Wendy's fans across the region are asking "where's the beef" after the sudden closure of several of the fast-food chain's operations last week.
A spokeswoman for the corporation confirmed the closures in Kennewick, Walla Walla and Yakima, and said the company is working with the franchisee to work through the operations' hiccups.
Kitty Munger said she had no details about the reason for the closures, no timeline for a possible re-opening and no certainty that if the restaurant re-opens it will be under the same owner.
The readerboard above the Wendy's at 3115 W. Clearwater Ave. in Kennewick reads temporarily closed, while signs posted on the entrance doors say closed for maintenance.
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There was no answer to a telephone call to the Kennewick establishment.
Calls made last week to Don Mullen, regional director for Wendy's in the Mid-Columbia, went straight to voice mail and messages asking for a call have not been returned.
Similar closures reportedly occurred in Walla Walla, Pendleton and at two Yakima restaurants last week. The locations are reportedly owned by franchisee Zachary Dugdale.
The fast food restaurant known for its burgers and Frosty treats has been working to re-energize itself in the face of stiff competition, according to a recent Associated Press report. With a new CEO, Emil Brolick, the company has been working on expansion, including with breakfast options and overseas operations.
Brolick told the Associated Press that the company has revamped its menu and is remodeling stores. It sold Arby's, which had been a drag on earnings, over the summer. And it's now intent on hiring "five star" employees in line with those at the fast-casual chains, the Associated Press reported.
The company's fourth-quarter results released Monday show mixed results.
Wendy's income from continuing operations fell 30 percent to $4.3 million in the past three months of the year, down from $6.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. While revenue rose 5.6 percent to $615 million, narrowly beating the $613 million predicted by analysts.
Revenue at restaurants open at least a year climbed 4.4 percent in North America, the highest number in nearly eight years, according to the company. That's a key measure of a company's health because it strips out the effect of newly opened or closed stores.