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Earnings Preview: Wendy's to report 3Q

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wendy's reports its third-quarter results Thursday, which should give a glimpse of how the hamburger chain is faring in its push to revamp its image.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Sales at restaurants open at least a year is a key indicator because they strip out the impact of newly opened and closed locations. Traditional fast-food chains have been struggling to boost the figure; McDonald's earlier reported the metric edged up just 0.7 percent in the U.S. in its latest quarter. Burger King said the figure slipped 0.3 percent at North American locations during the quarter.

WHY IT MATTERS: Traditional fast-food chains are fighting to attract customers by dangling cheap eats and promotions. On the other hand, they're trying to freshen up their menus to be more in line with changing eating habits. McDonald's, for instance, now lets customers substitute egg whites in breakfast sandwiches.

Executives at Wendy's Co. have been particularly vocal about their intention to recast the chain as being more in line with the likes of Panera Bread Co. Wendy's, based in Dublin, Ohio, is pushing restaurant renovations as a result, in addition to rolling out more items positioned as premium items. Whether it's able to pull off the transformation with customers is yet to be seen.

Notably, other chains have fared better, with Chipotle and Starbucks both reporting healthy sales gains in their latest quarters.

WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts on average expect a profit of 6 cents per share on revenue of $640.2 million, according to FactSet.

LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: The company earned 3 cents per share on revenue of $636.3 million.