The Wendy’s Co. :WEN-US: Earnings Analysis: Q2, 2017 By the Numbers : August 21, 2017

The Wendy’s Co. reports financial results for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of The Wendy’s Co. – Jack in the Box Inc., Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc., Yum! Brands, Inc., Domino’s Pizza, Inc., McDonald’s Corporation, Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., Arcos Dorados Holdings, Inc. Class A and Good Times Restaurants Inc. (JACK-US, TAST-US, YUM-US, DPZ-US, MCD-US, DNKN-US, ARCO-US and GTIM-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Summary numbers: Revenues of USD 320.34 million, Net Earnings of USD -1.85 million.
  • Gross margins widened from 39.04% to 43.01% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now 36.77% from 31.27%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 52.83% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Earnings declined although operating margins improved from 23.07% to 27.00%.

The table below shows the preliminary results and recent trends for key metrics such as revenues and net income growth:

2017-06-30 2017-03-31 2016-12-31 2016-09-30 2016-06-30
Relevant Numbers (Quarterly)
Revenues (mil) 320.34 285.82 309.9 364.01 382.72
Revenue Growth (%YOY) -16.3 -24.54 -33.26 -21.66 -21.82
Earnings (mil) -1.85 22.34 28.89 48.89 26.48
Earnings Growth (%YOY) -106.97 -11.91 -67.42 487.41 6.67
Net Margin (%) -0.58 7.82 9.32 13.43 6.92
EPS -0.01 0.09 0.11 0.18 0.1
Return on Equity (%) -0.36 4.24 4.79 7.13 3.71
Return on Assets (%) -0.18 2.22 2.81 4.74 2.56

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Market Share Versus Profits

Revenues History
Earnings History

WEN-US‘s change in revenue this period compared to the same period last year of -16.30% is almost the same as its change in earnings, and is about average among the announced results thus far in its peer group, suggesting that WEN-US is holding onto its market share. Also, for comparison purposes, revenues changed by 12.08% and earnings by -108.26% compared to the immediate last period.

Revenues Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Leader, Earnings Focus, Laggard, Revenues Focus

Earnings Growth Analysis

The company’s year-on-year earnings decline did not come as a result of a contraction in gross margins or because of any cost control issues. Both gross margins and operating margins (EBITDA) margins actually improved over this time frame. Gross margins went from 39.04% to 43.01%, while operating margins improved from 31.27% to 36.77% over this period. For comparison, gross margins were 46.62% and EBITDA margins 38.47% in the immediate last period.

Gross Margin Versus EBITDA Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Differentiated; Low Cost, Commodity; Low Cost, Commodity; High Cost, Differentiated; High Cost

Gross Margin Trend

Companies sometimes sacrifice improvements in revenues and margins in order to extend friendlier terms to customers and vendors. Capital Cube probes for such activity by comparing the changes in gross margins with any changes in working capital. If the gross margins improved without a worsening of working capital, it is possible that the company’s performance is a result of truly delivering in the marketplace and not simply an accounting prop-up using the balance sheet.

Gross Margin History
Working Capital Days History

WEN-US‘s improvement in gross margin has been accompanied by an improvement in its balance sheet as well. This suggests that gross margin improvements are likely from operating decisions and not accounting gimmicks. Its working capital days have declined to 62.68 days from 86.57 days for the same period last year.

Gross Margin Versus Working Capital Days

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Customer Financed, Cash Starved, Supplier Financed, Cash Rich

Cash Versus Earnings – Sustainable Performance?

It is important to examine a company�s cash versus earnings numbers to gauge whether its performance is sustainable.

WEN-US‘s change in operating cash flow of 52.83% compared to the same period last year is about the same as its change in earnings this period. Additionally, this change in operating cash flow is about average among its peer group. This suggests that the company did not use accruals or reserves to manage earnings this period, and that, all else being equal, the earnings number is sustainable.

Operating Cash Flow Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Cash Flow based Earnings, Likely Non-cash Earnings, Low Cash Flow Base, Likely Undeclared Earnings


Despite an overall improvement in operating (EBIT) margins, the company’s earnings fell. EBIT margins went from 23.07% to 27.00%. The decline in earnings appears to be largely because of one-time items. Pretax margins declined from 9.74% to -0.09%.

EBIT Margin Versus PreTax Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Operation driven Earnings, One-time Favorables, Low Earnings Base, One-time Unfavorables
EBIT Margin History
PreTax Margin History

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Company Profile

The Wendy’s Co. is a hamburger company. It provides hamburgers and related products such as chicken breast sandwiches, nuggets, chili, baked potatoes, french fries, freshly prepared salads, soft drinks, milk, coffee, frosty deserts and kids meals. The company was founded by R. David Thomas on November 15, 1969 and is headquartered in Dublin, OH.

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