Tuesday, September 20, 2011

But is It Still Hot and Juicy?

Big news in the burger world.

When Wendy's decided to remake its 42-year-old hamburger.....


Wendy's is trying to boost lackluster sales and fight growing competition from much bigger rival McDonald's on one end and expanding fast-casual chains like Five Guys on the other. Part of the problem is that Americans, who are being squeezed by the tight economy, are being pickier about how they spend their dining-out dollars. But the biggest issue is that Wendy's, which hadn't changed its burger since the chain began in 1969, let its food offerings get stale over the years while its competitors continued to update their menus.

Last year, McDonald's had 49.5 percent of the fast-food burger market in the U.S. up from 41.6 percent in 2002, according to research firm Technomic. In the same period, Wendy's share fell to 12.8 percent from 14 percent. Burger King's fell to 13.3 percent from 17 percent.

Fair enough, but McDonald's didn't change its core items; it just added other stuff to the menu (as has Burger King, with smoothies of its own). But I suppose this should have been expected after Dave Thomas died.

Then there's this.....

...Wendy's polled more than 10,000 people about their likes and dislikes in hamburgers. It found that people like the food at Wendy's but thought the brand hadn't kept up with the times.

So the food is fine but the image needs an update. So they change the food. Not just a little,either.

In the end, Wendy's researchers changed everything but the ketchup.

Personally, I didn't see the need to mess with what was the best big-chain burger out there. I've said it before: if someone would open a Wendy's here, the other chains would be dead to me.

Some of their other plans sound better.

Wendy's, which just got a new CEO last week, wants to expand overseas and on the West Coast, relaunch a breakfast line that's easier for on-the-go eating, and sell more high-margin snacks and beverages. And early next year, it will introduce new chicken sandwiches.

Just as long as they don't mess with the chili.

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