Jun 4, 2021 | Report Announcements

Wendy’s “Quality is our Recipe” brand positioning stresses a commitment to fresh, never frozen, North American beef in the form of square, cooked-to-order burgers that are juicier, hotter and made with more melted cheese. The brand’s freshness positioning is also reinforced by the: use of smaller birds which make its chicken fillets more tender & juicy; daily produce prep; mayo on its burgers; and greenhouse grown tomatoes. Further, it’s premium positioning benefits from: high-end toppings (applewood smoked bacon, asiago cheese & high-end salad toppings); spicy flavor profiles; and bakery styled buns that “hold the whole thing”. Notably, Wendy’s Premium Made to Crave lineup has helped drive a 10% incremental increase in sales, its chicken upgrades are helping in the chicken sandwich wars and its breakfast launch helps fill an obvious hole. The brand’s menu strategy is to: reinforce its hamburger quality leadership; raise consumer expectations with its chicken products; leverage its equity in bacon (Baconator); drive unique visits through salads & beverages; innovate with on-trend (spicy) flavors; and offer a multi-faceted approach to price/value. While value is addressed with $4/$5 bundles deals as opposed to low-priced/discounted a la carte offers, the brand must also keep things interesting for guests looking to spend under $4 (for the time being) without offering deals that would cannibalize higher-end sales. Marketing is supported by the brand’s social media prowess which helps target younger, digital savvy consumers. Also, Wendy’s high-ticket digital sales mix is ramping-up and is well supported by the recent launch of its loyalty program. Despite strong sales results so far in 2021, it bears noting that Wendy’s faces some stiff long-term competition with better burger players and those chains with well-established higher-end chicken positioning (think Chick-fil-A & Popeyes). In conclusion, while Wendy’s has done well to magnify its significant menu prowess, 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 higher sales.

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