Wendy’s is finally betting big on breakfast.
After years as the lone major fast-food chain without a national breakfast menu, the company announced on Monday it will debut revamped morning offerings in all US restaurants in 2020. The expanded menu will cost the company an estimated $20 million as well as open up an additional 20,000 jobs to accomodate longer hours.
The updated menu includes three new breakfast items:
- The Honey Butter Chicken Sandwich: Fried chicken and whipped honey butter on a biscuit.
- The Breakfast Baconator: An egg, six strips of Applewood smoked bacon, a breakfast sausage patty, two slices of American cheese, and swiss cheese hollandaise sauce on a bun.
- The Frosty-ccino: Cold-brew coffee mixed with either chocolate or vanilla Frosty cream.
“Launching breakfast in our US restaurants nationwide provides incredible growth opportunities,” Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said in a statement. “We are well-positioned to pursue it. We believe we have the right team and structure in place, and we put Wendy’s fan favorites on our breakfast menu to set us apart from the competition.”
Though some Wendy’s enthusiasts took to Twitter to share excitement over the expanded menu, investors have a less optimistic disposition. Wendy’s shares fell dramatically on Tuesday following the company’s lowered profit expectations for the year.
Peter Saleh, BTIG’s managing director and restaurants analyst, expressed skepticism over the effort and its capacity to help drive the bottom line.
“While breakfast remains a major hole in the concept’s offering, we believe this launch could prove to be an uphill battle much like the previous attempt,” he wrote. “General consensus was the habitual nature of breakfast made it hard to break in and uncertain cannibalization left franchisees hesitant to adopt.”
Wendy’s has trialed breakfast menu items several times over the course of the past decade, including a 2010 plan to launch in 1,000 test markets that eventually petered out. In 2014, then-CEO Emil Brolick maintained that the chain would not push into breakfast in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
“We have tested breakfast many times over the years and we feel, as virtually the only large national chain that hasn’t gotten into breakfast, it’s very difficult to enter that space today and commit the kind of marketing resources that we feel would be necessary to really entrench ourselves successfully,” Brolick said at the time.
Wendy’s breakfast is currently available in 300 test markets and will be fully available nationwide in the coming year.
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