Wendy's International has the beef, all right. It's with Carl Karcher Enterprises.
The nation's No. 3 fast-food chain is sizzling over Karcher's purchase of 10 Wendy's restaurants in Arizona from a franchisee.
On Monday, Wendy's sued Anaheim-based Karcher and the Wendy's franchisee, seeking damages of $119 million. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson, claimed that Karcher "secretly consummated" the purchases after being warned repeatedly that Wendy's would object.
In a statement, Karcher executives said the suit "is totally without merit." The sale was completed only after Wendy's was offered--and declined--a chance to bid for the properties, said a spokesman for the company, which operates the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain.
Karcher previously bought Wendy's sites from franchisees in the San Fernando Valley and Sacramento, the spokesman said.
But Wendy's noted that in Southern California, it has many franchisees. In the Tucson area, it has only one, Ronald Brown. And when Brown sold 10 restaurants to Karcher in March, it left Wendy's with only four stores in Tucson.
"Wendy's presence in Tucson was wiped off the face of the earth overnight," said Danny Lynch, Wendy's spokesman.