- Wendy's digital sales in the U.S. made up 5% of domestic sales compared to 2.5% for 2019, according to an earnings release.
- The fast food chain added Uber Eats to its delivery partnerships and consumers can now order Wendy's from all of the major delivery providers in the U.S., Todd Penegor, Wendy's president and CEO, said during its earnings call Wednesday.
- A majority of the Q2 digital sales mix is coming from the chain's delivery business, Gunther Plosch, Wendy's CFO, said during the call.
Digital sales have been a bright spot across the QSR segment, with Chipotle, Wingstop and Domino's among the chains to grow this channel during the second quarter as more people used mobile apps or third-party platforms to order takeout and delivery while staying at home.
Wendy's was a little late to the digital game, investing heavily in growing its delivery footprint and creating more POS integration and in-app ordering for delivery beginning late last year, but it is certainly paying off. Along with breakfast, this channel helped the chain improve same-stores sales through the last few months, going from negative growth to an increase of 8.2% in July, according to an earnings release.
While delivery made up a majority of its digital sales mix, the company expects the share of mobile ordering to increase with its loyalty program, which launched in July, Plosch said. Wendy's expects to drive more awareness of the loyalty program, which customers can use no matter how they order, by marketing it on its product packaging as well, Penegor said.
"We believe this program will drive our digital penetration even higher moving forward," Penegor said. "We also continue to work on initiatives such as mobile grab-and-go and curbside pickup as we know that a frictionless experience is what consumers will demand as they move forward in a post-COVID world."
Both mobile ordering and delivery channels have been profitable for Wendy's with above average checks, and are not burdened with any costs to fulfill the orders, Plosch said.
"Right now the fast food space is faced with numerous challenges from take-out only options to an increase in mobile orders due to stay-at-home orders, Wendy's has adapted to this," AJ Stocker, vice president of strategic consulting at Kobie, told Restaurant Dive in an email. Kobie is a loyalty marketing company.
"Its new program paired with the company’s increased digital efforts offers customers a straightforward way to interact with its brand while providing them the flexibility of being rewarded for simple purchases that can be redeemed throughout the full year," Stocker said. "As long as Wendy's remains innovative to meet the evolving emotional needs of its customer base, it will remain a disruptor now and beyond the pandemic."