Reading Emil Brolick’s plan to revitalize Wendy’s, I kept getting my chains confused. The strategy has been code-named Recipe to Win, which sounds conspicuously to me like McDonald’s Plan to Win.
Ditto for Recipe to Win’s Six P’s component, which calls for an intense focus on people, product, price, promotion, place and performance. It’s just one P more than McDonald’s five P’s, a cornerstone of the Plan to Win (performance is the only P missing from McD’s pod.)
I’m a big fan of Brolick’s and the work he did for Yum! Brands and, in an earlier stint, Wendy’s. But it sounds as if he’s liberally borrowing at least the rubric from the Golden Arches playbook. Granted, Big Mac’s battle plan has been inarguably the most successful restaurant-company strategy of the last decade. Still, you have to wonder if the ultimate mass feeder and a much smaller brand, claiming product superiority, can truly share the same scheme for besting the other.
It wasn’t a surprise, given the attention Wendy’s is devoting to McDonald’s, that Brolick’s charge will all but challenge the bigger burgermeister in ads that air this month. Commercials will focus on Wendy’s premium sandwiches in what Brolick likened to the “Apple vs. PC” commercials the former aired to great success.
“The spot is much more directly competitive against the Big Mac. Now it never mentioned the Big Mac by name, but it's pretty obvious of what we're talking about,” he said.
Among the other tidbits that were revealed during Wendy’s conference call with financial analysts (as reported in a SeekingAlpha.com transcript):
--Each Wendy’s remodel will cost $750,000 to $850,000, with a forecast 15% return on investment, Brolick said. He noted that 10 test sites were given a facelift last year, and 50 will be updated in 2012.
--What may be the industry’s longest-ever menu test, Wendy’s trial run of breakfast, will be expanded to a Northeastern market this year for more learning, Brolick said. He didn’t reveal the market, but noted that the Northeast is one of the nation’s most intense battlegrounds for morning customers.