Wendy’s breaks ground on restaurant in Moses Lake

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Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Wenspok Vice President for Business Operations Jennifer Robson, Associated Construction Project Manager Brandon Smith, and Wenspok Vice President for Operations Randy Swanson get ready to break ground on the new Moses Lake Wendy’s on Wednesday. If all goes according to plan, the restaurant should be finished by late November.

MOSES LAKE — “We’re here.”

So said Randy Swanson, the vice president of operations for Wenspok, right after turning over a shovel full of dry earth in when was once a vacant, weedy lot near the intersection of Yonezawa Boulevard and Highway 17.

If all goes according to plan, that lot will become a Wendy’s Restaurant round about Thanksgiving.

And then you can order that Frosty, fries, and double-cheese-everything you’ve been dreaming of.

“Give or take a week. That’s the plan, barring any unforeseen difficulties.” Swanson said.

Wenspok Resources, the Spokane-based franchisee which owns and operates over 30 Wendy’s fast food restaurants in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California, has been working for the better part of a year to get to this point. The company’s desire to locate a franchise operation in Moses Lake first became public last November when it filed with the city planning office and began advertising on Indeed.com for employees.

“It takes time, and it takes a little money too,” Swanson said. “So, we picked out a good location, got it approved, and we’re ready to go.”

Swanson said the restaurant will seat 55, have a drive through with parking for big RVs, and will be open — at least at the beginning — from 10 a.m. to midnight.

“It’s a new design,” Swanson said. “It’s a little bit smaller, a little more efficient. It’s very green.”

The Moses Lake Wendy’s is not set to serve breakfast, at least not initially.

“At this time, we won’t do breakfast. Wendy’s is talking about maybe streamlining their national breakfast menu, and we may send up doing that eventually,” Swanson said.

Building the new restaurant is Associated Construction, a Spokane-based firm that specializes in franchise and retail construction. “We do pretty much all the work for McDonald’s operations east of the Cascades,” said Project Manager Brandon Smith. “We’ve probably built over 100 fast food type of restaurants. It’s kind of in our wheelhouse.”

It is, however, their first Wendy’s, Smith said.

“They reached out to us last fall,” he said. “We’re excited to start a relationship.”

Swanson said all of the work approving restaurant locations is done by the company’s corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio., where all of the restaurant designs and specifications are done as well.

He wouldn’t say what held up development — it was originally reported that the company was hoping to start construction last spring — but he did say that Wenspok had high hopes for its new Moses Lake franchise.

“This is a great location. It will be a busy restaurant. Summers are going to be phenomenal, and the community is big enough to support it in the off season,” he said.

“We’re really looking forward to getting it open,” Swanson added.

According to company information about a Wendy’s restaurant for sale in Pendleton, Ore., Wenspok Resources is one of six Wendy’s franchisees totaling more than 80 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada owned by Peter Nisbet, a Seattle-based real estate investor.

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