As the owner and operator of multiple Buffalo Wild Wings in the Casual Dining restaurant segment, Spark takes its first step into the QSR restaurant segment. This step is one of giants. The first week of October 2021, our founder Sanjay Mehra successfully acquired 65 Wendy’s units: 33 restaurants in San Antonio, Texas, and 31 restaurants in Dayton, Ohio.
This acquisition is a dream come true for CEO, Sanjay Mehra, who has steadily paved his own way into the business. His consistently strategic management has allowed him to buy multiple Buffalo Wild Wings in the Houston area, but in his heart, he has always desired to be part of a top-tier brand. Now with this recent purchase, Spark’s portfolio positions itself higher to 72 units with above-average sales.
Wendy’s is a very dynamic, forward-thinking and innovative organization that truly values operational excellence and has outstanding consumer insights - all things that merge seamlessly with the high standards Spark has set with its multiple Buffalo Wild Wings. The Spark Team is very excited to add a top-tier brand to its portfolio that will be relevant and competitive for many years to come.
This new acquisition comes with no small amount of challenges. Dayton in particular has proven to be a very challenging market in the workforce, but Spark is set to take it to the next level by getting the right support for all the stores from a new, skilled and capable operator. Spark’s number one focus is making sure team members are not only challenged, inspired and supported but also recognized and rewarded for their efforts.
“We aim to Spark a difference in our team member’s lives by igniting a Spark in them so they can rise to the next level in work and in life.”
- Sanjay Mehra
WORDS FROM SANJAY MEHRA ABOUT SPARK’S CULTURE, CORE VALUES, AND MISSION THAT GUIDE THE TRANSITION OF THE WENDY’S ACQUISITION
Spark’s core values are not just words in an ad or social media; it's a genuine mindset and impulse that allows us to give more and do better with every victory achieved and every challenge overcome. The name “Spark” means momentum, fire, passion, strength in people. We aim to Spark a difference in our team members' lives by igniting a Spark in them so they can rise to the next level in work and in life. It’s not about our founder or leaders, it’s about the team.
We want to lead by example and live by the core values we talk about so much. We want to be a highly visible organization where people can see that we’re recognizing and celebrating our employees, building units, remodeling, and so much more, not because we want to show off, but because we want to be a model to follow for employees and peers in the industry. We want our other team members to be inspired and do the same for their teams.
To us, it's all about inspiration. Our culture’s ultimate goal is to inspire people to lead in a way that keeps the team engaged. The Spark culture builds engagement and inspires excellence in implementing systems and processes. Wendy’s is a new opportunity to apply this same inspiring leadership culture.
We bought these stores from an organization that had a great reputation, but one of the things that set us apart even from great reputations is that we're looking for ways to think even bigger. We realize that the world has changed a lot regarding what employees expect. Employees nowadays benefit from more feedback, more appreciation and more recognition for their efforts. They require their leaders to keep them engaged, to give them opportunities to rise to the next level, to take on the next challenge, and ultimately, receive better pay.
Intelligently managed companies with excellent employees like ours can’t just bank on the fact that they're going to stay on our bench forever. Great employees are going to be looking for the next best opportunity for themselves, and commitment is not the tendency in this industry’s overall culture. At Spark, we know that in any relationship we build, we must work hard to nurture it, and that’s especially true with employees.
So what do we do that is different from other workplaces? We are a bench-driven organization and we focus on that every week as we make our plan, then we find people who want an opportunity and we help them develop. That’s our secret weapon: we don't just say what we're going to do, we do it. It’s what is ingrained in our operating culture. It's in our mindset and it's what we're going to do to keep ahead of the game. The key to success, not just in the restaurant business but in any business, is our people.
The Wendy's team came with great surprises - a lot of very seasoned employees who've been in Wendy's for 20 to 30 years, which in terms of loyalty to the brand, speaks highly of their job satisfaction. Several leaders have already caught our eye with their outstanding performance. We’re set to ignite the potential of all these committed and hard-working people and help all teams go to the next level.
Acquiring Wendy’s is an exciting new challenge for us; by acquiring these units, we’ve also taken the challenge of aligning with Wendy’s brand strategy to Image Activate 60% of the units by the end of 2021, 75% by 2022 and 100% by 2023. We can’t wait to take these new stores to the next level. We want to continue to grow, build our restaurants, and find opportunities to purchase more. We aim to make our teams better than ever before by recognizing and inspiring them every step of the way.