Wendy's eyes menu upgrade


In his first conference call with investors since being named chief executive of The Wendy’s Co., Emil Brolick discussed menu news, from the successful launch of Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger to ongoing testing of the brand’s breakfast platform.

Brolick also announced the introduction later this month of the W sandwich, an offering with two 2.5-ounce burger patties and premium ingredients from the Dave’s burger, but at a $2.99 price point between the newly launched item and burgers offered on the 99-cent My 99 Everyday Value Menu.

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In previous earnings calls, Wendy’s management had said the test of Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger drove same-store sales increases 2 percent to 3 percent above the rest of the system’s results. Brolick told investors that results for the fourth quarter are trending “well above that,” and said the brand had its best five-week sales period since 2004. The sandwich went systemwide in late September, but momentum carried through the Oct. 2 close of the third quarter and into the start of the fourth quarter.

“The thing we feel we’ve done with the launch of Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy is refocusing on core items,” Brolick said. “What’s really gotten us back into the business is selling large hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and salads as a balance with our My 99 value menu. We probably went through a time as a brand where that [balance] got a little out of whack, so we feel really good about the momentum we can sustain.”