Starting Monday, Strawberry Frosty is available on US menus for a limited time. Prices for the new Frosty vary by city, and strawberry is temporarily replacing vanilla — although Wendy’s promises the flavor will return after the promotion.
Carl Laredo, Wendy’s chief marketing officer, said in an exclusive interview with CNN Business that strawberries proved popular when they were added to menus in Canada last year, becoming one of the “most talked about items” online.
Strawberry Frosties isn’t the only item for a limited time at Wendy’s starting Monday. Also returning for the third summer in a row is the Summer Strawberry Chicken Salad, a mix of fresh strawberry slices, bacon, and grilled chicken served on top of a bed of crunchy lettuce and springtime mix.
Like other chains, Wendy’s has been hit hard by rising commodity and labor costs, with its margins declining as a result. In the first quarter, global sales at Wendy’s restaurants open for at least 15 months grew 2.4% — lagging behind its competitors. By comparison, McDonald’s sales at global restaurants open at least 13 months ago jumped 11.8%, while Burger King’s sales at open locations grew at least 10.3% annually.
During a call with an analyst recently, Wendy executives said first-quarter results didn’t quite meet expectations. “The first quarter, from a margin standpoint, didn’t quite line up with plan,” Wendy’s Chief Financial Officer Gunther Plosch said during a call with an analyst in May. “We lost sales slightly,” he said, adding that “goods and employment inflation were a little higher than we had expected.”
Wendy’s shares are down more than 20% so far this year.
– Danielle Weiner Brunner of CNN Business contributed to this report.
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