- Wendy's began serving breakfast nationwide Monday and is giving consumers a free Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit with purchase via its mobile app, according to a press release.
- The breakfast menu also includes a Breakfast Baconator, croissant sandwiches and biscuit breakfast sandwiches, a Frosty-ccino, coffee and seasoned potatoes
- Participating Wendy's restaurants in Florida and South Georgia gave away a breakfast coupon book for free breakfast sandwiches each week for a year to the first 100 drive-thru customers on Monday.
With breakfast expected to drive 10% of Wendy’s sales, the chain has done a lot to make this daypart work. It has invested nearly $20 million toward the launch, heavily marketing the new daypart on social media, trained crews and made sure restaurants are fully staffed. It also plans to spend $70 million to $80 million to promote breakfast, CFO Gunther Plosch said during a February earnings call with investors.
"There is strong customer demand for breakfast at Wendy's, and our franchise system is fully aligned to this launch as we have designed a program that we expect to benefit the overall restaurant economic model," Todd Penegor, Wendy’s president CEO, said during the earnings call. "Our system has been very busy recruiting for the breakfast daypart, and we are excited to report that we are fully staffed and ready for launch."
This also isn't the chain's first try at breakfast, and previous attempts failed. Its attempt in the 1980s was marred by a complicated menu that increased service times. Since then, it has offered breakfast on and off, often causing confusion with customers. During this launch, the chain has made it clear that breakfast is here to stay.
The menu is simplified and easy to execute, which allowed for staff training to go smoothly, Penegor said. It's also scoring high marks among diners who have tried it so far, with a lot of buzz centering on the honey butter chicken sandwich. While managements expects franchisees to become profitable shortly after the launch, it created a fail-safe where franchisees could opt-out of breakfast after a year if it doesn't create sufficient returns.
If the launch continues to go well, it could be problematic for Burger King and McDonald's, which has been increasingly focused on growing the breakfast daypart. Both of these chains heavily promoted their own breakfast offerings on Twitter Monday, with McDonald's launching National Egg McMuffin day to give away free Egg McMuffins. McDonald's expanded its breakfast menu earlier this year to include Chicken McGriddles and McChicken Biscuits while Burger King started testing a Impossible Croissan'wich in January.