Burger chain Wendy's is hoping a makeover and a recipe change will help pull the company out of a rut that for years has made the fast food chain an afterthought for consumers in the shadow of McDonald's, Burger King and Subway.

In addition to redesigning some of their restaurants last month, Wendy's has ditched its 42-year-old burger recipe for one it hopes will make it top-of-mind for consumers against giants like McDonald's.

But the company also needs the new burger to help the brand hedge off competition from fast-growing franchises like Five Guys and cult US favorite In-N-Out Burger.

The new Dave's Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger, named after Wendy's late founder Dave Thomas, is a revamped sandwich made with a thicker 1/4 lb beef patty than its predecessor, topped with crinkle-cut pickles, sweet red onions, thick tomato slices and topped with a buttered, toasted bun that lost some of its signature square edges. The burger is also available as a double and triple-layer sandwich.

The new menu debuted earlier this week in the US and Canada and is expected to roll out to its 6,500 restaurants in 26 countries around the world including Indonesia, Singapore, Japan and countries in Central America and South America. The chain most recently entered Russia and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the chain is also piloting a new redesign of its restaurants in Columbus, Ohio, birthplace of the company. Two locations in that city have undergone facelifts that include a contemporary design on the exterior with large windows and natural materials, along with open dining areas inside with multiple seating options. Digital menuboards, a new customer ordering process and test products are also being trialled at the Columbus restaurants.

McDonald's Canada also announced earlier this month it would be investing a staggering $1 billion to overhaul all its 1,400 restaurants in the biggest store-by-store brand transformation in its history.

And Burger King recently revamped its menu with healthier offerings that include fruit-topped oatmeal and salads.