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Wendy's to launch mix-and-match salad promo

Deal targets much-used $5 price point

Wendy’s is set to debut a new mix-and-match promotion offering customers a half-sized portion of one of the chain’s new premium salads paired with one of seven designated items for $4.99.

The program, called Pick 2, will debut nationally Sept. 27, and will target consumers who are looking for both quality and value, chief marketing officer Ken Calwell told Nation’s Restaurant News.

“Wendy’s really believes it needs to offer premium items that are all about the freshness and the quality of the food,” Calwell said. “There is a certain group of consumers who will pay a little extra for it. But there also is a second group that is looking for value. We say it’s important to talk to both of those groups.”

Calwell said the quick-service chain, a division of the Atlanta-based Wendy’s/Arby’s Group Inc., had planned to introduce the Pick 2 program after it debuted its Garden Sensations premium salad line in July at a $5.99 price point.

The $5 price point has been heavily used in the restaurant industry, from Subway's footlong sandwich to experiments with the price point at T.G.I. Friday's, KFC and Quiznos. Wendy's even announced the news of its new $4.99 meal deal, by saying: "Finally – fans of the $5 meal deal can have their pick."

Since the four new salads were launched, Calwell said, the chain has seen "a significant increase in salads sold, effectively doubling our volume compared to a year ago.”

By pairing a half-salad with one of seven items on the Wendy’s menu, consumers can choose from up to 28 possible combinations, Calwell said. The salads — which include Apple Pecan Chicken, Baja, Spicy Chicken Caesar, and Cobb — can be paired with a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, chili, baked potato, and chicken wrap sandwiches.

Drink options also include bottled water or a small Frosty chocolate shake.

The program was tested over a four-month period in Columbus, Ohio, and Nashville, Tenn., and generated positive consumer response, Calwell added. “What we heard the most was that it balances the meal and gives more choice.”

“We see salad lovers in two groups,” he said. “Those who primarily go out and say, ‘I want salad and I want it to be the whole meal’ — that’s roughly half the market. But the other half doesn’t want to commit to having a salad for the whole meal. They come to us because they like our hamburgers or chicken sandwiches and chili. They’re looking at salad as a complement.”

Calwell said the mix-and-match program did not negatively affect sales of the full-sized salad offerings in its test markets. Rather, he said, it increased check averages.

“The good news is because we tested it in Nashville and Columbus, a number of company stores and franchisees were involved,” he said. “What we generally saw was a lift in overall sales and guest checks.”

Contact Elissa Elan at [email protected].

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