Wendy's (WEN) - Get Free Report has quietly become the number two hamburger chain in the United States. That's incredibly impressive given that Restaurant Brands International's (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King has fought with McDonald's (MCD) - Get Free Report for decades.
Imagine if Royal Crown Cola snuck in and actually passed Pepsi to become number two to Coca-Cola or Ace Hardware finding a way to pass Lowe's LOW and Home Depot (HD) - Get Free Report. What Wendy's has accomplished is impressive and it reached these heights with a simple formula.
Wendy's built its menu around its "fresh, never frozen" hamburger patties. The chain has made that promise the core of its menu, but in recent years it has evolved around that, becoming a very innovative chain. Wendy's does not make endless changes to its menu as Burger King does. Instead, it has added a few major innovations like the Baconator and rotated some other limited-time-offers (LTOs) in and out.
The chain has also been willing to take things off the menu that customers love in order to be able to offer them something new. That's what it did in the U.S. when it dropped the Vanilla Frosty in favor of the Strawberry Frosty.
Wendy's Frosty machine only allows it to make two flavors at once. That means to offer something new it has to get rid of either Vanilla or the original Chocolate Frosty. Now, the fast-food leader is nearing the end of the Strawberry Frosty promotion (it was promoted as a summer offer), and something the chain's offering in Canada may hint at what's next.
Wendy's Adds a New Frosty Flavor
While the Chocolate Frosty will likely never leave Wendy's menu, the chain has shown that it will take the vanilla version away. In Canada, the company has done exactly that in order to add a fall-specific flavor, the Caramel Apple Frosty, Brand Eating reported.
"Wendy's Caramel Apple Frosty takes the Vanilla Frosty, mixes it with tart apple syrup, and then tops it with a drizzle of caramel," the website reported. "...While Wendy's has yet to offer the Caramel Apple Frosty here in the U.S., they did once offer a Caramel Apple Frosty Parfait over 10 years ago. It was a layered dessert of caramel and Vanilla Frosty, topped with brown sugar granola, fresh red and green apple slices, and more caramel."
The biggest surprise here may be that the chain has opted for Caramel Apple as its fall flavor rather than becoming the latest chain to offer something using pumpkin spice flavoring.
Caramel Apple Frosty Could Head to the U.S.
The success of the Strawberry Frosty makes it logical for the chain to consider adding more new flavors of its classic dessert. CEO Todd Penegor commented on the successful promotion during his company's second-quarter earnings call.
"Strawberry Frosty was an instant runaway success that drove year-over-year customer count growth as we exited the quarter," he said.
Penegor explained that the Strawberry Frosty was part of a broader menu plan that also included value offerings.
"So when you think about the construct of our calendar with four for $4 and $5 Biggie Bag and some news on the top end, some great news around things like Strawberry Frosty and French Fries as attachments, those give us confidence that we have a menu construct that can connect to that consumer and we can continue to build on that momentum," he added.
Wendy's has not commented on whether the Caramel Apple Frosty will make its way to the U.S. It's possible that how it's received in Canada will inform that decision.