Wendy’s celebrates 25 years in Timmins
Hundreds turned out for Wendy’s official opening in Timmins on Nov. 17, 1993.
Twenty-five years later, Wendy’s is celebrating a milestone anniversary, coinciding with a major makeover of its Timmins restaurant. Customers coming into the newly renovated restaurant in Timmins will immediately notice the difference.
There are digital menu boards, a fireplace, flat screen TVs and a lounging area where people can sit in comfort and have their meal.
The carpeting that covered the floors has been taken out and the old barrier seating has been removed and replaced with moveable chairs and tables, creating more wide open spaces.
The exterior façade has been changed and the larger windows allow for more natural light to come in. Behind the counter, in the area where food preparation is done, all new kitchen equipment was brought in.
“This was an extensive revamp,” said Mark Torchia, president of the Timmins-based Torchia Group, which owns the local Wendy’s restaurant along with 12 others across the province. “I really like the design. It’s wide open and very user friendly. “We’ve got different types of tables now. Everything is moveable because we wanted to make sure if customers want to split up a couple of tables or move them together, they can.”
The improvements were conducted over an eightweek period and concluded in mid-October. Among the new features at the restaurant are the newly installed Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. These are touch-screen soda fountains that provide customers with a selection of 120 different brands and flavours to choose from.
“It’s something, I think, the kids are going to gravitate to,” said Torchia. “They like the idea of having choices and being able to play around with a lot of options.”
Over the 25 years he has been managing Wendy’s, Torchia has seen a shift in the business, with greater emphasis placed by customers on the drive-through service.
“Drive-through has really grown over the years. It’s gone from something that was maybe 40% of our business at one time to probably 60% or 65%.” That trend is reflected in some of the changes at Wendy’s restaurants being seen chain-wide.
“A new Wendy’s would have 30 or 35 seats. This one (in Timmins) has about 90.”
With the redesign, Torchia said, “I just didn’t want to make it any smaller. Even though the actual business has changed a lot, we still get busy lunches and we had to keep it like this.”
Right from Day 1 when Wendy’s opened in Timmins, Torchia understood the benefits of gaining a reputation of providing good quality and fast service.
“If we give good service, people are going to come back. If we have a fast drive-through, people are going to come here. We’re recognized for that.” Torchia is quick to deflect any credit to himself for Wendy’s success in Timmins.
Instead, he credits his staff for making it a success and the community for supporting the business all these years. “This is my flagship. This is where I started. Without the Timmins store, I don’t think I would have the others,” said Torchia, who also owns Wendy’s restaurants in Sudbury, North Bay, New Liskeard, Barrie, Orillia, Collingwood, Alliston and Bradford. “I have to thank the people of Timmins for supporting us, and also our great staff, along with my administrative team who help me run the entire company from right here in Timmins.
“None of this happens because of me. I’m just sort of the quarterback but I’ve got great people who work for me. I couldn’t do it on my own … These people right here. Those are the ones at the front-line making it work every day.
“Wendy’s menu has been known for fresh. Our beef is fresh. Our salads are made every day – that’s what all those people back there are doing — they’re prepping meat, they’re making salads, they’re getting all the toppings ready for all the burgers and as you come through the drive-through or order, we make it fresh for you.”
He said he also owes a lot to his late father, John, who backed him and got him started in the business. “Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am. He passed away about five years ago. He and I were partners when we first started,” said Torchia. “When we expanded our business to buy more stores, he was impressed by how well we were doing here and said, ‘Son, if you want me to back you, I’ll back you,’ and that’s what we did. We just grew and to this day we have 13 Wendy’s and we own five Boston Pizzas.” Wendy’s in Timmins will host its 25th-anniversary regrand opening on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Wendy’s is celebrating a milestone anniversary, coinciding with a major makeover of its Timmins restaurant.
Mark Torchia, right, owner/operator of the Wendy’s restaurant in Timmins, his staff and family welcome everyone to celebrate Wendy’s 25th anniversary in Timmins.
Owner/operator Mark Torchia, centre, was joined by Timmins Mayor Vic Power, left, and Torchia’s dad John, right, for a cake cutting held during Wendy’s grand opening in Timmins on Nov. 17, 1993. This is a photo of the front page article that appeared in The Daily Press the following day.