Next month, Wendy’s will reintroduce its popular Bacon-Pretzel Cheese Burger and Pretzel Pub Chicken dishes, with a twist: Sandwiches could be back on the menu permanently.
A day before Wednesday’s announcement that Wendy’s would be looking to repeat last year’s success with pretzel buns, Managing Director Emil Brolick reportedly said: “Time will tell”, when asked if the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger and his Chicken Sandwich would be back to stay.
Both sandwiches are expected to be available system-wide by the weekend of July 4, the Dublin, Ohio-based operator said. In 2013, Wendy’s led to a third quarter same-store sales increase of 3.2% in company-owned stores and 3.1% in franchise units following the July launch of Bretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.
Nation’s Restaurant News presented Wendy’s with a 2014 MenuMasters Award for Best Limited Time Offer to honor not only the sandwich’s ability to drive sales but also lead a menu trend in the restaurant industry that has adopted more upscale bread choice including and most importantly pretzel buns.
Wendy’s followed up on this limited-time offer with the Bretzel Pub Chicken sandwich in October, which helped increase fourth-quarter same-store sales of 3.1% in company-owned restaurants and 2.8% in franchised units.
In a statement, marketing director Craig Bahner said Wendy’s cut pretzel sandwiches last year to make way for other high-end burgers on high-end bread – including Bacon Portabella Melt on bun. and the Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger – “but consumers have made it clear that we can’t say goodbye to the pretzel forever.
Bahner’s comment referred to the buzz generated on social media when Wendy’s discontinued the LTO product. In fact, the social media outcry for the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger after Wendy’s extended its original limited duration, but then let it off the menu, has gone viral.
“The pretzel bread was the cornerstone of our menu innovation last year,” said Bahner, “and we’re bringing it back to delight consumers who love that special taste of Wendy’s. “
The brand would also allow customers to turn the bun from any standard burger into a pretzel bun for an additional charge of 30 cents. New ads featuring its “Red” spokesperson are expected to start airing ahead of the early July relaunch of pretzel sandwiches.
Wendy’s previous social media efforts for menu items included “Pretzel Love Songs,” a fan engagement campaign that collected Facebook comments and tweets from Bretzel Bacon Cheeseburger lovers and compiled them into songs from Cheesy Love sung by 90s music icon Nick Lachey. The campaign reached more than 85 million people on Facebook, the social network revealed.
A separate analysis of NRN’s Social 200 Index found that Wendy’s repeated the tactic successfully with its Video series “L’Estrella de la Toscana”, who converted Facebook comments and tweets into captions for a fake Italian movie the brand made to promote the Tuscan chicken sandwich on Ciabatta.
Wendy’s operates or franchises more than 6,500 restaurants in the United States and 28 foreign markets.
Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].
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