Wendy's: Here's the Beef ... And the Pork

Fresh off a report that its same-store sales for the second quarter rose by 0.7% for company-owned stores and by 0.4% for franchised outlets, Wendy's is about to launch a new product - channeling Arnold Schwarzenegger -- the Baconator.

Just as it sounds, the hamburger will be loaded with bacon. Six (that's 6) strips of hickory smoked bacon on top of a half-pound of never-frozen beef, according to the press release, which was sent out on the wires on Friday.

The Baconator follows June's rollout of the Triple Stack cheeseburger, a product featuring three hamburgers.

In April, the company intro'd Steakhouse Double-Melt cheeseburger, two burgers "packed" with onions, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, peppercorn sauce and three strips of bacon on a Kaiser bun.

So what happened to the trend of fast-food restaurants offering healthier options?

Restaurants, like all other retailers, have diverse audiences with differing desires, says Scott Hume, executive editor of Restaurants & Institutions magazine. "Just as The Gap offers a variety of clothing styles, restaurants provide a variety of menu items. That way, those who want salads find something on the menu, and those who crave a hamburger with six slices of bacon find what they want. If no one orders the Baconator, it quickly will go away, but those who don't want it needn't order it."



R&I's 2007 New American Diner Study finds that 21.3% of consumers (23.1% of women and 19.5% of men) agree or strongly agree with the statement, "I am making a sustained effort to eat healthy at restaurants." The other 8 out of 10 sometimes eat healthfully and sometimes they indulge in higher-fat or higher-calorie choices. Wendy's and other restaurants aren't wrong to provide both lower- and higher-calorie options; like it or not, free consumer choice is the operating principle of the U.S. economy, Hume tells Marketing Daily.

Wendy's International Inc., which is the No. 3 hamburger chain, said the second-quarter sales hike was aided by new products such as the Triple Stack cheeseburger and the Frosty Float.

Wendy's recently received brand, food and operations accolades from:

  • Zagat Survey, a leading global provider of consumer survey content, which recently named Wendy's as having the best hamburgers in the quick-service restaurant industry. In addition, Wendy's ranked first among quick-service "mega-chains" (i.e., those with at least 5,000 outlets) for food, facilities and popularity.
  • This year's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, produced by the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross Business School, ranked Wendy's in the top spot for customer satisfaction in the "limited service restaurants" category.
  • QSR Magazine's 2007 Consumer Survey recently rated Wendy's as consumers' favorite quick-service restaurant (QSR) for the second-straight year.

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