Wendy’s Sees Window of Opportunity In Drive-Up Service, Low-Calorie Meals

CHICAGO – Wendy’s Intl. founder and senior chairman Dave Thomas said the key to his company’s future is through what he calls the ‘million-dollar’ drive-up windows, and said future advertising through Backer Spielvogel Bates/N.Y. will play an important role in his plans to beef up his drive-thru sales.
Thomas wants the drive-up windows of his 3,800 stores to do ‘$1-million worth of business.’ He said consumers are demanding quicker service, and that the company is working with its sales promotion agency, Impact, to improve the drive-up process.
‘Our business is 24 hours a day,’ Thomas said after a Chicago Ad Fed luncheon last week. ‘Where I see we can do more value, we’ll do it. People want to get in and get out. The industry is leaning toward this service. It all goes back to giving the customer value.’
Thomas said that roughly 50% of Wendy’s systemwide sales come from the drive-thru window. Yet all of the big fast-food outlets have had a tough time perfecting the operation. Problems ranging from packaging and long car lines as well as impersonal squawk boxes have plagued the industry for years.
Thomas said Wendy’s has begun an ambitious program to update some of the drive-through features, with signage and updated computer ordering systems. He said that Foote, Cone & Belding’s sales division arm, Impact, is working on the drive-through program.
Meanwhile, Thomas said the company will continue to focus on its dinner menu and will add roughly 350 restaurants in 1993. He also said new products will focus on ‘more healthy’ items in the coming months. This summer, the chain is expected to offer low-calorie and low-fat salad dressings and launch a turkey sandwich. He said the advertising will focus on the nutritional benefits of the healthy meals.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)