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Wendy's New French Fries a "Huge Success"

 Wendy's French Fries
"Want some fries with that?"

At Wendy's the answer increasingly seems to be yes, thanks to the chain replacing its thin and soggy french fries with a crisper, skin-on version flavored with sea salt. The fast feeder will keep the pressure on with a campaign launching this week from Kaplan Thaler Group.

Since the new fry hit the menu last November, orders with fries rose almost 10% per 100 transactions, "almost equal to McDonald's,"Roland Smith, president-CEO of Wendy's/Arby's Group, said during the company's fourth-quarter earnings call earlier this month.

"Our new-fry launch was a huge success,"he concluded. "It's not often that companies like ours take a core product like fries and actually make a significant change and have that change be as positive as it was."

Wendy'sFor that reason, Wendy's took no chances. According to Kantar, in December -- the first full month the fries were available -- it spent nearly 79%, or $17.7 million, of its measured-media spend pushing fries, compared to spending of $26.9 million for all products in December 2009.

During that launch month alone, fry units were up 17%, Mr. Smith said.

The figures look more impressive considering the overall amount of fry units sold industry-wide has been in a slow decline over the past few years.

NPD GroupThe number of fries sold at quick-service restaurants in the U.S. fell 1% in 2010;2% in 2009;2% in 2008 and 2% in 2007, according to NPD Group.
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