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Monday Meeting: Wendy’s Lights a Firecracker

[So where's the Firecracker Asian menu? Patience. It's rolling out.]
Ξ
Wendy’s on Monday (Aug. 22) is expected to introduce a new line under the Firecracker Asian name, according to operators. All of the items include, yes, chicken, as well as won ton strips and teriyaki sauce/dressing. 

At the value-price end there’s a Firecracker Asian Wrap at about $2.99, plus a full-size Firecracker Asian Salad at a premium-price $6.29 and a half salad at $4.29.

Wendy’s has been nosing around wraps for a while, trying to find the right combination. It tested Baja Chicken and Smokehouse Fresh Wraps in late 2009. The Fresh Wrap brand ultimately appeared on its Canadian menu as BLT, Spicy Chicken BLT and Pico Grilled Chicken Fresh Wraps. Recently it added a Crispy Chicken Caesar Wrap to its 99¢ value menu. 

Ξ More interesting than Burger King’s choice of the California Whopper (which has been on the menus at its Whopper Bars for a year) for an LTO to herald its brand “refreshening” this week is the chain’s bravery at pricing it at $4.49 (higher in some franchise markets). That breaks the supposed $4 price ceiling for quick-service restaurants that Burger King chose not to cross when it unveiled the BK Stuffed Steakhouse at $3.99 in January. Combo-meal prices for the California Whopper can be as high as $6.79.

Recognizing the relatively high price, Burger King also offers a California Whopper Jr. version for just $2.19. 

The California Whopper is introduced with the first TV creative from new ad agency McGarryBowen, New York City (see video below).

If you wonder how different the new agency’s approach is from that of previous shop Crispin Porter + Bogusky, watch this odd, angst-ridden TV spot for the California Whopper’s debut in Germany last year.

 Ξ McDonald’s continues its strategy of emphasizing how long its brand has been around in order to stress the longstanding relationship it has with consumers around the world. In Australia, McDonald’s celebrates its 40th anniversary there by bringing back the McFeast burger first offered in the 1980s. Additionally, any fries order with a value meal can be upgraded to “Shaker Fries” (with a small bag of seasoning) for free. A TV spot from DDB Sydney for the McFeast  invites consumers to “Relive the tastes of another era.” Wait. The ’80s were another era?

McDonald’s has trumpeted its history recently with the 1967 Burger in Quebec and the 1955 Burger across Europe.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s has new competition in Australia as KFC has introduced two Signature Range chicken burgers, both created by celebrity chef and TV personality Darren Simpson (best known for his La Scala on Jersey restaurant). The Smoked Bacon and Parmesan chicken burger (KFC marketing materials call the sandwiches ”burgers”) and Sweet BBQ and Caramelised Onion burger are LTOs, priced at AUS $6.95 (US $7.24).

Marketing for the chicken burgers claims “KFC’s all cheffed up” but Chef Simpson has come under fire from other Australian chefs for working with KFC, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

“People are quick to label fast food as junk, so it’s a bit odd there is now criticism of a real effort to improve the quality of it. I’m pleased to be the first chef to get on board to try to do that. As far as I’m concerned, that is a positive thing,” Simpson told the newspaper.

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