lenders on behalf of franchisees entering into debt arrangements for new restaurant development and equipment financing, and two guarantees to lenders for franchisees, in connection with the refinancing of a franchisee’s debt and the sale of restaurants to a franchisee. Certain subsidiaries also guarantee or are contingently liable for certain leases of their respective franchisees for which they have been indemnified. In addition, certain subsidiaries also guarantee or are contingently liable for certain leases of their respective franchisees for which they have not been indemnified. The Company has also provided an irrevocable stand-by letter of credit to a lender to support a financing program for franchisees that participate in the Company’s Image Activation Program. These commitments could have an adverse effect on the Company’s liquidity and the ability of its subsidiaries to meet payment obligations.

The ability to meet payment and other obligations under the debt instruments of the Company’s subsidiaries depends on their ability to generate significant cash flow in the future. This, to some extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative and regulatory factors, as well as other factors that are beyond the Company’s control. There can be no assurance that the Company’s business will generate cash flow from operations, or that future borrowings will be available to it under existing or any future credit facilities or otherwise, in an amount sufficient to enable its subsidiaries to meet their debt payment obligations and to fund other liquidity needs. If the Company’s subsidiaries are not able to generate sufficient cash flow to service their debt obligations, they may need to refinance or restructure debt, sell assets, reduce or delay capital investments, or seek to raise additional capital. If the Company’s subsidiaries are unable to implement one or more of these alternatives, they may not be able to meet debt payment and other obligations.

In addition, the Company may incur additional indebtedness in the future. If new debt or other liabilities are added to the Company’s current consolidated debt levels, the related risks that it now faces could intensify.

The securitization transaction documents impose certain restrictions on the activities of the Company and its subsidiaries.

The Indenture and the management agreement entered into between a subsidiary of the Company and the Indenture trustee (the “Management Agreement”) contain various covenants that limit the Company’s and its subsidiaries’ ability to engage in specified types of transactions. For example, the Indenture and the Management Agreement contain covenants that, among other things, restrict, subject to certain exceptions, the ability of certain subsidiaries to:

incur or guarantee additional indebtedness;

sell certain assets;

create or incur liens on certain assets to secure indebtedness; or

consolidate, merge, sell or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of their assets.

As a result of these restrictions, the Company may not have adequate resources or flexibility to continue to manage the business and provide for growth of the Wendy’s system, including product development and marketing for the Wendy’s brand, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s future growth prospects, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity.

To service debt and meet its other cash needs, Wendy’s will require a significant amount of cash, which may not be generated or available to it.

The ability of Wendy’s to make payments on, repay or refinance its debt, including debt issued in the securitization transaction on June 1, 2015 and any additional debt, and to fund planned capital expenditures, dividends and other cash needs will depend largely upon its future operating performance. Future performance, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial,

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competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors that are beyond our control. In addition, the ability of Wendy’s to borrow funds in the future to make payments on its debt will depend on the satisfaction of the covenants in its credit facilities and other debt agreements, including those for the debt issued in the securitization transaction on June 1, 2015 and other agreements it may enter into in the future. Specifically, Wendy’s will need to maintain specified financial ratios and satisfy financial condition tests. There is no assurance that the Wendy’s business will generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available under its credit facilities or from other sources in an amount sufficient to enable it to pay its debt or to fund its or the Company’s dividend and other liquidity needs.

There can be no assurance regarding whether or to what extent the Company will pay dividends on its Common Stock in the future.

Holders of the Company’s Common Stock will only be entitled to receive such dividends as its Board of Directors may declare out of funds legally available for such payments. Any dividends will be made at the discretion of the Board of Directors and will depend on the Company’s earnings, financial condition, cash requirements and such other factors as the Board of Directors may deem relevant from time to time.

Because the Company is a holding company, its ability to declare and pay dividends is dependent upon cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments on hand and cash flows from its subsidiaries. The ability of its subsidiaries to pay cash dividends and/or make loans or advances to the holding company will be dependent upon their respective abilities to achieve sufficient cash flows after satisfying their respective cash requirements, including subsidiary-level debt service and revolving credit agreements, to enable the payment of such dividends or the making of such loans or advances. The ability of any of its subsidiaries to pay cash dividends or other payments to the Company will also be limited by restrictions in debt instruments currently existing or subsequently entered into by such subsidiaries, which is described earlier in this Item 1A.

A substantial amount of the Companys Common Stock is concentrated in the hands of certain stockholders.

Nelson Peltz, the Company’s Chairman and former Chief Executive Officer, Peter May, the Company’s Vice Chairman and former President and Chief Operating Officer, and Edward Garden, who resigned as a director of the Company on December 14, 2015, beneficially own shares of the Company’s outstanding Common Stock that collectively constitute more than 20% of its total voting power as of February 22, 2017. Messrs. Peltz, May and Garden may, from time to time, acquire beneficial ownership of additional shares of Common Stock.

On December 1, 2011, the Company entered into an agreement (the “Trian Agreement”) with Messrs. Peltz, May and Garden, and several of their affiliates (the “Covered Persons”). Pursuant to the Trian Agreement, the Board of Directors, including a majority of the independent directors, approved, for purposes of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law (“Section 203”), the Covered Persons becoming the owners (as defined in Section 203(c)(9) of the DGCL) of or acquiring an aggregate of up to (and including), but not more than, 32.5% (subject to certain adjustments set forth in the Agreement) of the outstanding shares of the Company’s Common Stock, such that no such persons would be subject to the restrictions set forth in Section 203 solely as a result of such ownership (such approval, the “Section 203 Approval”).

The Trian Agreement (other than the provisions relating to the Section 203 Approval and certain miscellaneous provisions that survive the termination of the agreement) terminated pursuant to the termination provisions of the Trian Agreement after funds affiliated with the Covered Persons sold 16.2 million shares of the Company’s Common Stock on January 15, 2014, thereby decreasing the Covered Persons’ beneficial ownership to less than 25% of the outstanding voting power of the Company as of that date. The terminated provisions of the Trian Agreement included provisions restricting the Covered Persons in the following areas: (i) beneficial ownership of Company voting securities; (ii) solicitation of proxies or submission of a proposal for the vote of stockholders under certain circumstances; (iii) certain affiliate transactions with the Company; and (iv) voting of certain Company voting securities.

This concentration of ownership gives Messrs. Peltz, May and Garden significant influence over the outcome of actions requiring stockholder approval, including the election of directors and the approval of mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets. They are also in a position to have significant influence to prevent or cause a change in control of the Company. If in the future Messrs. Peltz, May and Garden were to acquire more than a majority of the Company’s outstanding voting power, they would be able to determine the outcome of the election of members of the Board of Directors and the outcome of corporate actions requiring majority stockholder approval, including mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets. They would also be in a position to prevent or cause a change in control of the Company.


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The Company’s certificate of incorporation contains certain anti-takeover provisions and permits our Board of Directors to issue preferred stock without stockholder approval and limits its ability to raise capital from affiliates.

Certain provisions in the Company’s certificate of incorporation are intended to discourage or delay a hostile takeover of control of the Company. The Company’s certificate of incorporation authorizes the issuance of shares of “blank check” preferred stock, which will have such designations, rights and preferences as may be determined from time to time by the Board of Directors. Accordingly, the Board of Directors is empowered, without stockholder approval, to issue preferred stock with dividend, liquidation, conversion, voting or other rights that could adversely affect the voting power and other rights of the holders of its common stock. The preferred stock could be used to discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of the Company that is determined by the Board of Directors to be undesirable. Although the Company has no present intention to issue any shares of preferred stock, it cannot assure that it will not do so in the future.

The Company’s certificate of incorporation prohibits the issuance of preferred stock to affiliates, unless offered ratably to the holders of the Company’s Common Stock, subject to an exception in the event that the Company is in financial distress and the issuance is approved by its audit committee. This prohibition limits the ability to raise capital from affiliates.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments.

None.

Item 2. Properties.

We believe that our properties, taken as a whole, are generally well maintained and are adequate for our current and foreseeable business needs.

The following table contains information about our principal office facilities as of January 1, 2017:
ACTIVE FACILITIES
 
FACILITIES-LOCATION
 
LAND TITLE
 
APPROXIMATE SQ. FT. OF FLOOR SPACE
Corporate Headquarters
 
Dublin, Ohio
 
Owned
 
324,025

*
Wendy’s Restaurants of Canada Inc.
 
Burlington, Ontario, Canada
 
Leased
 
8,917

 
_____________________

*
QSCC, the independent Wendy’s purchasing cooperative in which Wendy’s has non-controlling representation on the board of directors, leases 14,333 square feet of this space from Wendy’s.
At January 1, 2017, Wendy’s and its franchisees operated 6,537 Wendy’s restaurants. Of the 330 Company-operated Wendy’s restaurants, Wendy’s owned the land and building for 149 restaurants, owned the building and held long-term land leases for 128 restaurants, held leases covering land and building for 53 restaurants. Wendy’s land and building leases are generally written for terms of 15 to 20 years with one or more five-year renewal options. In certain lease agreements, Wendy’s has the option to purchase the real estate. Certain leases require the payment of additional rent equal to a percentage, generally less than 6%, of annual sales in excess of specified amounts. As of January 1, 2017, Wendy’s also owned 519 and leased 979 properties that were either leased or subleased principally to franchisees. Surplus land and buildings are generally held for sale and are not material to our financial condition or results of operations.





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The location of Company-operated and franchised restaurants as of January 1, 2017 is set forth below.
State
 
Company
 
Franchise
Alabama
 

 
99

Alaska
 

 
8

Arizona
 

 
94

Arkansas
 

 
63

California
 

 
261

Colorado
 
43

 
84

Connecticut
 

 
47

Delaware
 

 
15

Florida
 
102

 
398

Georgia
 

 
277

Hawaii
 

 
7

Idaho
 

 
28

Illinois
 
54

 
136

Indiana
 

 
179

Iowa
 

 
41

Kansas
 

 
66

Kentucky
 

 
141

Louisiana
 
1

 
123

Maine
 

 
17

Maryland
 

 
106

Massachusetts
 
45

 
49

Michigan
 

 
252

Minnesota
 

 
63

Mississippi
 

 
93

Missouri
 

 
97

Montana
 

 
14

Nebraska
 

 
30

Nevada
 

 
43

New Hampshire
 

 
23

New Jersey
 

 
139

New Mexico
 

 
40

New York
 
46

 
167

North Carolina
 

 
251

North Dakota
 

 
8

Ohio
 
32

 
377

Oklahoma
 

 
35

Oregon
 

 
38

Pennsylvania
 

 
257

Rhode Island
 
7

 
11

South Carolina
 

 
126

South Dakota
 

 
9

Tennessee
 

 
179

Texas
 

 
390

Utah
 

 
84

Vermont
 

 
4

Virginia
 

 
222

Washington
 

 
77

West Virginia
 

 
68

Wisconsin
 

 
56

Wyoming
 

 
14

District of Columbia
 

 
3

Domestic subtotal
 
330

 
5,409

Canada
 

 
359

North America subtotal
 
330

 
5,768


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Country/Territory
 
Company
 
Franchise
Argentina
 

 
7

Aruba
 

 
4

Bahamas
 

 
12

Brazil
 

 
2

Chile
 

 
6

Curacao
 

 
1

Dominican Republic
 

 
11

Ecuador
 

 
3

El Salvador
 

 
17

Georgia
 

 
8

Grand Cayman Islands
 

 
2

Guam
 

 
4

Guatemala
 

 
12

Honduras
 

 
23

India
 

 
2

Indonesia
 

 
59

Jamaica
 

 
6

Japan
 

 
8

Kuwait
 

 
1

Malaysia
 

 
11

Mexico
 

 
24

New Zealand
 

 
23

Panama
 

 
8

Philippines
 

 
46

Puerto Rico
 

 
78

Trinidad and Tobago
 

 
8

United Arab Emirates
 

 
17

Venezuela
 

 
34

U. S. Virgin Islands
 

 
2

International subtotal
 

 
439

Grand total
 
330

 
6,207


Item 3. Legal Proceedings.

We are involved in litigation and claims incidental to our current and prior businesses. We provide accruals for such litigation and claims when payment is probable and reasonably estimable. The Company believes it has adequate accruals for continuing operations for all of its legal and environmental matters. We cannot estimate the aggregate possible range of loss due to most proceedings being in preliminary stages, with various motions either yet to be submitted or pending, discovery yet to occur and significant factual matters unresolved. In addition, most cases seek an indeterminate amount of damages and many involve multiple parties. Predicting the outcomes of settlement discussions or judicial or arbitral decisions is thus inherently difficult. Based on our currently available information, including legal defenses available to us, and given the aforementioned accruals and our insurance coverage, we do not believe that the outcome of these legal and environmental matters will have a material effect on our consolidated financial position or results of operations.

The Company was named as a defendant in a civil complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida on February 8, 2016 by plaintiff Jonathan Torres. The complaint asserted claims of breach of implied contract, negligence and violations of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act arising from the Company’s alleged failure to safeguard customer credit card information and the alleged failure to provide notice that credit card information had been compromised. The complaint sought certification of a putative nationwide class of consumers impacted by the alleged failures. The plaintiff sought monetary damages, injunctive and equitable relief, attorneys’ fees and other costs. The Company’s motion to dismiss the complaint was granted, without prejudice, on July 15, 2016.

An amended complaint was filed in the same court by plaintiff Jonathan Torres and six additional named plaintiffs on July 29, 2016. The amended complaint names the Company’s subsidiary, Wendy’s International, LLC (“Wendy’s International”), as the defendant and asserts claims of breach of implied contract, negligence and violations of state consumer protection or deceptive trade practices statutes in the states of Florida, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas arising from Wendy’s

27


International’s alleged failure to safeguard customer credit card information and the alleged failure to provide notice that credit card information had been compromised. The amended complaint also asserts violations of state data breach statutes in Florida, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee and Texas based on Wendy’s International’s alleged failure to timely and fully disclose the alleged data breach. The amended complaint seeks certification of a putative nationwide class of consumers impacted by the alleged failures, or in the alternative, statewide classes for Florida, New York, New Jersey, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. The plaintiffs seek monetary damages, injunctive and equitable relief, attorneys’ fees and other costs. The Company’s motion to dismiss the amended complaint is pending before the court.

The Company was named as a defendant in a civil complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on April 25, 2016 by plaintiff First Choice Federal Credit Union. The complaint asserts claims of common law negligence, negligence per se due to the alleged violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, and declaratory and injunctive relief. All of these claims are based on the allegations arising from the Company’s alleged failure to safeguard customer credit card information and the alleged failure to provide notice that credit card information had been compromised. The complaint sought certification of a putative nationwide class of banks, credit unions, financial institutions and other entities in the United States impacted by the alleged failures. The plaintiff sought monetary damages, a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and other costs.

The Company was named as a defendant in four other civil complaints filed by financial institutions in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania based on the allegations arising from the Company’s alleged failure to safeguard customer credit card information and the alleged failure to provide notice that credit card information had been compromised. These cases were consolidated into the First Choice Federal Credit Union case.

An amended civil complaint was filed in the consolidated proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on July 22, 2016 naming the Company and two of its subsidiaries as defendants. The amended complaint was brought by 22 financial institutions and five association plaintiffs (representing members who are credit unions and other similar financial institutions). The amended complaint asserts claims of common law negligence, negligence per se due to the alleged violation of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, violation of the Ohio Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and declaratory and injunctive relief. The amended complaint also seeks certification of a putative nationwide class of banks, credit unions, financial institutions and other entities in the United States impacted by the alleged failures. The plaintiffs seek monetary damages, a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and other costs. The Company’s motion to dismiss the amended complaint is pending before the court.

The Company believes it has meritorious defenses to each of the actions described above and intends to vigorously oppose the claims asserted in each of the complaints.

Certain of the Company’s present and former directors, and one non-director executive officer of the Company, were named as defendants in a putative shareholder derivative complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on December 16, 2016 by plaintiff James Graham. The Company was also named as a nominal defendant. The complaint asserts claims of breach of fiduciary duty, waste of corporate assets, unjust enrichment and gross mismanagement arising out of the credit card incidents described above. The plaintiff seeks an accounting for all damages incurred or that will be incurred as a result of the alleged wrongful acts or omissions, a judgment directing the Company to reform its governance and internal procedures, restitution and disgorgement, attorneys’ fees and other costs.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable.

28


PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.

The Company’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (“NASDAQ”) under the symbol “WEN.” The high and low market prices for The Wendy’s Company common stock are set forth below:

 
Market Price
Fiscal Quarters
Common Stock
 
High
 
Low
2016
 
 
 
First Quarter ended April 3
$
10.99

 
$
9.18

Second Quarter ended July 3
11.28

 
9.31

Third Quarter ended October 2
10.85

 
9.45

Fourth Quarter ended January 1
13.96

 
10.54

 
 
 
 
2015
 
 
 
First Quarter ended March 29
$
11.39

 
$
8.96

Second Quarter ended June 28
11.58

 
10.12

Third Quarter ended September 27
11.28

 
8.90

Fourth Quarter ended January 3
10.90

 
8.54


The Wendy’s Company common stock is entitled to one vote per share on all matters on which stockholders are entitled to vote. The Wendy’s Company has no class of equity securities currently issued and outstanding except for its common stock. However, it is currently authorized to issue up to 100 million shares of preferred stock.

For the first three quarters of the 2015 fiscal year, The Wendy’s Company paid quarterly cash dividends of $0.055 per share of common stock. For the fourth quarter of the 2015 fiscal year and first three quarters of the 2016 fiscal year, The Wendy’s Company paid quarterly cash dividends of $0.06 per share of common stock. For the fourth quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, The Wendy’s Company paid a quarterly cash dividend of $0.065 per share of common stock.

During the first quarter of 2017, The Wendy’s Company declared a dividend of $0.07 per share to be paid on March 15, 2017 to shareholders of record as of March 1, 2017. Although The Wendy’s Company currently intends to continue to declare and pay quarterly cash dividends, there can be no assurance that any additional quarterly cash dividends will be declared or paid or the amount or timing of such dividends, if any. Any future dividends will be made at the discretion of our Board of Directors and will be based on such factors as The Wendy’s Company’s earnings, financial condition, cash requirements and other factors.

As of February 22, 2017, there were approximately 27,640 holders of record of The Wendy’s Company common stock.

29


The following table provides information with respect to repurchases of shares of our common stock by us and our “affiliated purchasers” (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act) during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016:

Issuer Repurchases of Equity Securities

Period
Total Number of Shares Purchased (2)
Average Price Paid per Share
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plan
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plan (3)
October 3, 2016
through
November 6, 2016
2,112,005

$
10.80

2,107,900

$
193,169,291

November 7, 2016
through
December 4, 2016 (1)
11,184,887

$
11.51

11,086,957

$
65,669,291

December 5, 2016
through
January 1, 2017 (1)
325,296

$
13.83

316,158

$

Total
13,622,188

$
12.79

13,511,015

$


(1)
In November 2016, the Company entered into an accelerated share repurchase agreement (the “2016 ASR Agreement”) with a third-party financial institution to repurchase common stock as part of the Company’s existing $1,400.0 million share repurchase program. Under the 2016 ASR Agreement, the Company paid the financial institution an initial purchase price of $150.0 million in cash and received an initial delivery of 11.1 million shares of common stock, representing an estimate of 85% of the total shares expected to be delivered under the 2016 ASR Agreement. The total number of shares of common stock ultimately purchased by the Company under the 2016 ASR Agreement was based on the average of the daily volume-weighted average prices of the common stock during the term of the 2016 ASR Agreement, less an agreed upon discount. On December 27, 2016, the Company completed the 2016 ASR Agreement and received an additional 0.3 million shares of common stock. In total, 11.4 million shares were delivered under the 2016 ASR Agreement at an average purchase price of $13.15 per share.

(2)
Includes 111,173 shares reacquired by The Wendy’s Company from holders of share-based awards to satisfy certain requirements associated with the vesting or exercise of the respective award. The shares were valued at the average of the high and low trading prices of our common stock on the vesting or exercise date of such awards.

(3)
In June 2015, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $1,400.0 million of our common stock through January 1, 2017, when and if market conditions warrant and to the extent legally permissible. On January 1, 2017, the program expired.

In February, 2017, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to $150.0 million of our common stock through March 4, 2018, when and if market conditions warrant and to the extent legally permissible. Subsequent to January 1, 2017 through February 22, 2017, the Company repurchased 0.1 million shares with an aggregate purchase price of $1.3 million, excluding commissions.


30


Item 6. Selected Financial Data.

The following selected financial data has been derived from our consolidated financial statements. The data set forth below should be read in conjunction with “Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto.
 
Year Ended (1) (2)
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
(In millions, except per share amounts)
Sales (3)
$
920.8

 
$
1,438.8

 
$
1,608.5

 
$
2,102.9

 
$
2,129.3

Franchise royalty revenue and fees (3)
371.5

 
344.5

 
322.0

 
294.2

 
285.1

Franchise rental income (3)
143.1

 
87.0

 
68.0

 
26.6

 
20.9

Revenues
1,435.4

 
1,870.3

 
1,998.5

 
2,423.7

 
2,435.3

Cost of sales (3)
744.7

 
1,184.1

 
1,355.1

 
1,780.9

 
1,832.2

System optimization gains, net (4)
(71.9
)
 
(74.0
)
 
(91.5
)
 
(51.3
)
 

Reorganization and realignment costs (5)
10.1

 
21.9

 
31.9

 
37.0

 
41.0

Impairment of long-lived assets (6)
16.2

 
25.0

 
19.6

 
36.4

 
21.1

Impairment of goodwill (7)

 

 

 
9.4

 

Operating profit
314.8

 
274.5

 
242.6

 
139.3

 
110.3

Loss on early extinguishment of debt (8)

 
(7.3
)
 

 
(28.6
)
 
(75.1
)
Investment income, net (9)
0.7

 
52.2

 
1.2

 
23.6

 
36.3

Income from continuing operations
129.6

 
140.0

 
116.4

 
47.5

 
1.2

Net income (loss) from discontinued
operations (10)

 
21.1

 
5.0

 
(2.9
)
 
8.3

Net loss (income) attributable to noncontrolling interests (11)

 

 

 
0.9

 
(2.4
)
Net income attributable to The Wendy’s Company
$
129.6

 
$
161.1

 
$
121.4

 
$
45.5

 
$
7.1

Basic income (loss) per share attributable to
The Wendy’s Company:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Continuing operations
$
.49

 
$
.43

 
$
.31

 
$
.12

 
$

Discontinued operations

 
.07

 
.01

 
(.01
)
 
.02

Net income
$
.49

 
$
.50

 
$
.33

 
$
.12

 
$
.02

Diluted income (loss) per share attributable to The Wendy’s Company:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Continuing operations
$
.49

 
$
.43

 
$
.31

 
$
.12

 
$

Discontinued operations

 
.06

 
.01

 
(.01
)
 
.02

Net income
$
.49

 
$
.49

 
$
.32

 
$
.11

 
$
.02

Dividends per share
$
.245

 
$
.225

 
$
.205

 
$
.18

 
$
.10

Weighted average diluted shares outstanding
266.7

 
328.7

 
376.2

 
398.7

 
392.1

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 1, 2017
 
January 3, 2016
 
December 28, 2014 (2)
 
December 29, 2013 (2)
 
December 30, 2012 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
(In millions)
 
 
 
 
Working capital
$
222.5

 
$
347.8

 
$
221.9

 
$
572.9

 
$
423.0

Properties
1,192.3

 
1,227.9

 
1,241.2

 
1,133.2

 
1,216.0

Total assets
3,939.3

 
4,108.7

 
4,137.6

 
4,352.3

 
4,286.3

Long-term debt, including current portion
2,512.3

 
2,426.1

 
1,438.2

 
1,451.0

 
1,440.7

Stockholders’ equity
527.7

 
752.9

 
1,717.6

 
1,929.5

 
1,985.9

_______________

31



(1)
The Company’s fiscal reporting periods consist of 52 or 53 weeks ending on the Sunday closest to December 31 and are referred to herein as (1) “the year ended January 1, 2017” or “2016,” which consisted of 52 weeks (2) “the year ended January 3, 2016” or “2015,” which consisted of 53 weeks (3) “the year ended December 28, 2014” or “2014,” which consisted of 52 weeks (4) “the year ended December 29, 2013” or “2013,” which consisted of 52 weeks and (5) “the year ended December 30, 2012” or “2012,” which consisted of 52 weeks.

(2)
On May 31, 2015, Wendy’s completed the sale of 100% of its membership interest in The New Bakery Company, LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Bakery”). The Bakery’s operating results for all periods presented through its May 31, 2015 date of sale are classified as discontinued operations. The Bakery’s assets and liabilities for all periods presented prior to January 3, 2016 have been classified as discontinued operations.

(3)
The decline in sales and cost of sales and the related increase in franchise royalty revenue and fees and franchise rental income in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 is primarily a result of the sale of Wendy’s Company-operated restaurants to franchisees under our system optimization initiative, which began in 2013. See Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contained in Item 7 herein for further discussion.

(4)
System optimization gains, net includes all gains and losses recognized on dispositions of restaurants and other assets in connection with Wendy’s system optimization initiative. See Note 2 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

(5)
Reorganization and realignment costs include the impact of (1) costs related to Wendy’s system optimization initiative in 2013 through 2016, (2) Wendy’s G&A realignment plan in 2014 through 2016, (3) the relocation of the Company’s Atlanta restaurant support center to Ohio in 2012 through 2013, (4) the discontinuation of the breakfast daypart at certain restaurants in 2012 through 2013 and (5) the sale of Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Arby’s”) in 2012 through 2013. See Note 4 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

(6)
Impairment of long-lived assets primarily includes impairment charges on (1) restaurant-level assets resulting from the Company’s decision to lease and/or sublease properties to franchisees in connection with the sale or anticipated sale of Company-operated restaurants, (2) restaurant-level assets resulting from the deterioration in operating performance of certain Company-operated restaurants, additional charges for capital improvements in restaurants impaired in prior years which did not subsequently recover and the closure of Company-operated restaurants and (3) Company-owned aircraft to reflect at fair value. See Note 16 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

(7)
Impairment of goodwill in 2013 represents impairment of our international franchise restaurants goodwill reporting unit.

(8)
Loss on early extinguishment of debt primarily relates to refinancings, redemptions and repayments of long-term debt. See Note 11 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

(9)
Investment income, net includes the effect of dividends received from our investment in Arby’s during 2015, 2013 and 2012 and the gain on the sale of our investment in Jurlique International Pty Ltd. (“Jurlique”) during 2012. See Note 17 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

(10)
Net income (loss) from discontinued operations relates to the sale of the Bakery for all periods prior to 2016 and the sale of Arby’s in 2013 and 2012 and includes post-closing adjustments. See Note 18 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

(11)
Net loss (income) attributable to noncontrolling interests includes the impact of the consolidation of a joint venture in Japan in 2013 and the sale of our investment in Jurlique in 2012 and is excluded from net income attributable to The Wendy’s Company.

32


Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Introduction

This “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” of The Wendy’s Company (“The Wendy’s Company” and, together with its subsidiaries, the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the related notes that appear elsewhere within this report. Certain statements we make under this Item 7 constitute “forward-looking statements” under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. See “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Projections” in “Part I” preceding “Item 1 - Business.” You should consider our forward-looking statements in light of the risks discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in Item 1A above, as well as our consolidated financial statements, related notes and other financial information appearing elsewhere in this report and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Wendy’s Company is the parent company of its 100% owned subsidiary holding company, Wendy’s Restaurants, LLC (“Wendy’s Restaurants”). The principal 100% owned subsidiary of Wendy’s Restaurants is Wendy’s International, LLC and its subsidiaries (“Wendy’s”). Wendy’s franchises and operates Wendy’s® quick-service restaurants specializing in hamburger sandwiches throughout North America (defined as the United States of America (the “U.S.”) and Canada). Wendy’s also has franchised restaurants in 29 foreign countries and U.S. territories.

The Company manages and internally reports its business geographically. The operation and franchising of Wendy’s restaurants in North America comprises virtually all of our current operations and represents a single reportable segment. The revenues and operating results of Wendy’s restaurants outside of North America are not material. The results of operations discussed below may not necessarily be indicative of future results.

The Company’s fiscal reporting periods consist of 52 or 53 weeks ending on the Sunday closest to December 31 and are referred to herein as (1) “the year ended January 1, 2017” or “2016,” which consisted of 52 weeks, (2) “the year ended January 3, 2016” or “2015,” which consisted of 53 weeks, and (3) “the year ended December 28, 2014” or “2014,” which consisted of 52 weeks. All references to years and quarters relate to fiscal periods rather than calendar periods.

Executive Overview

Our Continuing Business

As of January 1, 2017, the Wendy’s restaurant system was comprised of 6,537 restaurants, of which 330 were owned and operated by the Company. All of our Company-operated restaurants are located in the U.S. as a result of the Company completing its initiative during the second quarter of 2015 to sell all Company-operated restaurants in Canada to franchisees.

Wendy’s operating results are impacted by a number of external factors, including unemployment, general economic trends, intense price competition, commodity costs, labor costs and weather.

Wendy’s long-term growth opportunities will be driven by a combination of brand relevance and economic relevance. Key components of growth include (1) systemwide same-restaurant sales growth through continuing core menu improvement, product innovation and customer count growth, (2) investing in our Image Activation program, which includes innovative exterior and interior restaurant designs for our new and reimaged restaurants and focused execution of operational excellence, (3) growth in new restaurants, including global growth, (4) increased restaurant utilization in various dayparts and brand access utilizing mobile technology, (5) building shareholder value through financial management strategies and (6) our system optimization initiative.

Wendy’s revenues for 2016 include: (1) $920.8 million of sales at Company-operated restaurants, (2) $371.5 million of royalty revenue and fees and (3) $143.1 million of franchise rental income. In 2016, substantially all of our Wendy’s royalty agreements provided for royalties of 4.0% of franchise revenues.

33



Key Business Measures

We track our results of operations and manage our business using the following key business measures, which include non-GAAP financial measures:

Same-Restaurant Sales - Beginning with the first quarter of 2016, the Company revised its reporting methodology for same-restaurant sales to simplify the reporting of its same-restaurant sales performance for reimaged restaurants and to better align with restaurant-industry practice. Under the new methodology, the Company includes restaurants in its comparable sales base as soon as reimaged restaurants reopen (the “New Method”). Reimaged restaurants previously entered the comparable sales base after they had been open for three continuous months (the “Old Method”). There was no change in the reporting methodology for new restaurants, which will continue to be excluded from same-restaurant sales until they have been open for 15 continuous months. The table summarizing the results of operations provides the same-restaurant sales percent change using the New Method, as well as the Old Method. The New Method is consistent with the metric used by our management for internal reporting and analysis. Same-restaurant sales exclude the impact of currency translation.

Restaurant Margin - We define restaurant margin as sales from Company-operated restaurants less cost of sales divided by sales from Company-operated restaurants. Cost of sales includes food and paper, restaurant labor and occupancy, advertising and other operating costs. Restaurant margin is influenced by factors such as restaurant openings and closures, price increases, the effectiveness of our advertising and marketing initiatives, featured products, product mix, the level of our fixed and semi-variable costs and fluctuations in food and labor costs.

Systemwide Sales - Systemwide sales is a non-GAAP financial measure, which includes sales by both Company-operated restaurants and franchised restaurants. Franchised restaurants’ sales are reported by our franchisees and represent their revenues from sales at franchised Wendy’s restaurants. The Company’s consolidated financial statements do not include sales by franchised restaurants to their customers. The Company believes systemwide sales data is useful in assessing consumer demand for the Company’s products, the overall success of the Wendy’s brand and, ultimately, the performance of the Company. The Company’s royalty revenues are computed as percentages of sales made by Wendy’s franchisees. As a result, sales by Wendy’s franchisees have a direct effect on the Company’s royalty revenues and therefore on the Company’s profitability.
The Company reviews systemwide sales for its international franchised restaurants on a constant currency basis. Constant currency results exclude the impact of foreign currency translation and are derived by translating current year results at prior year average exchange rates. The Company believes excluding the impact of foreign currency translation provides better year over year comparability.

Average Unit Volumes - We calculate Company-operated restaurant average unit volumes by summing the average weekly sales of all Company-operated restaurants which reported sales during the week.
Franchised restaurant average unit volumes is a non-GAAP financial measure, which includes sales by franchised restaurants, which are reported by our franchisees and represent their revenues from sales at franchised Wendy’s restaurants. The Company’s consolidated financial statements do not include sales by franchised restaurants to their customers. The Company believes franchised restaurant average unit volumes is useful information for the same reasons described above for “Systemwide Sales.” We calculate franchised restaurant average unit volumes by summing the average weekly sales of all franchised restaurants which reported sales during the week.

The non-GAAP financial measures discussed above do not replace the presentation of the Company’s financial results in accordance with GAAP. Because all companies do not calculate non-GAAP financial measures in the same way, these measures as used by other companies may not be consistent with the way the Company calculates such measures.

System Optimization Initiative

In July 2013, the Company announced a system optimization initiative, as part of its brand transformation, which includes a shift from Company-operated restaurants to franchised restaurants over time, through acquisitions and dispositions, as well as helping to facilitate franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers. In February 2015, the Company announced plans to sell approximately 540 additional restaurants to franchisees and reduce its ongoing Company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately 5% of the total system by the end of 2016. During 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company completed the sale of 310,

34


327 and 255 Company-operated restaurants to franchisees, respectively, which included the sale of all of its Company-operated restaurants in Canada. The Company recognized net gains totaling $71.9 million, $74.0 million and $91.5 million on the sale of Company-operated restaurants and other assets during 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, which were recorded to “System optimization gains, net” in our consolidated statements of operations. In addition, the Company facilitated the transfer of 144 and 71 restaurants between franchisees during 2016 and 2015, respectively. With the sale of 310 restaurants during 2016, the Company completed its plan to reduce its Company-operated restaurant ownership to approximately 5% as of January 1, 2017. Wendy’s will continue to optimize its system by facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee transfers of restaurants, as well as evaluating strategic acquisitions of franchised restaurants and strategic dispositions of Company-operated restaurants to existing and new franchisees, to further strengthen the franchisee base, drive new restaurant development and accelerate Image Activation adoption.

Costs related to our system optimization initiative are recorded to “Reorganization and realignment costs.” During 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company recognized costs totaling $9.4 million, $11.6 million and $19.0 million, respectively, which primarily included severance and related employee costs, accelerated depreciation and amortization, share-based compensation expense and professional fees. The Company expects to incur additional costs, primarily comprised of professional fees, of approximately $1.3 million during 2017 in connection with an in-process transaction as of January 1, 2017. Costs incurred during 2017 related to facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee transfers of restaurants will be recorded to “Other operating income, net.”

General and Administrative (G&A”) Realignment

In November 2014, the Company initiated a plan to reduce its general and administrative expenses. The plan included a realignment and reinvestment of resources to focus primarily on accelerated restaurant development and consumer-facing restaurant technology to drive long-term growth. The Company achieved the majority of the expense reductions through the realignment of its U.S. field operations and savings at its Restaurant Support Center in Dublin, Ohio, which was substantially completed by the end of the second quarter of 2015. Costs related to G&A realignment are recorded to “Reorganization and realignment costs.” The Company recognized costs totaling $0.7 million, $10.3 million and $12.9 million during 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, which primarily included severance and related employee costs, share-based compensation and recruitment and relocation costs. No additional costs are expected to be incurred under the G&A realignment plan.

Securitized Financing Facility

On June 1, 2015, the Company completed a $2,275.0 million securitized financing facility, which consists of the following: $875.0 million of 3.371%, $900.0 million of 4.080% and $500.0 million of 4.497% Series 2015-1 fixed rate senior secured notes (collectively, the “Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes”). In addition, the Company entered into a purchase agreement for the issuance of Series 2015-1 variable funding senior secured notes, Class A-1 (the “Series 2015-1 Class A-1 Notes” and, together with the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes, the “Series 2015-1 Senior Notes”), which allows for the issuance of up to $150.0 million of variable funding notes and certain other credit instruments, including letters of credit. The proceeds from the issuance of the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes, were used to repay all amounts outstanding on the Term A Loans and Term B Loans under the Company’s May 16, 2013 Restated Credit Agreement amended on September 24, 2013 (the “2013 Restated Credit Agreement”). In connection with the repayment of the Term A Loans and Term B Loans, the Company terminated the related interest rate swaps with notional amounts totaling $350.0 million and $100.0 million, respectively, which had been designated as cash flow hedges. As a result, the Company recorded a loss on early extinguishment of debt of $7.3 million during the second quarter of 2015, primarily consisting of the write-off of deferred costs related to the 2013 Restated Credit Agreement of $7.2 million and fees paid to terminate the related interest rate swaps of $0.1 million.

Sale of the Bakery

On May 31, 2015, Wendy’s completed the sale of 100% of its membership interest in The New Bakery Company, LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively, the “Bakery”) to East Balt US, LLC (the “Buyer”) for $78.5 million in cash (subject to customary purchase price adjustments). The Company recorded a pre-tax gain on the disposal of the Bakery of $25.5 million during 2015, which included transaction closing costs and a reduction of goodwill. The Company recognized income tax expense associated with the gain on disposal of $14.9 million during 2015, which included the impact of the disposal of non-deductible goodwill. In conjunction with the Bakery sale, Wendy’s entered into a transition services agreement with the Buyer, pursuant to which Wendy’s provided certain continuing corporate and shared services to the Buyer through March 31, 2016 for no additional consideration. The Bakery’s results of operations and the gain on disposal have been included in discontinued operations.


35


Sale of Arby’s

On July 4, 2011, Wendy’s Restaurants completed the sale of 100% of the common stock of its then wholly-owned subsidiary, Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Arby’s”) to ARG IH Corporation (“ARG”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of ARG Holding Corporation (“ARG Parent”), for $130.0 million in cash (subject to customary purchase price adjustments) and 18.5% of the common stock of ARG Parent (through which Wendy’s Restaurants indirectly retained an 18.5% interest in Arby’s). The Company received a $54.9 million dividend from our investment in Arby’s in 2015, which was recognized in “Investment income, net.”

Related Party Transactions

Stock Purchase Agreement

On June 2, 2015, the Company entered into a stock purchase agreement to repurchase our common stock from Nelson Peltz, Peter W. May (Messrs. Peltz and May are members of the Company’s Board of Directors) and Edward P. Garden (who served on the Company’s Board of Directors until December 14, 2015) and certain of their family members and affiliates, investment funds managed by Trian Fund Management, L.P. (an investment management firm controlled by Messrs. Peltz, May and Garden, “TFM”) and the general partner of certain of those funds (together with Messrs. Peltz, May and Garden, certain of their family members and affiliates and TFM, the “Trian Group”), who in the aggregate owned approximately 24.8% of the Company’s outstanding shares as of May 29, 2015. Pursuant to the agreement, the Trian Group agreed not to tender or sell any of its shares in the modified Dutch auction tender offer the Company commenced on June 3, 2015. Also pursuant to the agreement, the Company agreed, following completion of the tender offer, to purchase from the Trian Group a pro rata amount of its shares based on the number of shares the Company purchased in the tender offer, at the same price received by shareholders who participated in the tender offer. On July 17, 2015, after completion of the modified Dutch auction tender offer, the Company repurchased 18.4 million shares of its common stock from the Trian Group at the price paid in the tender offer of $11.45 per share, for an aggregate purchase price of $210.9 million.

Supply Chain Relationship Agreement

Wendy’s has a purchasing co-op relationship agreement (the “Wendy’s Co-op”) with its franchisees which establishes Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc. (“QSCC”). QSCC manages, for the Wendy’s system in the U.S. and Canada, contracts for the purchase and distribution of food, proprietary paper, operating supplies and equipment under national agreements with pricing based upon total system volume. QSCC’s supply chain management facilitates continuity of supply and provides consolidated purchasing efficiencies while monitoring and seeking to minimize possible obsolete inventory throughout the Wendy’s supply chain in the U.S. and Canada.

Wendy’s and its franchisees pay sourcing fees to third-party vendors on certain products sourced by QSCC. Such sourcing fees are remitted by these vendors to QSCC and are the primary means of funding QSCC’s operations. Should QSCC’s sourcing fees exceed its expected needs, QSCC’s board of directors may return some or all of the excess to its members in the form of a patronage dividend. Wendy’s recorded its share of patronage dividends of $0.9 million, $1.3 million and $1.5 million in 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively, which are included as a reduction of “Cost of sales.”

Effective January 1, 2011, Wendy’s leased 14,333 square feet of office space to QSCC for an annual base rental of $0.2 million. The lease expired on December 31, 2016. A new lease agreement was signed effective January 1, 2017, expiring on December 31, 2020 for an annual base rental of $0.2 million. The Wendy’s Company received $0.2 million of lease income from QSCC each year during 2016, 2015 and 2014, which has been recorded as a reduction of “General and administrative.”

CitationAir Aircraft Lease Agreement

The Wendy’s Company, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, was party to a three-year aircraft management and lease agreement, which expired in March 2014, with CitationAir, a subsidiary of Cessna Aircraft Company, pursuant to which the Company leased a corporate aircraft to CitationAir to use as part of its Jet Card program fleet. During the first quarter of 2014, our Chairman, who was our former Chief Executive Officer, and our Vice Chairman, who was our former President and Chief Operating Officer (the “Former Executives”) and a director, who was our former Vice Chairman, and members of their immediate families, used their Jet Card agreements for business and personal travel on aircraft in the Jet Card program fleet. A management company formed by the Former Executives and a director (the “Management Company”) paid CitationAir directly, and the Company received credit from CitationAir for charges related to such travel of approximately $0.4 million during 2014.


36


TimWen lease and management fee payments

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Wendy’s leases restaurant facilities from TimWen for the operation of Wendy’s/Tim Hortons combo units in Canada. Prior to the second quarter of 2015, Wendy’s operated certain of the Wendy’s/Tim Hortons combo units in Canada and subleased some of the restaurant facilities to franchisees. As a result of the Company completing its plan to sell all of its Company-operated restaurants in Canada to franchisees during the second quarter of 2015, all of the restaurant facilities are subleased to franchisees. Wendy’s paid TimWen $11.8 million, $12.1 million and $6.3 million under these lease agreements during 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. In addition, TimWen paid Wendy’s a management fee under the TimWen joint venture agreement of $0.2 million each year during 2016, 2015 and 2014, which has been included as a reduction to “General and administrative.”

Franchisee Incentive Programs

Franchisee Image Activation Incentive Programs

In order to promote Image Activation new restaurant development, Wendy’s has an incentive program for franchisees that provides for reductions in royalty and national advertising payments for up to the first two years of operation for qualifying new restaurants opened by December 31, 2020, with the value of the incentives declining in the later years of the program. Wendy’s also has incentive programs for 2017 available to franchisees that commence Image Activation restaurant remodels by December 15, 2017. The remodel incentive programs provide for reductions in royalty payments for one year after the completion of construction.

In addition, Wendy’s had incentive programs that included reductions in royalty payments in 2016, 2015 and 2014 as well as cash incentives for franchisees’ participation in Wendy’s Image Activation program throughout 2014. The Company recognized expense of $4.4 million for cash incentives in “General and administrative” during 2014.

Franchisee Image Activation Financing Program

Wendy’s executed an agreement in 2013 to partner with a third-party lender to establish a financing program for franchisees that participate in our Image Activation program. Under the program, the lender agreed to provide loans to franchisees to be used for the reimaging of restaurants according to the guidelines and specifications under Wendy’s Image Activation program. To support the program, Wendy’s provided to the lender a $6.0 million irrevocable stand-by letter of credit, which was issued on July 1, 2013 and was cash collateralized. During 2016, the Company executed an agreement to terminate the letter of credit agreement that had been previously executed as part of the financing program.

Cybersecurity Incident

The Company first reported unusual payment card activity affecting some franchise-owned restaurants in February 2016 and that malware had been discovered on certain systems. Subsequently, on June 9, 2016, the Company reported that an additional malware variant had been identified and disabled. On July 7, 2016, the Company, on behalf of affected franchise locations, provided information about specific restaurant locations that may have been impacted by these attacks, all of which are located in the United States, along with support for customers who may have been affected by the malware variants. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” Note 23 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information.


37


Results of Operations

As a result of the sale of the Bakery discussed above in “Executive Overview - Sale of the Bakery,” the Bakery’s results of operations for the period from December 29, 2014 through May 31, 2015 and for the year ended 2014 have been included in “Income from discontinued operations, net of income taxes” in the table below.

The tables included throughout Results of Operations set forth in millions the Company’s consolidated results of operations for the years ended January 1, 2017, January 3, 2016 and December 28, 2014 (except average unit volumes, which are in thousands).
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
Amount
 
Change
 
Amount
 
Change
 
Amount
Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sales
$
920.8

 
$
(518.0
)
 
$
1,438.8

 
$
(169.7
)
 
$
1,608.5

Franchise royalty revenue and fees
371.5

 
27.0

 
344.5

 
22.5

 
322.0

Franchise rental income
143.1

 
56.1

 
87.0

 
19.0

 
68.0

 
1,435.4

 
(434.9
)
 
1,870.3

 
(128.2
)
 
1,998.5

Costs and expenses:
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Cost of sales
744.7

 
(439.4
)
 
1,184.1

 
(171.0
)
 
1,355.1

Franchise rental expense
67.7

 
19.9

 
47.8

 
10.0

 
37.8

General and administrative
245.9

 
(10.7
)
 
256.6

 
(4.1
)
 
260.7

Depreciation and amortization
122.7

 
(22.3
)
 
145.0

 
(8.9
)
 
153.9

System optimization gains, net
(71.9
)
 
2.1

 
(74.0
)
 
17.5

 
(91.5
)
Reorganization and realignment costs
10.1

 
(11.8
)
 
21.9

 
(10.0
)
 
31.9

Impairment of long-lived assets
16.2

 
(8.8
)
 
25.0

 
5.4

 
19.6

Other operating income, net
(14.8
)
 
(4.2
)
 
(10.6
)
 
1.0

 
(11.6
)
 
1,120.6

 
(475.2
)
 
1,595.8

 
(160.1
)
 
1,755.9

Operating profit
314.8

 
40.3

 
274.5

 
31.9

 
242.6

Interest expense
(114.8
)
 
(28.7
)
 
(86.1
)
 
(34.1
)
 
(52.0
)
Loss on early extinguishment of debt

 
7.3

 
(7.3
)
 
(7.3
)
 

Investment income, net
0.7

 
(51.5
)
 
52.2

 
51.0

 
1.2

Other income, net
1.0

 
0.2

 
0.8

 
0.1

 
0.7

Income from continuing operations before income taxes
201.7

 
(32.4
)
 
234.1

 
41.6

 
192.5

Provision for income taxes
(72.1
)
 
22.0

 
(94.1
)
 
(18.0
)
 
(76.1
)
Income from continuing operations
129.6

 
(10.4
)
 
140.0

 
23.6

 
116.4

Discontinued operations:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Income from discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 
(10.5
)
 
10.5

 
5.5

 
5.0

Gain on disposal of discontinued operations, net of income taxes

 
(10.6
)
 
10.6

 
10.6

 

Net income from discontinued operations

 
(21.1
)
 
21.1

 
16.1

 
5.0

Net income
$
129.6

 
$
(31.5
)
 
$
161.1

 
$
39.7

 
$
121.4


38


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
% of Total Revenues
 
2015
 
% of Total Revenues
 
2014
 
% of Total Revenues
Revenues:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sales
$
920.8

 
64.1
%
 
$
1,438.8

 
76.9
%
 
$
1,608.5

 
80.5
%
Franchise royalty revenue and fees:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Royalty revenue
342.2

 
23.9
%
 
322.6

 
17.2
%
 
308.7

 
15.4
%
Franchise fees
29.3

 
2.0
%
 
21.9

 
1.2
%
 
13.3

 
0.7
%
Total franchise royalty revenue and fees
371.5

 
25.9
%
 
344.5

 
18.4
%
 
322.0

 
16.1
%
Franchise rental income
143.1

 
10.0
%
 
87.0

 
4.7
%
 
68.0

 
3.4
%
Total revenues
$
1,435.4

 
100.0
%
 
$
1,870.3

 
100.0
%
 
$
1,998.5

 
100.0
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
2016
 
% of 
Sales
 
2015
 
% of 
Sales
 
2014
 
% of 
Sales
Cost of sales:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Food and paper
$
278.6

 
30.3
%
 
$
460.0

 
32.0
%
 
$
525.6

 
32.7
%
Restaurant labor
261.6

 
28.4
%
 
406.4

 
28.2
%
 
466.8

 
29.0
%
Occupancy, advertising and other operating costs
204.5

 
22.2
%
 
317.7

 
22.1
%
 
362.7

 
22.5
%
Total cost of sales
$
744.7

 
80.9
%
 
$
1,184.1

 
82.3
%
 
$
1,355.1

 
84.2
%

 
2016
 
% of Sales
 
2015
 
% of Sales
 
2014
 
% of Sales
Restaurant margin
$
176.1

 
19.1
%
 
$
254.7

 
17.7
%
 
$
253.4

 
15.8
%

The tables below present key business measures which are defined and further discussed in the “Executive Overview” section included here-in.
 
New Method
 
Old Method
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Key business measures:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
North America same-restaurant sales (a):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Company-operated restaurants
2.7
%
 
2.8
%
 
2.8
%
 
2.5
%
 
2.6
%
 
2.3
%
Franchised restaurants
1.4
%
 
3.5
%
 
1.5
%
 
1.4
%
 
3.4
%
 
1.5
%
Systemwide
1.6
%
 
3.4
%
 
1.8
%
 
1.5
%
 
3.3
%
 
1.6
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total same-restaurant sales (a):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Company-operated restaurants
2.7
%
 
2.8
%
 
2.8
%
 
2.5
%
 
2.6
%
 
2.3
%
Franchised restaurants (b)
1.4
%
 
3.3
%
 
1.4
%
 
1.4
%
 
3.2
%
 
1.3
%
Systemwide (b)
1.5
%
 
3.2
%
 
1.6
%
 
1.5
%
 
3.1
%
 
1.4
%
________________

(a)
Excludes the impact of the 53rd week in 2015.
(b)
Includes international franchised restaurants same-restaurant sales (excluding Venezuela due to the impact of Venezuela’s highly inflationary economy).


39


 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Key business measures (continued):
 
 
 
 
 
Systemwide sales:
 
 
 
 
 
Company-operated restaurants
$
920.8

 
$
1,438.8

 
$
1,608.5

North America franchised restaurants
8,589.0

 
8,032.0

 
7,465.6

International franchised restaurants (a) (b)
420.4

 
416.5

 
428.6

Systemwide
$
9,930.2

 
$
9,887.3

 
$
9,502.7

 
 
 
 
 
 
Restaurant average unit volumes (in thousands) (c):
 
 
 
 
 
Company-operated restaurants
$
1,783.4

 
$
1,643.6

 
$
1,593.4

North America franchised restaurants
1,551.1

 
1,520.0

 
1,468.3

International franchised restaurants (b) (d)
1,137.9

 
1,201.3

 
1,208.6

________________

(a)
On a constant currency basis, systemwide sales for international franchised restaurants increased 3.8% and 0.8% during 2016 and 2015, respectively.
(b)
Excludes Venezuela due to the impact of Venezuela’s highly inflationary economy.
(c)
Excludes the impact of the 53rd week in 2015.
(d)
The decrease in average unit volumes for international franchised restaurants is primarily driven by changes in the countries and territories in which the franchised restaurants operate, as well as the impact of foreign currency translation.

 
Company-operated
 
Franchised
 
Systemwide
Restaurant count:
 
 
 
 
 
Restaurant count at December 28, 2014
957

 
5,558

 
6,515

Opened
21

 
88

 
109

Closed
(23
)
 
(122
)
 
(145
)
Net (sold to) purchased by franchisees
(323
)
 
323

 

Restaurant count at January 3, 2016
632

 
5,847

 
6,479

Opened
13

 
136

 
149

Closed
(7
)
 
(84
)
 
(91
)
Net (sold to) purchased by franchisees
(308
)
 
308

 

Restaurant count at January 1, 2017
330

 
6,207

 
6,537


Sales
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Sales
$
(518.0
)
 
$
(169.7
)

The decrease in sales during 2016 was primarily due to the impact of Wendy’s Company-operated restaurants sold under our system optimization initiative, which resulted in a reduction in sales of $560.0 million. In addition, 2016 included one less week of sales when compared to 2015, which resulted in a reduction in sales of $19.2 million. Company-operated same-restaurant sales during 2016 increased 2.7% primarily due to an increase in customer count. Sales also benefited from higher sales growth at our new and remodeled Image Activation restaurants.

The decrease in sales during 2015 was primarily due to the impact of Wendy’s Company-operated restaurants sold under our system optimization initiative, which resulted in a reduction in sales of $271.0 million. This decrease in sales was partially offset by sales during the 53rd week of 2015 of $19.2 million, which were excluded from same-restaurant sales, and sales from restaurants acquired of $36.9 million. Company-operated same-restaurant sales during 2015 increased due to an increase in our average per customer check amount, which reflects benefits from strategic price increases on our menu items and changes in product mix. Same-restaurant sales also benefited from higher sales growth at our new and remodeled Image Activation restaurants and a slight

40


increase in customer count. The customer count increase for the year was driven by significantly higher customer transactions during the fourth quarter of 2015, which resulted in a Company-operated same-restaurant sales increase of 3.7% during the fourth quarter of 2015 compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. Sales during 2015 were negatively impacted by $7.4 million due to changes in Canadian foreign currency rates relative to the U.S. dollar.

Franchise Royalty Revenue and Fees
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Royalty revenue
$
19.6

 
$
13.9

Franchise fees
7.4

 
8.6

 
$
27.0

 
$
22.5


The increase in franchise royalty revenue and fees during 2016 was primarily due to sales of Company-operated restaurants to franchisees and facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers under our system optimization initiative. Royalty revenue also benefited from a 1.4% increase in franchise same-restaurant sales. These increases were partially offset by royalty revenue of approximately $6.0 million for the 53rd week of 2015.

The increase in franchise royalty revenue and fees during 2015 was primarily due to sales of Company-operated restaurants to franchisees and facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers under our system optimization initiative. Royalty revenue was also positively impacted by an increase in franchise same-restaurant sales, which excludes sales during the 53rd week of 2015. We believe franchise same-restaurant sales were higher than Company-operated same-restaurant sales during 2015 due to higher price increases. Royalty revenue also includes approximately $6.0 million for the 53rd week of 2015.

Franchise Rental Income
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Franchise rental income
$
56.1

 
$
19.0


The increase in franchise rental income during 2016 and 2015 was primarily due to leasing and/or subleasing properties to franchisees in connection with the sale of Company-operated restaurants and facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers.

Cost of Sales, as a Percent of Sales
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Food and paper
(1.7
)%
 
(0.7
)%
Restaurant labor
0.2
 %
 
(0.8
)%
Occupancy, advertising and other operating costs
0.1
 %
 
(0.4
)%
 
(1.4
)%
 
(1.9
)%

The improvement in cost of sales, as a percent of sales, during 2016 was primarily due to a decrease in commodity costs, reflecting lower beef prices. In addition, the increase in same-restaurant sales and higher sales at our new and remodeled Image Activation restaurants contributed to the improvement in cost of sales, as a percent of sales. These decreases in cost of sales, as a percent of sales, were partially offset by (1) higher medical insurance costs, (2) increased labor rates and (3) the negative impact of changes in product mix.

The decrease in cost of sales, as a percent of sales, during 2015 was due to benefits from strategic price increases on our menu items and higher sales at our Image Activation restaurants. As a percent of sales, commodity costs were flat compared with prior year, as higher beef prices were offset by lower prices of other commodities. The impact of the 53rd week in 2015 on cost of sales, as a percent of sales, was not material.


41


Franchise Rental Expense
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Franchise rental expense
$
19.9

 
$
10.0


The increase in franchise rental expense during 2016 and 2015 was primarily due to subleasing properties to franchisees that were previously Company-operated restaurants and as such, had been previously recorded in cost of sales. Rental expense in 2016 and 2015 also increased as a result of entering into new leases in connection with facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers for purposes of subleasing such properties to the franchisee.

General and Administrative
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Employee compensation and related expenses
$
(9.2
)
 
$
(4.3
)
Incentive compensation
(6.0
)
 
13.5

Severance
3.5

 
0.4

Legal reserves
2.2

 

Professional services
1.3

 
1.0

Share-based compensation
0.8

 
(6.3
)
Franchise incentives
0.2

 
(4.6
)
Other, net
(3.5
)
 
(3.8
)
 
$
(10.7
)
 
$
(4.1
)

The decrease in general and administrative expenses during 2016 was primarily due to decreases in (1) employee compensation and related expenses primarily as a result of changes in staffing driven by our system optimization initiative and (2) incentive compensation accruals due to a decrease in operating performance as compared to plan in 2016 versus 2015. These decreases in general and administrative expenses were partially offset by increases in (1) severance expense, (2) legal reserves and (3) professional services due to legal and other costs associated with the cybersecurity incident (see “Item 1A. Risk Factors” and “Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data,” Note 23 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information).

The decrease in general and administrative expenses during 2015 was primarily due to (1) a decrease in share-based compensation primarily as a result of awards granted and timing of expense recognition, (2) a decrease in franchise incentives due to the 2015 Image Activation incentive program solely including royalty reductions as compared to our 2014 program which also included a cash incentive and (3) a decrease in employee compensation and related expenses primarily as a result of the realignment of our U.S. field operations and Restaurant Support Center in Dublin, Ohio as part of our G&A realignment plan to reduce general and administrative expenses. These decreases were partially offset by higher incentive compensation accruals due to stronger operating performance as compared to plan in 2015 versus 2014.

Depreciation and Amortization
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Restaurants
$
(24.3
)
 
$
(8.7
)
Corporate and other
2.0

 
(0.2
)
 
$
(22.3
)
 
$
(8.9
)

The decrease in restaurant depreciation and amortization during 2016 was primarily due to decreases in (1) depreciation on assets sold or classified as held for sale under our system optimization initiative of $19.5 million and (2) accelerated depreciation on existing assets that are being replaced as part of our Image Activation program of $6.0 million.

The decrease in restaurant depreciation and amortization during 2015 was primarily due to decreases in (1) accelerated depreciation on existing assets that are being replaced as part of our Image Activation program of $10.7 million and (2) depreciation on assets sold or classified as held for sale under our system optimization initiative of $10.2 million. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in restaurant depreciation and amortization of $13.2 million on new and reimaged Image Activation restaurants.


42


System Optimization Gains, Net
Year Ended
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
System optimization gains, net
$
(71.9
)
 
$
(74.0
)
 
$
(91.5
)

During 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company sold 310, 327 and 255 Company-operated restaurants to franchisees, respectively, under its system optimization initiative. System optimization gains, net in 2014 includes the impact of recording net favorable lease assets of $36.3 million as a result of leasing and/or subleasing land, buildings, and/or leasehold improvements to franchisees, in connection with the sales of restaurants. See Note 2 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

Reorganization and Realignment Costs
Year Ended
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
G&A realignment
$
0.7

 
$
10.3

 
$
12.9

System optimization initiative
9.4

 
11.6

 
19.0

 
$
10.1

 
$
21.9

 
$
31.9


During 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company recognized costs associated with its G&A realignment plan totaling $0.7 million, $10.3 million and $12.9 million, respectively. During 2016, costs primarily included recruitment and relocation costs. In 2015, costs primarily included (1) share-based compensation expense of $5.6 million, (2) severance and related employee costs of $3.0 million and (3) recruitment and relocation costs of $1.7 million. During 2014, the Company recorded costs aggregating $12.9 million, which primarily included severance and related employee costs.

During 2016, 2015 and 2014, the Company recognized costs associated with its system optimization initiative totaling $9.4 million, $11.6 million and $19.0 million, respectively. During 2016, costs primarily included professional fees of $7.4 million and accelerated amortization of previously acquired franchise rights of $1.6 million. In 2015, costs primarily included accelerated amortization of previously acquired franchise rights of $6.4 million and professional fees of $3.4 million. During 2014, costs primarily included (1) severance and related employee costs of $7.6 million, (2) share-based compensation expense of $3.8 million and (3) professional fees of $3.4 million.

Impairment of Long-Lived Assets
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Impairment of long-lived assets
$
(8.8
)
 
$
5.4


The changes in impairment charges were primarily driven by variations in losses from the remeasurement of properties to fair value upon determination that the assets will be leased and/or subleased to franchisees in connection with the sale of Company-operated restaurants. Such impairment charges totaled $14.0 million, $19.2 million and $12.0 million during 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively. Impairment of long-lived assets also decreased during 2016 due to lower impairment charges resulting from closing Company-operated restaurants and classifying such surplus properties as held for sale.

Other Operating Income, Net
Year Ended
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Lease buyout
$
(12.4
)
 
$
(2.0
)
 
$
(0.7
)
Equity in earnings in joint ventures, net
(8.4
)
 
(9.2
)
 
(10.2
)
Other
6.0

 
0.6

 
(0.7
)
 
$
(14.8
)
 
$
(10.6
)
 
$
(11.6
)

The increase in other operating income, net during 2016 was primarily due to a gain recognized on a lease buyout during the first quarter of 2016. In addition, 2016 includes costs incurred to provide customer care and help desk support services to our franchisees. The decrease in other operating income, net during 2015 was primarily due to lower equity in earnings in joint ventures.


43


Interest Expense
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Series 2015-1 Senior Notes
$
39.5

 
$
57.3

Term loans
(17.1
)
 
(23.8
)
Other, net
6.3

 
0.6

 
$
28.7

 
$
34.1


The increase in interest expense during 2016 and 2015 was primarily a result of the Company completing a $2,275.0 million securitized financing facility on June 1, 2015. The proceeds were used to repay all amounts outstanding on the Term A Loans and Term B Loans under the Company’s 2013 Restated Credit Agreement. The securitized financing facility includes the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes, which are comprised of fixed interest rate notes, and the Series 2015-1 Class A-1 Notes, which allow for the issuance up to $150.0 million of variable funding notes. The principal amounts outstanding on the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes significantly exceed the amounts that were outstanding on the Term A Loans and Term B Loans. In addition, the Series 2015-1 Class A-2 Notes bear fixed-rate interest at rates higher than our historical effective interest rates on our variable interest rate Term A Loans and Term B Loans. Interest expense also increased during 2016 due to an increase in capital lease obligations resulting from facilitating franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers and subleasing such properties to the franchisee.

Loss on Early Extinguishment of Debt

During 2015, the Company incurred a loss on the early extinguishment of debt as a result of repaying all amounts outstanding on the Term A Loans and Term B Loans under the 2013 Restated Credit Agreement, with the proceeds from its securitized financing facility. The loss on the early extinguishment of debt was primarily comprised of the write-off of deferred costs associated with the 2013 Restated Credit Agreement of $7.2 million and fees paid to terminate the related interest rate swaps of $0.1 million.

Investment Income, Net
Change
 
2016
 
2015
Distributions, including dividends
$
(54.9
)
 
$
54.7

Gain on sale of investments, net
0.2

 
(0.6
)
Other than temporary loss on investment
3.2

 
(3.2
)
Other, net

 
0.1

 
$
(51.5
)
 
$
51.0


The decrease in distributions, including dividends in 2016 was primarily a result of a $54.9 million dividend we received in 2015 from our investment in Arby’s.

Provision for Income Taxes
Year Ended
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
Income from continuing operations before income taxes
$
201.7

 
$
234.1

 
$
192.5

Provision for income taxes
72.1

 
94.1

 
76.1

Effective tax rate on income from continuing operations
35.7
%
 
40.2
%
 
39.5
%

Our effective tax rates in 2016, 2015, and 2014 were impacted by variations in income from continuing operations before income taxes, adjusted for recurring items such as non-deductible expenses and state income taxes, as well as non-recurring discrete items. Discrete items, which may occur in any given year but are not consistent from year to year include the following: (1) the impact of our system optimization initiative further described below, (2) valuation allowances which decreased in 2016 and increased in 2015 and 2014 primarily as a result of changes in expected future state taxable income available to offset certain state net operating loss carryforwards (including a correction to a prior year identified and recorded in the first quarter of 2016, which resulted in a benefit of $2.9 million) and (3) a deduction for a dividend received in 2015 from our investment in Arby’s.

The impact of our system optimization initiative on the provision for income taxes included the effects of the disposition of non-deductible goodwill (including a correction to a prior year identified and recorded in the first quarter of 2016, which resulted in a benefit of $4.2 million), and changes to our state deferred taxes and valuation allowances on state net operating losses caused

44


by the shifting relative taxable presence in the various states as our system optimization initiative was executed. These items, which are non-recurring, increased tax expense by $2.8 million, $15.1 million and $9.5 million in 2016, 2015 and 2014, respectively.

Deferred income taxes are not recorded for temporary differences related to our investments in non-U.S. subsidiaries which we consider permanently invested outside of the U.S. At January 1, 2017, our cash balances held outside of the U.S. totaled $97.8 million.

Beginning in the first quarter of 2017, our effective tax rate will be impacted by the adoption of an amendment issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), which will require that excess tax benefits and tax deficiencies related to share based payments be recognized in net income. See Note 1 of the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data contained in Item 8 herein for further discussion.

Net Income from Discontinued Operations
Year Ended
 
2015