The Wendy's Co

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A US holding company that owns Wendy's, one of the world's largest fast-food chains. It uses incarcerated labor.

The Wendy's Company is one of the largest fast-food companies in the world. There are 7,095 Wendy's restaurants in the U.S. and 31 other countries, 6,680 of which are operated by franchisees and 415 of which are operated by the company. In 2022, Wendy's employed approximately 14,500 people and generated $2.1 billion in revenue.

Wendy's uses incarcerated labor at its restaurants. According to a class-action lawsuit filed in December 2023, incarcerated individuals held in minimum-security prisons in Alabama are "leased" out and transported to day jobs at fast-food chains, including Wendy's, Burger King, KFC, and McDonald's.

Under this "convict leasing" system, incarcerated individuals are allegedly forced to work for Wendy's and other businesses that pay incarcerated workers wages lower than those required by law; impose long and demanding work hours and sometimes unsafe conditions; and exploit such workers in other ways, knowing that they cannot refuse to work or raise concerns about workplace conditions without risking serious disciplinary action, such as being returned to "more violent and life-threatening" prisons.

The company's policies prohibit the use of forced labor in its supply chain but do not ban all forms of prison labor.

Unless specified otherwise, the information in this page is valid as of
8 February 2024