How Wendy’s Innovated the Digital Journey To Improve the Customer Experience


“Speed and convenience and really driving consistency of operations are core themes,” says Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor. “You think about how you can continue to drive speed. The digital journey is a big one. How do we drive folks into mobile ordering? How do we drive awareness on mobile ordering? What we do see is when folks mobile order the check size is about 20 percent higher. Those are just great opportunities to continue to connect to that next generation of consumer and create a better experience and gather even more data to connect with them into the future.”

Todd Penegor, CEO of Wendy’s, discusses how their innovative improvements in the digital journey are improving speed and the customer experience in an interview by Jim Cramer on CNBC:

Wendy’s Innovated the Digital Journey For a Better CX

We are connecting to that next generation of consumer through social media and having a lot of fun doing it. It is driving folks into our restaurant. Chance the Rapper tweeted that he would love to have his spicy nuggets back. We challenged him to see how many likes he could get. We said that if you get two million likes we will bring spicy nuggets back. He did that and we brought spicy nuggets back. Immediately, and you see that in our third-quarter results, from day one, even before we turned on national advertising, people showed up in our restaurants to buy those spicy chicken nuggets. They wanted them back and they learned about it through social.

There’s a ton of good things happening. We’re still working on speed, so speed and convenience and really driving consistency of operations are core themes. You think about how you can continue to drive speed. The digital journey is a big one. How do we drive folks into mobile ordering? How do we drive awareness on mobile ordering? What we do see is when folks mobile order the check size is about 20 percent higher. Those are just great opportunities to continue to connect to that next generation of consumer and create a better experience and gather even more data to connect with them into the future.

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Delivery Innovation Continues To Be a Great Growth Engine

Delivery continues to be a great growth engine for us. We’ve got over 85 percent of the system supported by delivery. We announced today that we will have all of our ordering integrated on delivery into our point-of-sale system. That’ll allow us to get the food to the customers even faster. We’re one of the fastest today at 30 minutes from the time you order to the time you get the food. Now that it’s going to be integrated into our POS we can probably shave another three to five minutes. It could also open us up to use other delivery providers beyond just DoorDash which will be another great opportunity to expand access to our brand.

We talked a lot today about our brand and really doing fast food done right. Fast food done right can resonate across the globe and fresh is what a consumer is really looking for. It is a true point of differentiation (with competitors). We talked about making a move into Europe over the next 12 to 18 months and really starting in the UK and really front-running some of that with company restaurants. We talked about up to 20 company restaurants over the next couple of years. We will bring franchisees into to play that out in the UK, but it will create a beachhead for us to really start to drive some growth into all of Europe. It’s a big burger-eating area of the world. The category has been growing and we have the right to play and can be differentiated on fresh.

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Wendy’s Reintroducing the Black Bean Veggie Burger

We’ve talked about plant-based probably four years ago. We are way ahead of the curve when we had a black bean burger that we were working on. Unfortunately, at the time it was operationally complex and it took additional equipment in the restaurant. Today, we figured out how to solve for that. We’re looking for that flexitarian customer. We’re trying to do it the Wendy’s way. We’re trying to do it with Wendy’s quality. Whether you’re a flexitarian or a vegetarian the black bean burger can solve for that. We have that in tests in one market now and we’re looking to bring that to market sometime during the course of 2020.

Flexitarian is one of those millennial terms and in folks are looking to have a lot of beef but and traditional proteins but also flip into more vegetable and and other proteins. We’re real fresh never frozen North American beef. We are about having great quality food and we always want to do things the Wendy’s way. We think a black bean burger, something that’s natural in a square to make sure that it follows along the lines of our square hamburgers, is a great fit for our brand will allow folks to continue to come into our restaurant to drive frequency.

We talked a lot about frequency. Our average customer comes to a Wendy’s five and a half times a year. We have a huge opportunity to drive frequency. Whether it’s the offerings like a plant-based burger, whether it’s entering breakfast, or driving our digital journey going forward.

How Wendy’s Innovated the Digital Journey To Improve the Customer Experience – CEO Todd Penegor



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