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Wendy’s has committed $16 million to marketing the breakfast daypart through next year.

Wendy’s taps into popular culture as it hones brand through innovation

From menu innovation to the metaverse, restaurant chain leans into creativity

The Wendy’s Co. has been tapping innovation across the business, from the straightforward — new menu items like reformulated fries and Strawberry Frosty — to the downright futuristic, planting its flag in the metaverse.

“As a brand, we meet our fans where they are in unique, special and different ways, and enter uncharted territories authentically,” said Lindsay Radkoski, vice president of national marketing for the Dublin, Ohio-based company.

“The key to our success at Wendy’s is simple: We know who we are, what we stand for and how to connect with our fans,” Radkoski added. That includes offering breakfast systemwide, which the company rolled out in March 2020 as the pandemic hit.

“We’re continuing to go big in breakfast because we see huge potential in the daypart and have incredible confidence in our menu,” she said. “We’ve quickly gone from a breakfast nobody to a breakfast somebody.”

The company has committed $16 million to marketing the breakfast daypart through next year.

“We are focused on continuing to let fans know that there is a better breakfast out there and helping to change morning routines through our amazing menu,” Radkoski said. “We’ve built a billion-dollar breakfast business and continue to innovate the menu, most recently introducing Homestyle French Toast Sticks.”

Culinary innovation has figured prominently into Wendy’s offerings in other dayparts as well, especially in the “Made to Crave” premium section of its menu. Some of the popular “Made to Crave” offerings have included the Pretzel Bacon Pub Cheeseburger and Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich.

Radkoski said Wendy’s aims to continue founder Dave Thomas’s legacy through new items that are both delicious and affordable — items that push the envelope beyond standard fast-food fare.

“One way we have our fans’ backs is by understanding high quality doesn't have to mean high prices,” Radkoski said. “While we have premium offerings like the Hot Honey Chicken Sandwich, we build in value where it matters. We’ve consistently been there for our customers with our long-running fan-favorite 4 for $4 and $5 Biggie Bag value combo offers, and [we] continually introduce limited time price promotions through the Wendy's digital app.”

In the past year, Wendy’s has also staked real estate in the fledgling metaverse, teaming with Meta’s Horizon Worlds for special company-based platforms.

“Whenever we enter a new platform, it’s always with the intention of genuinely connecting with our fans in a space they’re passionate about,” Radkoski said. “Since we’ve made a name for ourselves in gaming, we knew we could find an authentic reason to enter the metaverse. So we teamed up with creators in Meta's Horizon Worlds to make virtual dreams come true with the grand opening of the Wendyverse.”

The Wendyverse interactive platform now offers three experiences like Spicy Nugg Island. Radkoski said it “takes Wendy’s from the street corner to fans’ living rooms and gives us another opportunity to build relationships, talk about our products and give out offers in an entirely new dimension.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Wendy’s will be honored as the Brand Creator (200+ units) at CREATE: The Future of Foodservice in Denver, taking place Sept. 19-21.

Correction Sept. 22, 2022: This story has been updated with a name correction.

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