Restaurant operators were riveted last fall when Wendy’s International agreed to sell its struggling Baja Fresh Mexican Grill chain for the bargain price of $31 million—considerably less than the $275 million that the Dublin, Ohio-based company had paid for the fast-casual brand in 2002. The sale of the 299-unit, Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based chain realized the worst fears of risk-taking operators seeking to grow their businesses by diversifying their portfolios. ...

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