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Wendy’s debuts W cheeseburger

Offered at $2.99, the sandwich fills a price-point space between value, premium menu items

Wendy’s has added the “W” cheeseburger to its menu, a sandwich with two 2.5-ounce beef patties, two slices of cheese and a signature sauce.

At a suggested price of $2.99, the W fills a space in Wendy’s food offerings between the My 99¢ Everyday Value Menu and the more premium Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburger lineup.

The W also features the upgraded ingredients found in Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy: red onions, hand-leafed lettuce, crinkle-cut pickles, and a buttered and toasted bun.

“With the W, Wendy’s gives cheeseburger lovers an indulgent taste experience at a great price,” said Gerard Lewis, Wendy’s senior vice president of product development. “The W continues our menu evolution, as we offer even more mouthwatering choices bursting with flavor that suit the tastes and budgets of consumers.”

During the brand’s earnings call for the third quarter ended Oct. 2, in which Wendy’s same-store sales rose 1.8 percent at company-owned restaurants and 0.7 percent at franchised locations, president and chief executive Emil Brolick said the W was developed to shift the sales mix away from the value menu, rather than from Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy.

“We’re trying to have a price point at $2.99 that is closer to where some of the My 99¢ or $1.29 products are so we trade people up into those products,” Brolick said during the call. “Believe me, we’re going to continue on an ongoing basis to put some pressure against Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy as we look to next year. As we look back historically, by not putting pressure on some of our core and chicken sandwiches, that contributed to the erosion in some of those products.”

Promoting the W as a higher-quality burger in the middle price tier — in addition to the “Project Gold Hamburger” effort that produced Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy this year and “Project Gold Chicken” scheduled to debut a new chicken sandwich next year — is part of Wendy’s new positioning, which Brolick called “a cut above.”

“There’s a significant opportunity in the [quick-service] marketplace for higher-quality products that are fresh, made-to-order products,” he said during the earnings call.

In the past 15 months, Wendy’s menu has undergone several significant changes, including the introduction of four Garden Sensations Salads, My 99¢, Natural-Cut Fries with Sea Salt and Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy.

The brand announced separately that it would advertise the W on its Twitter feed, offering daily challenges through Nov. 28 and rewarding players with Best Buy gift cards and Southwest Airlines tickets.

Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s operates or franchises more than 6,500 restaurants in the United States and 25 international markets.

Contact Mark Brandau at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN

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