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American Fast Food Giant Wendy’s Wants to Serve the U.K. Some Spicy Nuggets

Best known for spicy nuggets and trolling the competition, Wendy’s wants to come back to London

Wendy’s, the American fast food chain famous for spicy nuggets and Twitter trolling Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Wendy’s is the latest American fast food chain to have a crack at the fragile U.K. restaurant market. International president Abigail Pringle used strangely World War Two-influenced language in telling investors that Britain would be the brand’s “beach head for European expansion,” according to Propel.

Wendy’s operates over 6,000 sites across the globe, and pulled out of its U.K. restaurants in 2000 to concentrate on its home market. The fast food brand is best known for:

  1. Spicy chicken nuggets. These are not McDonald’s’s recently-released damp squibs of chicken, whose heat is the dull nag of a hangover headache; these are hot, with a proper cayenne burn. Eater critic Ryan Sutton named them America’s best chicken nuggets in 2017.
  2. Twitter stunting. The Wendy’s Twitter account does not f--- around. It spent an entire day roasting people on 4 January this year. It released a mixtape dragging its competition. It does things like this:

3. Twitter stunting about spicy chicken nuggets. Wendy’s took those championship nuggets off the menu in March 2017, before unfurling a hypebeast campaign spanning a lifetime non-spicy nugget giveaway in exchange for Twitter engagement; a spicy nugget campaign featuring Chance the Rapper in exchange for Twitter engagement; and a Google Calendar invite for the relaunch in exchange for Twitter engagement.

4. Not Twitter stunting about labour practices. Wendy’s has blamed income equality for sales stagnation despite its starting wages being as low as $8 an hour; it has refused to sign up to the Fair Food Program that regulates against abuse in the agricultural industry.

5. Frostys. The drink-dessert hybrid — in particular its black-and-white, chocolate and vanilla, off-menu serve, captivated Eater critic Ryan Sutton and former staffer Daniela Galarza in a ranking of America’s best fast food desserts.

If and when Wendy’s opens a new U.K. restaurant or franchise, it will join cult-followed, anti-LGBTQ chicken chain Chick-fil-A and fast franchising burger chain Five Guys, as well as Shake Shack, McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. Smaller U.S. success stories, like NYC’s The Halal Guys and chicken wing slingers Wingstop have also made moves on London, as favourable franchising finances and willing investors capitalise on an uncertain U.K. restaurant market.

The first U.K. opening(s) are planned for the next 12 — 18 months. More soon.

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