March 10, 2014 // Franchising.com // DUBLIN, Ohio – Wendy's is keeping it fresh with today's debut of two new permanent menu items to its premium salad line – the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad.
With chef-inspired flavors and cutting edge ingredients, Wendy's is providing salad consumers with fresh new tastes they would typically find in casual dining restaurants, but with the speed, convenience and price of a quick service restaurant.
"Wendy's is a leader in the salad business and we are very excited to raise the bar even higher," said Craig Bahner, Wendy's Chief Marketing Officer. "Our latest premium salad innovations feature unique fusions of flavor, made with high quality, contemporary ingredients. And as always, our salads are freshly prepared every day in our restaurants. These two new additions to our salad line prove, once again, that we are serious about elevating our salad line."
The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad is a full sized, full flavored nutritious option. The fully dressed full-size salad is only 380 calories, while the half-size has only 240 calories. Wendy's has gone beyond the predictable canned fruit and ginger dressing found in other Asian-inspired salads in favor of more contemporary, on-trend ingredients like fire-roasted edamame and red peppers sliced fresh in every Wendy's restaurant.
In addition to the hint of smokiness added by the edamame, Wendy's brings the heat with spicy roasted cashews dusted with garlic, onion, and sea salt, and a Light Spicy Asian Chili Vinaigrette made with chili garlic sauce, roasted peanuts, soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar. The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad also features freshly sliced cucumbers, a lettuce blend made up of 11 different kinds of field greens topped with a warm, grilled chicken breast fillet chopped fresh to order.
The BBQ Chicken Salad is a big, bold salad that is packed with flavor. Inspired by the tastes of a good old-fashioned backyard barbeque, the savory BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad uses premium ingredients often found around the grill, such as fire-roasted corn (paying homage to grilled corn on the cob), freshly diced tomatoes and Applewood-Smoked bacon that adds even more crunch.
The salad is served with a BBQ Ranch dressing, made with real buttermilk, parmesan cheese, ancho chili pepper, honey and brown sugar. A warm, grilled chicken breast fillet adds the perfect amount of heat against cool produce, all drizzled with a honey barbeque sauce. The sharpness of shredded cheddar cheese complements the sweetness from the barbeque sauce. The salad also includes 11 different kinds of field greens that give a burst of freshness.
"When it comes to salads, consumers don't want to compromise. They want great new tastes and nutritious options. They want high quality ingredients but at a fair price," Bahner said. "In fact, these salads cost about 25% less than our fast casual competitors."
Asian and barbeque are among the top flavors of food trends for 2014. Southeast Asian cuisine made the biggest jump in trendiness among ethnic cuisines, ranking in the "Top 5" of the hottest ethnic cuisines, with more than half (56%) of participants ranking it as a hot food trend, according to the National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2014" list*. According to the same list, barbeque still stands as a prominent hot item among food trends, ranking 63% among participants as a perennial favorite. Unlike some of its competitors, Wendy's offers its premium salads in both full and half-size portions, giving customers more options to meet their dietary needs and dining occasions. These new salads join the Apple Pecan Chicken Salad and Spicy Chicken Caesar Salad as permanent menu items – replacing the Baja Salad and the Chicken BLT Cobb. The new salads are 50% lower in fat grams, 29% lower in sodium and 61% lower in saturated fat than the Baja and Chicken BLT Cobb salads.
The BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad is available for a recommended price of $6.19 for the full-size and $4.19 for the half-size. The Asian Cashew Chicken Salad is available for a recommended price of $5.99 for the full-size and $3.99 for the half-size.
Wendy's is also updating its Garden Side Salad by adding freshly sliced cucumber and red peppers. Side salads at some competitors only have two or three additional ingredients aside from the lettuce. The Wendy's Garden Side Salad features five ingredients, including the restaurant's lettuce blend, grape tomatoes, croutons, cucumber and red pepper with a choice of dressing. The Garden Side Salad will keep the same recommended price of $1.59.
Salad innovation is just one component of Wendy's ongoing brand transformation that includes the re-imaging of restaurants with a bold, contemporary look; an updated Wendy's logo; new crew uniforms; consumer-preferred menuboards; and smart, new packaging.
"We continue to develop core menu and limited-time only product innovations that our customers love," said Bahner. "Menu innovation is a central part of our brand transformation that we intend to continue to execute at a high level in 2014 to grow sales and profits."
*Source: National Restaurant Association's "What's Hot in 2014" List, released on December 3, 2013. More information available upon request.
The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ: WEN) is the world's third largest quick-service hamburger company. The Wendy's system includes more than 6,500 franchise and Company restaurants in the United States and 28 countries and U.S. territories worldwide. For more information, visit www.wendys.com or www.aboutwendys.com.
SOURCE The Wendy's Company