Wendy’s Begins Serving Breakfast Nationwide in Bid to Boost Sales

Fast-food chain projects morning offerings to increase bottom line by 6% to 8%

wendy's breakfast menu items
Among the new morning options at Wendy's are the Breakfast Baconator sandwich. Wendy's
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At Wendy’s, the Baconator will no longer only refer to its signature hamburger: Starting today, the moniker will also apply to a new breakfast sandwich.

The fast-food chain, famous for the aforementioned bacon cheeseburgers, is counting on the introduction of breakfast nationwide to increase system-wide sales by 6% to 8% this year, or $650 million to $870 million.

It’s a huge undertaking by the burger chain that has been two years in the making, CMO Carl Loredo told Adweek. Of the company’s 5,850 restaurants in the U.S., all but 80 will be serving up breakfast. Wendy’s has been “working hand-in-hand with its franchise community,” Loredo said, to ensure the breakfast launch is profitable early on.

The fast-food chain has made attempts at adding breakfast to its menu before, but failed due to lack of scale and high costs.

However, the move into mornings is necessary because breakfast is the only part of the day that is growing, with plenty of room for expansion: Only 13% of morning meals are purchased at a restaurant, according to 2019 data from research and analytics firm NPD Group.

To get the message out, Wendy’s is spending between $70 million and $80 million to promote its new breakfast offerings, with a campaign that focuses on fresh ingredients, namely fresh-cracked eggs and smoked Applewood bacon, according to Loredo.

“As we thought about the campaign, we started with food [and] why it’s different,” he explained. “It’s the heart of the storyline.”

In particular, Wendy’s is utilizing the power of social media, including Twitter, which it has successfully deployed in the past with the relaunch of its spicy chicken nuggets. The company took its Twitter account “private” last Wednesday to give its 3.6 million existing followers exclusive access to the chain’s content. That included a coupon for a free Breakfast Baconator with any $5 purchase from delivery service DoorDash.

Wendy’s is also giving customers a free Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit sandwich with any purchase made through the company’s mobile app through April 6.

These promotions are in addition to the one-time investment totaling $20 million in 2019 for the purchase of menu boards and a national recruitment campaign.

The creative agencies Wendy’s is working with include VMLY&R, Spark Foundry, The Marketing Arm and Saatchi X, as well as public relations firm Ketchum.

The advertising also taps into its existing marketing around the Baconator, expanding the brand recognition into breakfast. Meanwhile, some of the other new breakfast items being introduced, notably the Frosty-ccino, will also be served throughout the day. The half Frosty, half cold brew coffee has half the fat and calories of a Starbucks Frappucino, according to CEO Todd Penegor.

“So if you think about taking some of our signature products and turning them into great craveable items in the morning daypart, The Breakfast Baconator is to die for, a great opportunity for folks to come in and experience our food on that front,” Penegor said during the company’s most recent earnings call.

Loredo said the company’s goal was to create “craveable” products that were not only easy to create, but also something crews would be excited about making. Other items include breakfast versions of the chicken sandwich, including the Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.

@RichCollings richard.collings@adweek.com Richard Collings is a retail reporter at Adweek.