Wendy's bets on its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger

One analyst says the new sandwich was one of the chain's top-selling test items in decades. The company sure is hungry for a hit.

By Jonathan Berr May 29, 2013 12:44PM
File photo of a Wendy's sign (© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Wendy's (WEN), whose food is preferred by consumers over that of McDonald's (MCD) and Burger King (BKW), may have a winner with its new Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, according to Nation's Restaurant News.

In tests earlier this year, the sandwich was one of the company's best-selling limited-time offerings in 20 years, according to a note that NRN quotes from Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski. He raised his rating on Wendy's stock to "buy" from "neutral" as a result, arguing that the product could provide "meaningful acceleration" in same-store sales. That's a key retail and restaurant metric that tracks sales in locations open a year or more.

The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger may be launched nationally sometime this year, NRN quotes Kalinowski as saying. Officials from Wendy's declined to comment to MSN Money, saying only that the company doesn't discuss test products.

Wendy's has been trying to market itself as a higher-quality alternative to its fast-food rivals  and has invested heavily in remodeling its restaurants. The results have been mixed so far.

Earlier this month, Wendy's reported first-quarter profits that met Wall Street's low expectations. Same-store sales rose 1% at company-owned stores and gained 0.6% at franchised locations.

Technomic executive vice president Darren Tristano is skeptical that one sandwich can make such a big difference to Wendy's bottom line. He told NRN, "My immediate reaction would be don't bet on the bun."

Jonathan Berr owns a small position in McDonald's. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.


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38Comments
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I tried it here in N.E. Ohio twice about 2 months ago. I'll be honest and admit I don't like fast food burgers as a rule (though Wendy's are pretty good). THIS on the other hand changed everything. That Pretzel Roll to me was Fantastic and the other day I was just wishing that they still had it. First time was a Bacon Double and the second was a Baconator. Now they taste more like a great tavern burger (to me anyway) than fast food  and I won't hesitate to buy one......or 5 :)  I still prefer mine at home cooked over Hickory Charcoal but Wendy's Pretzel Burger is nothing to cry about and it is good with their homestyle fries in sea salt or a bowl of chili and side salad

May 29, 2013 2:14PM
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Wendy's shot itself in the foot when they changed its standard sandwiches and made them all smaller by 1/3 and left the prices the same. I would hit Wendys every week before that and now I stop by twice a year or so. Go back to what made you great, go back to the full sized burgers and stop being so cheap.
May 29, 2013 3:17PM
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Dave Thomas had a great formula and burger joint.....some group buys Arby's....same group buys Wendy's, then dumps Arby's ....then screws with my favorite burgers.....can't stand the new ones.....they don't taste good and are stupidly overpriced.
May 29, 2013 2:06PM
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They had this at Steak & Shake for a while. Very tasty.
May 29, 2013 3:52PM
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In PA we have Sheetz, gas/convenience/fast food store. They have a pretzel burger and they are awesome. So I would think Wendys having this would be good for the company and the fast food junkies like myself. I would certainly buy it.
May 30, 2013 9:40AM
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Pretzel rolls are the hot thing right now. If our Wendy's had that burger I would go there in  a New York minute!
May 29, 2013 3:08PM
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Pretzel Bacon Cheese Burger. All of the healthy things in life.
May 30, 2013 3:23PM
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YES!! That second comment nailed it for me! I knew it was going to be on a pretzel bun. Definitely on my list of things to try. Worked at a resort out west and one of the bakers made pretzel rolls for dinner one night a week for our guests. They were stuffed with cheese and extremely addicting. Especially right out of the oven!!!!!!! YUM!
May 29, 2013 10:38PM
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For a slightly higher-end version, Red Robin had a pretzel burger for Octoberfest... and RR's topped their burger with black forest ham, swiss cheese, bacon, and beer mustard onions. 

 

I don't like onions or mustard so I can't say if that part was any good, but the rest was a yummy try-it-once, or even once-a-year (during Octoberfest), treat.

May 30, 2013 8:12AM
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first time I've heard of it and I'll eat one for sure. 
May 30, 2013 9:53PM
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WHAT?!?!?!? Sign me up....I'll be 400 lbs. in no time.

May 30, 2013 10:55PM
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a pretzel burger hell yea  .... a pretzel hotdog or braughtworst is awesome to
May 30, 2013 10:15PM
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i've had this burger a few times. it really depends on which store and who was making it if its going to be a thumbs up or not. out of all the ones i had, probably 5-6, only one was fantastic, all the others were only average.

 

May 30, 2013 3:37PM
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This was a great idea when Red Robin did it years ago.
May 30, 2013 7:45PM
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Just got back from my 1st visit to Europe and was marveling at the fact that the rolls used on the sandwiches were soooo good, and really  made the sandwiches so much better, Pretzel rolls in Germany were great! I already really like the fries that they changed over to a couple of yrs. ago
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