Sunday, October 3, 2010

What Wendy's has learned about salads

Wendy’s held a virtual press conference last week to underscore the health benefits of its new mix-and-match menu program, Pick 2. As far as I know it was the first time a restaurant giant has held a communications event expressly for bloggers.

The resurging burger chain clearly hoped we’d pass along information about the new $4.99 deal to prospective customers. But in explaining the offer, executives divulged information that should be of interest to any restaurateur who wants to appease salad-hunting patrons.

When Wendy’s decided to revamp its salads, it discussed the prospects with consumers, explained communications director Kitty Munger. They told the chain that there are a few things that bug them about a bowl of greens.

For instance, they don’t like the lettuce in their salads to be wet. As a result, said Munger, Wendy’s has outfitted every unit with a salad spinner.

Patrons also stressed they don’t like gnawing on big hunks of lettuce or ingredients. They want the components of a salad to be cut into smaller, bite-sized pieces. Wendy’s is obliging them, Munger said, by providing everything in its new salad line in fork-able pieces.

The feedback revealed that Wendy’s targeted customers want additional textures in their salad, particularly croutons and pieces of tortilla. Wendy’s has obliged them.

Finally, Munger recounted, Wendy’s learned that consumers want what she termed “flavor excitement.” She explained that Wendy’s tried to be a little adventurous with the new salad line by using ingredients like cayenne pepper and pecans kicked up with sea salt.

As I’ve noted in an earlier post, I’ve tried the new salads. They’re a true advance for fast food. Little did I know how much research had gone into the line.

1 comment:

QueenoftheFall said...

I might have to give their salads another go. The last few salads (more than 4 years ago) were soggy & pretty icky. I think the salad spinners might be a good idea. Fresh, not wilted lettuce would be the best improvement they could make