[The Bacon & Blue was intro'd nationally on Feb. 22. See update here. It is a limited-time menu option, but we're hearing B&B will stick around awhile!]
There’s more applewood-smoked bacon coming. Wendy’s/Arby’s Group President-CEO Roland Smith this morning told analysts at Cowen & Company’s 8th Annual Consumer Conference that the chain will introduce its Bacon & Blue cheeseburger systemwide this quarter. The chain tested both that burger and the Bacon Deluxe, which it chose as the centerpiece for its “You know when it’s real” campaign. That burger has been a hit, Smith says, so the other test burger, topped with blue cheese and the chain’s new bacon, will join the menu this quarter.
Wendy’s remains committed to establishing itself in the breakfast market, Smith said. A new morning menu goes into test in Kansas City, Mo.; Phoenix and Pittsburgh, and will be quickly expanded to other markets. “Real, Quality, Fresh” is the positioning, Smith said.
Also planned this quarter is a relaunch for Wendy’s panko-crusted Premium Fish Fillet sandwich, which likely will get advertising support when Lent begins on Feb. 17. A rollout of the Fresh Wraps line doesn’t appear to be on the first-quarter agenda. Smith also did not comment on the new natural-cut fries Wendy’s is testing.
Smith was frank in discussing opportunities for Arby’s, saying the brand’s traditional reliance on couponing had taken a hit from Burger King’s heavy couponing for the Double Cheeseburger and other items in the second half. Smith also said Arby’s $5.01 Combo promotion didn’t drive traffic as much as had been hoped and expected. The chain has begun expanding its $1 Value Menu to 2,500 stores this week. Relaunches of Arby’s premium chicken tenders and Market Fresh sandwich and salad line are planned this year.
Noting wide news coverage of Wendy’s recent closing of its stores in Japan, Smith said that was the result of dissatisfaction with its license holder there and not a pullback from international markets. Wendy’s will find a new partner and re-enter Japan. The Wendy’s brand has the potential for 8,000 restaurants outside North America, Smith said.