Wendy’s wins COVID-19 era chicken breakfast war

Wendy’s breakfast – introduced earlier this year – generated major revenue for the brand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Tom Dubanowich
Tom Dubanowich

Wendy’s breakfast – introduced earlier this year – generated major revenue for the brand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Same-store sales for the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain fell 14.1% in April but showed a 5.1% and 8.2% growth in June and July. Breakfast represented 8% of systemwide sales in July.

The brand plans to capitalize on the interest in breakfast throughout the second half of the year.

“We plan to market breakfast in a big way in the back half of the year as more people fall into their daily routines,” CEO Todd Penegor said during the company’s second-quarter earnings call earlier this month. The brand plans to launch a $15 million marketing campaign “to further accelerate our breakfast menu.”

The Wendy’s breakfast menu includes croissant and biscuit sandwiches made with fried chicken, bacon, eggs and sausage.

“We said that we were going to bring America the breakfast it deserved, and we have delivered on that promise with extremely high customer satisfaction as seen through our operational metrics,” Penegor said. “As mobility improves, coupled with our incremental investment in marketing, we believe that this business has a ton of upside moving forward.”

Breakfast hardest hit

QSR breakfast has been one of the hardest hit foodservice segments. As a result of the pandemic, commuters – who would ordinarily pick up breakfast on their way to work or school – now prepare food at home.

“When stay-at-home orders became widespread, breakfast was the restaurant meal most easily converted back to the home. Throughout NPD’s tracking of the impact of COVID-19 on the restaurant industry, the morning meal, which represents a breakfast or morning snack occasion, has suffered the steepest transaction declines,” reported the NPD Group.

“Morning meal customer transactions at major restaurant chains fell by -18% in the week ending June 7 compared to same week year ago. Lunch transactions declined by -11% in the week compared to same week year ago and customer transactions were down -12% at dinner.”

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

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