[Note: As of March 20, advertising is done but the Bacon & Blue will stay on menus for awhile.]
[The Bacon & Blue was launched nationally on Feb. 22. See update here.]
[July 14 Update: Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch confirmed the test of a Bacon & Blue Burger, which he said is built on a quarter-pound patty. No definitive calorie count is available because topping variations are part of the test, but with bacon and blue cheese, the burger will be "an indulgence," he said.
Additionally, Lynch confirmed that Wendy's has more than a dozen products in test, including burgers, chicken and salads, to "ensure our shelves are full with fully tested products. Some stretch the envelope; some are tried and true and predictable." As for the company's earlier vow to have a new signature burger this fall, Lynch said a new burger might be "improved; maybe not ultimate. We've already improved the bacon, so that's an evolution there." That "signature" also might just be in the toppings rather than the burger, he said. It may not be until 2010 before a new burger is introduced systemwide, he said, "but clearly we're on our way."]
Wendy’s, which promised Wall Street it would introduce a new signature burger this fall, is testing a Bacon & Blue Burger in selected markets. Topped with applewood-smoked bacon and a blue-cheese spread, the burger is priced at $4.29 alone or $5.99 as part of a combo in Greensboro, N.C., one test market. But stores in New England and the Pacific Northwest also are said to be testing the burger.
In May, Wendy’s/Arby’s Group President-CEO Roland C. Smith told analysts during a first-quarter earnings call, “We plan to introduce a new signature hamburger this fall to drive sales and enhance Wendy’s reputation for serving the best hamburger in the QSR business.” The six-bacon-strip Baconator burger, added as a limited-time offering in 2007, was Wendy’s last major burger addition. There’s no certainty that the Bacon Blue Burger is the “signature” product Smith promised, however: It could be one of several new burgers under consideration [Ryan, in his comment below, says Wendy's also is testing a Bacon Deluxe burger]. Wendy’s officials were unavailable for comment on the test.
A new burger with a unique flavor profile is especially important for Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s–the No. 3 U.S. burger chain–with McDonald’s having introduced the third-pound Angus burger line this month. Burger King has added its Steakhouse burgers and a series of LTO burger specialties. And Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s continue to score with bold-flavor additions such as the Teriyaki Six Dollar Burger and the Portobello Mushroom Six Dollar Burger. If it’s a hit, the Bacon & Blue Burger could get Wendy’s back on the burger-wars playing field. No national burger competitor currently offers a blue-cheese-topped burger.
Wendy’s infatuation with applewood-smoked bacon was evident earlier this year when it was added to the chain’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit and Bacon Mornin’ Melt Panini sandwiches as part of its continuing effort to revamp its breakfast menu.
Wendy’s sister-chain, Arby’s, has a Bacon & Bleu Roastburger as part of its new roast-beef sandwich line.