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By Mike Hazlip—
The recent appearance of construction fencing around the Wendy’s at the corner of Antelope Road and Lichen Drive in Citrus Heights has caused passersby to wonder if the restaurant has closed permanently, but a company executive confirmed Wednesday that the location being remodeled to modernize the restaurant.
Executive Vice President of Operations and Marketing for Fresno based JEM Restaurant Management Corporation Kris Stuebner told The Sentinel that plans include expanded outdoor seating, and an all digital menu system.
“It’s going to be the New Image Wendy’s. It will be completely digital, digital outdoor menu boards, digital indoor menu boards, it will have kiosks,” Stuebner said.
Stuebner said outdoor dining was a trend accelerated by the pandemic. A number of restaurants in the JEM portfolio reported customers prefer eating outside at locations that offer patio seating, according to Stuebner.
“You see a lot of sit-down restaurants that are still trying to maintain their temporary outdoor seating that they have. I just think guests enjoy it,” he said.
Wendy’s closed to customers on Friday, Nov. 5, Stuebner said. He expects the planned remodel to be completed sometime in spring 2022.
No employees were laid off as a result of the remodel, according to Stuebner. He said JEM Restaurant Management Corporation was able to move employees to other locations for the remainder of the remodel.
The company is looking to hire 40 new employees at the Antelope Road location, and is actively recruiting. Stuebner said employees will be trained at nearby locations.
“I always like to see new business, businesses grow. Businesses benefit us, they benefit the economy,” Stuebner said. “Hopefully people will want to get back to work.”
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