Although the new Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy Cheeseburgers won’t be in Wendy’s restaurants nationwide until Oct. 3, the chain this week began online marketing for the line, including unveiling a new TV commercial for what may be its most important menu introduction in years.
Wendy’s began testing the new 40% thicker burgers in Las Vegas last November. Supporting the test then was a TV commercial featuring Wendy Thomas, daughter of the chain’s late founder, Dave Thomas, in whose honor the burger line was created. But the chain hadn’t said whether Wendy would retain the spokesperson role nationally. But she again introduces the line in a new commercial (from agency Kaplan Thaler Group) for the rollout that Wendy’s has posted on its site.
Former CEO Roland Smith called the Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy Cheeseburgers the chain’s “most important product introduction” in a 2011 Q2 earnings call with analysts in August. “In the markets where we have tested this new cheeseburger line, we’ve seen a 2% to 3% increase in same-store sales that we believe is attributable to an increase in premium hamburger sales,” Smith said. That would mean a $28,000 to $42,000 increase in per-unit sales (which average $1.4 million). That would cover the $20,000 investment per-unit in new toasters (for the toasted, buttered buns) and grill enhancements required for the Dave’s rollout.
In Las Vegas, the Dave’s burgers are menu priced at $2.99 for the 1/4-lb. single (580 calories), $4.99 for the 1/2-lb. double (810 calories). Combo meals range from $5.59 to $6.69.
In Canada, meanwhile, Wendy’s has introduced Chili Cheese Nachos, a first for the chain.