DUBLIN, Ohio – The Wendy's Company announced plans to sell company owned 54 restaurants to NPC International, Inc., the eighth largest restaurant operator in the United States.

The sale is a continuation of the company's plan to geographically concentrate its restaurant ownership. The company announced in July plans to sell about 425 company owned restaurants. Wendy's expects to complete the sales by the second quarter of 2014. Emil Brolick, president and CEO, has said the restaurant sales will reduce annualized general and administrative expense, improve company-operated restaurant operating margin, have a higher cash flow and a lower annualized depreciation expense.

"We are very pleased with the strong interest in system optimization that we're receiving from our franchisee community," Brolick said. "We view this as an excellent opportunity to grow our business with new and existing franchisees that are focused on operational excellence, have a strong balance sheet, and are fully committed to our restaurant reimaging effort."

Wendy's has signed agreements for 172 restaurants to date.