Wendy’s Breakfast Officially Launches Nationwide March 2
Wendy’s announced that breakfast will roll out across its U.S. restaurants March 2. So get ready for Breakfast Baconators, Frosty-ccinos and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits.
The rollout comes with a lot of Twitter branding, with Wendy’s launching a “breakfast battle” and will have some “limited content” in the morning hours, according to a press release. In a statement from Kurt Kane, president and chief commercial officer at Wendy’s, it’s clear the company will lean on quality for messaging around the launch.
"People deserve a delicious, affordable and higher quality breakfast than what they're currently getting," said Kane. "Our crew will be hand-cracking fresh eggs on all our breakfast sandwiches and leaning into the quality ingredients that have long set Wendy's apart from the competition."
Breakfast has been a bit of a headache for the company in the past. Wendy's launched breakfast in some capacity three times before, but none of those efforts were national programs. And both added complexity.
CEO Todd Penegor said the company learned a lot from those programs.
“You never want to hear that, but it is different this time,” said Penegor. “I know there’s a lot of skepticism, people say we’ve failed three times. But we’ve never launched breakfast nationally; this is our first national launch. And we never brought the franchise community along the way we brought them along. We brought in our top 300 owner-operators about a month before our convention, before we announced to the street that we were going into the breakfast daypart.”
Ahead of the national launch, the company held tests in 300 locations. Because the new program utilizes mostly ingredients and equipment Wendy’s already has on hand, there's been limited additional complexity. In all, breakfast adds 18 new items. The company also invested $20 million to help fund the minor equipment updates. Breakfast operations do require some additional staff. That’s no easy task these days, but keeping the dining room closed during breakfast hours allows for limiting of that additional staff.
Penegor said he doesn’t expect a breakfast explosion, though Wall Street seems to like it. Wendy’s is up more than 2 percent on the announcement. This year, however, is an investment year for the company, with breakeven and profit coming later.
“From a profit perspective, we’re going to invest more than we collect in 2020 as an investment year. We expect to be breaking even in 2021 and start looking really good in 2022,” said Penegor, saying it takes time to change that morning routine. “You just have to break the habit a few times a month and you can have a huge business.”
Read more about how breakfast forms one of Penegor’s three pillars of growth for Wendy’s.