Before the global pandemic changed everyday life in a dramatic fashion, Wendy’s launched its breakfast menus around the US.
In just 2 weeks, a national lockdown was imposed – commutes became a relic of the pre-Covid era as everyone started working from home.
Some pessimistic observers thought that Wendy’s bold attempt will end just like that. Surprisingly, the menus proved very popular with the customers. In a quarter when all its competitors suffered, Wendy’s reported a solid earning as the new menus provided a lifeline.
As of now, the new breakfast menus account to about 8% of the total revenue. It is an extremely encouraging number as the year-end goal that the food chain had set for its breakfast menus were 10% of the total sales.
Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor told investors in a call that the company could not be happier about how the launch went. He pointed out how some stores began reporting profit for the first time since the pandemic, a feat that he credited the sustained support for the breakfast menus.
Jill Failla, a food business analyst, identified three factors behind the success of Wendy’s breakfast menus – people ordering food because of the lockdown, bad business cycle for competitors such as McDonald’s and sheer boredom which made people more adventurous.
Another factor may be the more idiosyncratic menu selection. Whereas competitors stuck to the more classic menus such as pastries, Wendy’s was a bit more bold. For instance, it offers a unique set menu of fried chicken sandwich, coffee and ice-cream for breakfast.
Since it first announced that it will enter the breakfast market in September of last year, Wendy’s conducted nationwide researches and surveys into what people wanted. Failla praises this diligence as the factor that brought fresh menus in to the market.
Although McDonald’s continues to reign as the king of all breakfasts, its dominance has been decreasing. Observers cite the lack of innovation and the entry of other big names into the breakfast market as the two major reasons.
For the competitors of Wendy’s, the second quarter was far from their best one. McDonald’s, Starbucks and Dunkin’ all said that bringing in customers amid a national lockdown was a struggle.
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