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The Associated Press reports that Wendy’s is investing $12 million in Pasta Pomodoro, a fast-casual chain with 24 restaurants, mostly in Northern California. The company’s goal is to double or triple the size of the chain by 2005.

This year, Wendy’s already has invested up to $10 million for a 45 percent stake in Cafe Express, a Houston-based restaurant that offers upscale meals in a fast-food format. And it bought California-based Baja Fresh Mexican Grill.
KC's View:
The question in the fast food business these days doesn’t seem to be who can serve the fast food the fastest, but who can diversify the fastest, creating or acquiring new banners and new approaches.

One has to wonder if this trend will extend to other kinds of food retailing. We have to believe that it will…and that one of the more natural extensions or combinations will be with mainstream supermarket companies moving into the convenience store business.