Why is Wendy's killing the pretzel bun?

The company nixes one of its most popular promotions in favor of brioche -- a bread so unfamiliar to Americans that the chain made an ad showing how to pronounce it.

By InvestorPlace Nov 27, 2013 12:39PM

Wendy's Co. sign outside of a restaurant in Daly City, Calif. (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)By William White

Wendy's (WEN) has given its pretzel bun -- one of the fast-food chain's best-selling, limited-time offers -- the axe.

Wendy's placed a lot of hype around its pretzel bun sandwiches following their July launch, and even extended the offer to its chicken sandwiches after its initial promotion ended. So why is the chain killing off one of its best products?

According to Wendy's spokesman Denny Lynch, the chain is nixing the pretzel bun because adding more items means adding more inventory, Businessweek reports. And Wendy's newest item apparently is so important that it warranted offing the pretzel bun.

That new item? A brioche bun.

For those unfamiliar with the brioche -- and given Wendy's commercial dedicated solely to nailing down the pronunciation, it's likely there are a few of us -- Baking Bites breaks it down:

"Brioche is a type of bread that comes up often in recipes, particularly recipes for bread pudding and french toast where you might want to add some extra richness to the finished product. But what sets brioche apart from, say, regular sandwich bread? Brioche is an enriched French bread, meaning that the dough contains a high proportion of fat in it."

But is a brioche really worth ending one of the chain's best promotions? Well, maybe, maybe not, but the question assumes the curtain has permanently fallen on the pretzel bun, and that might not be the case.

It's entirely possible that Wendy's is giving its pretzel bun the same treatment that McDonald's (MCD) gives its McRib: a limited appearance at least once a year. Fast-food promotions like the McRib, Shamrock Shake and others usually provide short bursts of renewed interest in the rest of a chain's offerings as well. So while it might not make sense to have pretzel buns around all year, Wendy's could benefit from an annual cameo.

Even if that always leaves us wanting more.

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