DUBLIN, Ohio – The Wendy's Co. has reached its goal of reducing the company's share of the Wendy's restaurant system with the sale of 104 restaurants scattered among Phoenix, Ariz., Los Angeles/Palm Springs, Calif., Hawaii and Albuquerque, NM.

Wendy's sold 418 company-owned restaurants, netting the company $235 million including $138 million in 2013, the company noted. The company-owned share of the fast-casual chain is now 15 percent and includes 1,000 restaurants in the United States and Canada.

"We are proud of our team that has diligently worked to complete the sale — faster than our original plan — of the 13 total markets to excellent franchise organizations that are fully committed to building the Wendy's brand through restaurant reimaging, new development and other growth initiatives," said Emil Brolick, Wendy's president and CEO.

"This is an important step for the future of our business. It's another example of the Brand Transformation under way at Wendy's, with breakthrough new products; innovative marketing; operations, restaurant team and customer service initiatives; and the continued acceleration of our 'Image Activation' restaurant reimaging program," Brolick added.

In July 2013, Wendy's announced plans to reduce its ownership of restaurants to 15 percent to 25 percent through the sale of roughly 425 company-owned restaurants. The company implemented its "System Optimization Initiative" which called for reducing Wendy's ownership of company-owned stores while growing the number of stores featuring the company's more modern restaurant design and branding.

The final round of sales includes:

• 40 Phoenix area restaurants to Arizona Restaurant Company LLC, led by veteran Wendy's franchisee Richard Holland and John Peters, who previously served as Wendy's senior vice president of North America Operations. In addition to the Phoenix market, Holland operates 73 Wendy's restaurants elsewhere in Arizona and seven other states.

• 32 Los Angeles/Palm Springs area restaurants to Cotti Foods California Inc., along with seven restaurants in Hawaii to Cotti Foods Hawaii Inc. Both entities are headed by president and CEO Peter Capriotti II, whose organization is based in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. and specializes in operating quick-service restaurants.

• 25 Albuquerque area restaurants to JAAB Restaurant Holdings LLC, led by partners Andres Garcia, Jhonny Mercado, Murshed (Ben) Mansoor and Angelo Freites. In addition to the Albuquerque market, Garcia, Mercado and Freites also operate JAA Restaurant Holdings LLC with 36 Wendy's restaurants in Florida, along with restaurants in Panama.