Wendy’s international success involves addressing the interests of its stakeholders through appropriate corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs. Stakeholder theory suggests that companies influence and are under the influence of stakeholders, which are individuals or groups that have a stake in what the company does. Wendy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives reflect the company’s strategy and concern for these stakeholders. These programs also influence how Wendy’s maintains its corporate and brand image, as well as the attractiveness of its products. Suitable and relevant corporate social responsibility programs address stakeholders’ interests and increase Wendy’s chances of long-term success as one of the top hamburger fast food restaurant chains in the world.
Wendy’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives include programs that target the interests of customers, employees, and other major stakeholders. These stakeholder groups are prioritized according to Wendy’s strategy and business philosophy.
Wendy’s Stakeholder Groups & CSR Initiatives
Wendy’s stakeholders’ interests are the bases for the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, which embody the company’s core values, such as “Do the Right Thing.” However, not all stakeholders have the same significance in the business. Wendy’s prioritizes its stakeholders and their interests as follows, arranged according to the company’s corporate social responsibility strategy:
- Customers (Wendy’s top priority)
Customers. Wendy’s gives its customers top priority as stakeholders in its corporate social responsibility programs. The company believes that customer satisfaction is a primary goal of the business. This stakeholder group is interested in high quality and appropriate pricing of Wendy’s products. Also, customers are significant because they are the source of the company’s revenues. Wendy’s corporate social responsibility strategy satisfies the interests of these stakeholders by focusing on quality, which is one of the selling points of the business. For example, one of Wendy’s core values is “Quality is Our Recipe.” Thus, Wendy’s corporate social responsibility strategy ensures the company’s focus on customers’ interests through quality.
Employees. Employees are the second-priority stakeholders in Wendy’s corporate social responsibility strategy. This stakeholder group’s interests are career opportunities and proper compensation. Employees are important because they directly affect Wendy’s business capabilities. The company believes “People are our greatest asset and the foundation of our success.” Wendy’s CSR programs focus on providing adequate training to develop employees’ potential. Also, these stakeholders are given appropriate compensation, with increasing opportunities for higher compensation across the corporate ladder. These factors show that Wendy’s corporate social responsibility strategy adequately addresses the interests of this stakeholder group.
Communities. Wendy’s corporate social responsibility efforts highlight one of the company’s core values: “Give Something Back.” In this regard, communities are one of the major stakeholders in Wendy’s CSR approach. This stakeholder group is significant because they affect customers’ and investors’ perception and behavior toward the company. Communities are interested in Wendy’s contributions to their development. The company addresses these interests through financial support for a number of organizations, such as the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which maintains the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Wendy’s main corporate social responsibility thrust in addressing this stakeholder group’s interests is support for family unity and social development.
Investors. Investors are significant stakeholders that influence the availability of Wendy’s capital. This stakeholder group is interested primarily in business profitability. Wendy’s CSR programs address these interests by focusing on stability instead of expansion. For example, the company has limited international operations, but its operations in North America are stable and highly profitable. These conditions show that Wendy’s corporate social responsibility approach is cautious in ensuring business stability, with limited global expansion.
Governments. Governments are stakeholders that significantly affect Wendy’s through regulatory requirements. This stakeholder group is interested in regulatory compliance as well as business contributions to economic development. Wendy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives address these interests through its legal department as well as its Restaurant Support Centers that ensure regulatory compliance of all franchisees. Wendy’s corporate social responsibility programs directly address the interests of this basic stakeholder group.
Wendy’s CSR Performance in Addressing Stakeholders’ Interests
Wendy’s corporate social responsibility programs are focused but limited. The company addresses most of the interests of stakeholders. However, other significant interests are not properly satisfied. Thus, the recommendation is for Wendy’s to increase its considerations for employees’ expectations of higher wages. It is also recommended that the company should implement more CSR programs to address other community concerns, such as livelihood. These recommendations are aimed at enhancing Wendy’s corporate social responsibility standing and performance based on stakeholders’ interests, and at improving the company’s brand image.
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