Fast-food restaurateur Wendy's International (NYSE:WEN) appears to be reading the same playbook used by its larger archrival McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) in jettisoning anything and everything not having to do with the namesake brand. And while Mickie D's is loving the results from the tough decision it made recently, can investors expect the same successful turnaround at Wendy's?

Sorry to rain on your parade, but it's hard to tell at this point. Wendy's released fourth-quarter and full-year 2006 results on Friday afternoon that clearly illustrated this is a company in transition. During the year, it spun off the wildly successful Tim Horton's (NYSE:THI), a primarily Canadian chain of coffee and doughnut shops. It also sold its struggling Baja Fresh Mexican Grills and looks to be close to selling the Cafe Express chain. It should be no surprise that last year's financials included a number of restructuring charges and other gains and expenses related to removing non-core chains from the corporate fold.

2006 performance at the remaining Wendy's chains was deemed lackluster by most analysts who are awaiting more concrete operational details at the company's analyst investor day taking place today. Right now, the consensus for 2007 earnings is slightly over $1.20 for a forward P/E of about 28.

That sounds higher than it really is, as Wendy's has a solid history of generating way more operating cash flow than it reports in net income. The tricky part is trying to figure out what the free cash flow trends will be going forward, as Wendy's was spending heavily to grow the newer brands it has now decided to get rid of.

The company's current strategic plan is appropriately entitled "Quality-Driven: Wendy's Recipe for Success" and consists of focusing on enhancing profitability at the remaining Wendy's stores and finding ways to grow the mature store base by opening new stores and revitalizing the older ones.

Wendy's is definitely worth a look if its turnaround plans turn out anything like McDonald's successful restructuring. McDonald's spent a couple of futile years acquiring outside brands such as Boston Market, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG), and Donato's in the hopes of opening the doors to the decades of rapid top-line expansion opportunities investors had become accustomed to. But in the process, it took its eye off the core McDonald's franchises and reported one of the only quarterly losses in its history before returning back to the basics of running its burger joints.

Wendy's is in the early stages of returning to its roots. And while the jury is still out in deciding if the company has chosen the right path, there's precedent that it has indeed made the correct first steps. In other words, for a turnaround play, head to Wendy's, but look to the great white north with Tim Horton's if it's more exciting sales growth opportunities you're after.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.