Wendy's offers health nuts half salads

If you're looking to eat your veggies but not chow down on a mammoth pile of greens, smaller and cheaper portions are for you.

By InvestorPlace Sep 15, 2010 2:05PM

In a move that doubles as a healthful menu addition and a gain for thrifty consumers, Wendy's (WEN) is adding half-size versions of its new premium salads, luring customers looking to spend less in a tough economy.

 

By the end of the month, the new half salads will be available in  premium select versions such as Apple Pecan Chicken and BLT Cobb, priced at $3.99. For $1 more, customers can choose two additional items, including a baked potato, a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, chicken wraps or drinks. All normally cost between $1 and $1.49.

Half-size salads come only a few months after the fast-food chain created the initial line of salad offerings for $5.99. The salads have been a success, doubling the number of salads sold compared with 2009 -- way ahead of company expectations.

The company's marketing division aims to keep prices for lunch below $5, which could help with average customer sales. Wendy's and other fast-food chains have seen consumers gravitate more to value menu options while slimming down orders in recent years. Research firm NPD Group said sales from value menus increased in the most recent quarter.

Wendy's offerings are part of the company's move into "premium" menu items, something McDonald's (MCD) and Burger King (BKC) have already seen success from.


Mickey D's has its $5 Smokehouse Deluxe burger, while Burger King's A.1. Steakhouse XT and Smoky Cheddar Steakhouse XT look to be winners. It's also test-marketed Burger King brunches, with ciabatta breakfast sandwiches and mimosas.


Wendy's so far has showcased burgers with blue cheese and improved buns and points out that it's testing new fries with sea salt.

 

And with this cautious foray into inexpensively priced premium items, Wendy's hopes to see some of the powerhouse success that has so far been just out of its grasp.


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