Thursday, March 3, 2011

Very berry changes in Wendy's menu

The next big surprises on Wendy’s menu: Blueberries and strawberries.

The berries will figure into a new salad and a new Frosty, executives revealed to investors this morning. The salad will take a “100% natural” acai dressing, the officials noted, giving the chain two superfoods in a serving (blueberries being the other).

As previously reported, the new entrée choice will also feature Asiago cheese and a cut-up chicken fillet.

The executives say the new salad and Frosty will be part of a new product flurry that starts later this month with the addition of fish and chips for Lent. In keeping with the chain’s effort to stress quality, they noted that the fish will be North Pacific cod and that the chips will be Wendy’s new skin-on natural fries.

The new Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy cheeseburger line is still slated for a rollout in the second half of the year, they said, but they provided a higher assessment of what the kitchen retrofits for the sandwiches will cost. They were quoted in January as pegging the per-store outlay at $12,500 on average. This morning, they said the cost would run from $13,000 to $23,000.

Those expenses would be in addition to what franchisees would have to spend on new menu boards and equipment for Wendy’s long-awaited breakfast rollout. Roland Smith, the CEO of chain parent Wendy’s/Arby’s Restaurant Group, didn’t quantify that investment, but noted it’d cover the new coffee program that’ll complement the breakfast addition.

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