Wendy's International has bought a 45% interest in Houston restaurant chain Cafe Express. Cafe Express is a "fast-casual" restaurant. Watch that phrase, I think you'll be hearing it again.
Cafe Express is Wendy's first investment in the fast-casual restaurant business. The term "fast-casual" refers to a growing market in the industry, combining the casual dining of a restaurant like Chili's or Friday's with the self-service, walk-up concept.
Robert Del Grande, president of Cafe Express, said he was told by Wendy's CEO Jack Schuessler that the fast-casual market is "just beginning. It's teeny now, but it's going to be huge, and he expects it to grow exponentially."