Celebrating the Accomplishments of Wendy’s Top General Managers

Editor’s Note: This past week we held our first-ever Top General Manager (GM) conference at our Restaurant Support Center in Dublin, Ohio which (as the name suggests) served to honor our top 200 GMs from across company and franchisee restaurants. 

In the following guest blog, Chief People Officer Scott Weisberg reflects on the three-day celebration and shares a little insight into how much we value the role of the GM.  

 People who work for large organizations may tell you that the “corporate office” is where key business decisions are made and the really big stuff happens. Well, at Wendy’s, we have a different belief; we believe the most important actions take place every day in our restaurants, which is why we’ve long-been intentional about calling our “corporate office” the Wendy’s Restaurant Support Center. 

Because it’s there, in our restaurants, where our teams serve and strive to delight millions of customers each day. And the General Managers (GMs) play an absolutely critical role. They are the quarterback of restaurant operations, calling the signals for their team. They set the tone for operational excellence, encourage and develop others, and create the type of overall environment that helps deliver ‘A Cut Above’ customer experience.

But the truth is, because of function and nature of the job, our Support Center employees and our Restaurant General Managers don’t interface all that often.  Which is exactly why this conference was so important and special.  The Support Center employees were able to host and welcome this group of leaders to campus and show their appreciation.

Memorable Moments

One of the most memorable experiences for me was seeing Support Center employees lining the hallways for the “clap-in” and cheering loudly as the participants arrived for the three-day event. This enthusiastic welcome (which was a complete surprise to the GMs) set the tone for the other activities that followed.

A number of potential candidates were nominated for recognition based on a variety of performance metrics. In the end, a total of 200 GMs – representing roughly three percent of Wendy’s restaurant system encompassing almost 6,500 restaurants – were invited to attend the conference. Participants included GMs from Company and franchise-operated restaurants in the U.S., Canada and international markets.

As part of the conference, these outstanding GMs had an opportunity to interact with Wendy’s President & CEO Todd Penegor, meet other senior leaders and participate in activities designed to help them grow and develop. 

Highlighting the festivities, 10 GMs were formally recognized as the “best of the best” with Peter Garnica of Batavia, Illinois, capturing top honors in Wendy’s global restaurant system.  Our congratulations go to Peter, his restaurant team and his employer, Wendy’s franchisee Mike Zak of Wenzak, Inc.  Well done!

Peter, who has been in the Wendy’s system for 19 years, began his career as a restaurant crew member making hamburgers and chicken sandwiches.

Peter Garnica upon hearing the news that he won the Top GM award!

It is noteworthy that most of the top GMs started their careers as crew members or assistant managers.  They are living examples of the opportunities available in the restaurant industry, where people can gain important skills and advance through their own hard work, initiative and abilities.  

As one veteran GM from Maryland said, “My restaurant is my second home.  It’s a place where I not only have an opportunity to make an impact on a customer’s day -- I also have the opportunity to impact my employees’ lives as well.  Wendy’s is a place where we all learn and grow together.”

This week, in Dublin, Ohio, that’s just what we did!



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