The Wendy’s Co. has introduced a Grilled Chicken Ranch Wrap among its spring menu items that it expects will appeal to post-pandemic patrons and their desire for a moveable feast, an executive said.
“Our consumers are increasingly more on-the-go following the pandemic, and this wrap provides that portability that our customers are craving,” said John Li, vice president of culinary innovation at the Dublin, Ohio-based restaurant chain. The brand also introduced a new Blueberry Pomegranate Lemonade and a Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad.
Wendy’s newest wrap reflects a trend in the restaurant industry: New offerings appeal to customers increasingly on the move after the COVID-19 shutdowns of March 2020.
Seattle, Wash.-based MOD Pizza introduced several versions of its pocket pie, a folded version of its pizzas. The permanent items include Italiano Pocket Pie with white sauce, pepperoni, salami, roasted red peppers, tomatoes that is baked and then topped with basil, arugula and red sauce, scored and then folded. Other versions include a Chicken Bacon Ranch Pocket Pie and a Four Cheese Pocket Pie.
KFC, a division of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum Brands Inc., in February introduce its Kentucky Fried Chicken Wrap.
KFC had been testing wraps since early October in select Atlanta locations and a spokesperson for the brand said customer feedback in the market was “overwhelmingly positive.”
Nick Chavez, KFC’s chief marketing officer, said in an interview that the wraps were part of the brand’s broader strategy to expand its audience beyond the typical quick-service restaurant demographic.
“I think it’s fair to say that our core customer, the customer who comes to KFC most frequently, is older than the average QSR customer and that’s great, we love them and want to continue to serve them,” Chavez said. “And we need to bring in new audiences and invite new generations of customers to discover KFC.”
During a virtual Wendy’s menu background event last week, Emily Kessler, the brand’s manager of culinary innovation, said ranch dressing remains a customer fan flavor.
“Ranch is a favorite among our customers, so we searched far and wide to find that perfect balance between buttermilk and savory herbs to deliver the best ranch possible in the business,” Kessler said.
Li noted that ranch always ranked high in consumer surveys, so the brand wanted to tap into that preference.
Wendy's, founded in 1969, has about 7,000 restaurants worldwide.
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