Home Insights American Wendy’s vs Australian Wendy’s: Can there be two ‘Wendy’s’?

American Wendy’s vs Australian Wendy’s: Can there be two ‘Wendy’s’?

Read time
2  minute read
Date published
03 April 2023

US hamburger fast food chain Wendy’s plans to establish itself in the Australian market. However, it faces an obstacle in the form of a rival chain, Wendy’s Milk Bar, which has long been a feature of the country’s suburban shopping malls.

Wendy’s Milk Bar, formerly known as Wendy’s Supa Sundaes, opened in South Australia in 1979 and it now has 120 stores across Australia and New Zealand. Recognised for its pink banner often found in shopping malls, Wendy’s Milk Bar has become a well-known Australian ice-cream and hotdog chain.

Distinguished by its logo of a red-haired girl with pigtails, the US burger chain currently has around 7,000 Wendy’s hamburger restaurants worldwide, including a few in New Zealand, and company officials have previously stated their plans to increase the number to 8,500 by 2025, including opening stores in Australia.

The news of the American hamburger company opening in Australian has generated wild speculation of a Wendy’s-on-Wendy’s dust-up. However, the two companies may have already reached a deal, as both Wendy’s have longstanding registered trademarks in Australia, with their respective rights dating back to at least the 1970s.

It is therefore possible that the Australian Trade Marks Office have already highlighted the possibility of confusion in the marketplace, requiring the parties to settle the matter between themselves.

Similar issues have plagued other American fast-food chains entering the Australian market. Hungry Jack’s, a Burger King franchisee in Australia, faced similar issues when it entered the Australian market. It has since operated under the name, Hungry Jack’s, due to another business having prior rights to the Burger King name in Australia.

It is clear the parties are already co-existing on the Australian Trade Mark Register and have been since around the 1970s. But, only time will tell if the well-known American Wendy’s will successfully and peacefully, enter the Australian marketplace.