While Wendy’s has done well to magnify its significant menu prowess sufficient to generate a respectable +14% cumulative U.S. comp growth from 2019 – 2021, the chain must continue to work to translate its QSR+ positioning into increased frequency from a higher income demo sufficient to drive a higher check and in-line comp performance.
• While 2020 was perhaps the industry’s worse year ever, there were definitely winners and losers mixed-in the overall results.
• To this end, relative $1B+ chain outperformance reflected the clear benefit of scale – helping the national brands to pivot around tech, access and marketing in ways which the smaller players were not able to replicate.
• Executive summaries for Wendy’s, Domino’s, and Little Caesar’s.
Hopefully the trough of a shocking Black Swan event, 2Q20 gave us an average comp decline of -15.4% for 23 $1B+ chains under coverage. Notably, there was a very wide dispersion of results with a comp high of +32% (Wingstop) all the way to a low of -59% (IHOP) as consumers decidedly shifted away from dine-in to low-contact off-premise solutions.
In a shocking Black Swan event, the industry suffered the forced closing of all dining rooms in late March 2020. While this shock was less troublesome to concepts already heavily oriented towards drive-thru and off-premise, the devastation for sit-down oriented chains has been previously unimaginable.
Encouraging comp recovery trends with: QSR doing more than holding its own; chicken chains continuing to amaze; pizza perfectly suited for circumstances; and sit-down better than expected. Also included is some good news from Starbucks China. Finally, we include executive summaries for McDonald’s and Wendy’s.
Wendy’s believes that “people deserve better than what they’ve been getting” and its brand objective is to provide: relevant restaurants; food that is fresh, made with honest ingredients & craveable taste; service that is friendly, accurate & fast; and value based upon a competitive price & Wendy’s quality. “Quality is our Recipe” brand positioning is based upon the use of distinctive square burger patties made with 1/4 pound of fresh, never frozen 100% pure North American beef that is seasoned on the grill and served hot & juicy with freshly prepared toppings.
The successful brands continue to add value in some form or another sufficient to drive higher tickets. It could be from menu improvements or innovation or digital order platform upgrades that add convenience to go with a higher check. It seems that those consumers with means can be cajoled into spending more if they perceive a value-added proposition in some form that resonates.