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Wendy’s Joins Chicken Test-Market Trend

As beef prices threaten to go even higher, Wendy’s is signaling that the Asiago Ranch Chicken Club sandwich it put on its menu in February isn’t the limit of its chicken intentions. Columbus Business First reports that Wendy’s is testing two new chicken sandwiches in central Ohio. Meanwhile, other sources have spotted additional test items deep in the heart of Texas.

The test items in Columbus are a Bistro Cheddar Chicken sandwich topped with Cheddar and an undefined “bistro sauce” and a Bruschetta Chicken sandwich that sports diced tomatoes, chopped basil and balsamic glaze on top. The paper says that customers can order these (or the Asiago Club) sandwiches with their choice of homestyle (crispy), grilled or spicy chicken.

In the Dallas area (above right), Wendy’s is doing spicy at a budget price. Being tested for 99¢ each are a Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken sandwich and Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger.

Testing new ways to sell chicken sounds like a good idea to every burger chain as beef prices rise. Since last November, McDonald’s has been expanding availability of Jalapeno Cheddar and Cheddar Onion versions of its McChicken sandwich. It also is testing Chicken McBites in Detroit. McDonald’s is readying the return of its Asian Chicken Salad, too.  Jack in The Box recently put its promotional spotlight on its own Spicy Chicken sandwich, and, always contrarians, Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. opted for char-grilled turkey.

There’s still hope for burger lovers, though. Burger King is following its revamped Chicken Tenders with the U.S. rollout of the California Whopper that it has been offering since last summer in Europe. Topped with Swiss cheese, bacon and guacamole, the California Whopper also is offered at the BK Whopper Bars in Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas; New York City; Orlando; and Miami.

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