DUBLIN, Ohio, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Wendy's is in the midst of a comprehensive transformation to contemporize the brand and dramatically improve the customer experience. Consumers are responding, as evidenced by: Five consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales at Company-operated restaurants* 2012 ZAGAT SURVEY rating Wendy's as the Top Overall Mega Chain Wendy's top ranking for customer satisfaction among hamburger chains in the "limited-service" category by the American Customer Service Satisfaction Index(TM) (University of Michigan survey) Wendy's No.1 speed-of-service ranking in the 2012 QSR Drive-Thru Survey, a proprietary report by QSR
"We are improving the total customer experience, with bold restaurant designs, fresh product innovation, more engaging advertising and digital media advancements," said Emil Brolick, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The transformation is already resonating with consumers and we're building momentum, especially with our Image Activation restaurants that position our brand as 'A Cut Above' the competition. Today, we are unveiling the first Wendy's brand logo change in nearly 30 years, and next March we will introduce it across all of our consumer touch points. This is a very exciting time for Wendy's." Key initiatives of Wendy's brand transformation include: New "Image Activation" restaurants that feature bold, sleek, "ultra-modern" designs that greatly enhance the customer experience. Design features include lounge seating with fireplaces, flat-screen TVs, Wi-Fi and digital menuboards.
The reimages completed so far have generated a range of strong sales increases, averaging more than 25 percent. By year-end Wendy's expects to have completed a total of 75 re-imaged restaurants since the program began in 2011, and will accelerate the pace of Image Activation rebuilds and remodels in 2013 and 2014.
The Company plans to reimage 50 percent of its Company-operated restaurants by the end of 2015. The Company is also providing a total of up to $10 million in incentives to franchisees to re-image their restaurants in 2013.
A new advertising campaign premiered this past spring and is resonating with consumers. Ad awareness has risen eight points in the first five months of the campaign, according to independent industry research. The campaign features Wendy Thomas, the Company's namesake, who speaks to Wendy's values and tradition of quality, along with "RED," a young female red-head who engages consumers and presents signature menu offerings in a witty and helpful way.
Menu Innovations with greater emphasis on fresh ingredients and fresh preparation. Dave's Hot 'N Juicy(TM) Cheeseburgers - made with 100 percent pure, North American, fresh never frozen beef - were introduced in 2011.** They feature thicker patties and premium toppings. Four new entree salads with craveable ingredients have been created, along with a seasonal Berry Almond Chicken Salad, featuring fresh strawberries and blueberries. Wendy's also has introduced russet potato French Fries with sea salt; center-cut, Applewood Smoked Bacon; and other high quality ingredients that spawned specialty sandwiches like the Asiago Ranch Chicken sandwich. Recent introductions include the Spicy Chicken Guacamole sandwich, Sweet Baked Potato, Son of Baconator(TM) and the new Bacon Portabella Melt.
Wendy's has aggressively moved into the digital marketing space, and was recognized as the overall No. 2-ranked company in the Nation's Restaurant News Restaurant Social Media Index. The Company is connecting with consumers by reaching them when, where and how they prefer. A new Mobile Nutrition app allows customers to personalize meals based on the amount of calories they choose. The Company plans to offer more options in future app updates.
Wendy's to Introduce New Contemporary Logo in March 2013 The ongoing brand transformation will extend to Wendy's new logo in March 2013, when a contemporary look will be introduced on packaging, advertising, crew uniforms, restaurant signage, menuboards and websites.
The evolved design for the logo is contemporary and iconic, as it further emphasizes the Wendy's cameo while retaining the familiar Wendy's "wave" design.
"We want the most prominent symbol of our brand to reflect the transformation that's currently under way," said Craig Bahner, Chief Marketing Officer. "Our refreshed logo signals the innovation and fresh thinking taking place at Wendy's, while reinforcing that we are staying true to our values as a distinct and beloved brand." The new brand logo was designed by Tesser, an award-winning design firm based in San Francisco.
About The Wendy's Company The Wendy's Company 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 U.S. and 27 countries and U.S. territories worldwide.
* Same-store sales at Company-operated restaurants through the second quarter ended July 1, 2012. ** Fresh beef is available in the contiguous United States and Canada.
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Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains certain statements that are not historical facts, including, importantly, information concerning possible or assumed future results of operations of The Wendy's Company and its subsidiaries (collectively, the "Company"). Those statements, as well as statements preceded by, followed by, or that include the words "may," "believes," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," or the negation thereof, or similar expressions, constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Reform Act"). All statements that address future reimaging plans, related incentives and the new Wendy's logo are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Reform Act. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company's expectations at the time such statements are made, speak only as of the dates they are made and are susceptible to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors. The Company's actual results, performance and achievements may differ materially from any future results, performance or achievements expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements.
For all forward-looking statements, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Reform Act. Many important factors could affect future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors, all of which are difficult or impossible to predict accurately, and many of which are beyond the Company's control, include, but are not limited to: (1) changes in the quick-service restaurant industry, such as consumer trends toward value-oriented products and promotions or toward consuming fewer meals away from home; (2) prevailing economic, market and business conditions affecting the Company, including competition from other food service providers, high unemployment and decreased consumer spending levels; (3) the ability to effectively manage the acquisition and disposition of restaurants; (4) cost and availability of capital; (5) cost fluctuations associated with food, supplies, energy, fuel, distribution or labor; (6) the financial condition of the Company's franchisees; (7) food safety events, including instances of food-borne illness involving the Company or its supply chain; (8) conditions beyond the Company's control such as weather, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics impacting the Company's customers or food supplies, or acts of war or terrorism; (9) the availability of suitable locations and terms for the development of new restaurants; (10) risks associated with the Image Activation program; (11) adoption of new, or changes in, laws, regulations or accounting policies and practices; (12) changes in debt, equity and securities markets; (13) goodwill and long-lived asset impairments; (14) changes in interest rates; (15) expenses and liabilities for taxes related to periods up to the date of sale of Arby's as a result of the indemnification provisions of the Arby's Purchase and Sale Agreement; and (16) other factors cited in the Company's news releases, public statements and/or filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including those identified in the "Risk Factors" sections of the Company's Forms 10-K and 10-Q. The Company's franchisees are independent third parties that the Company does not control. Numerous factors beyond the control of the Company and its franchisees may affect franchisees' ability to reimage restaurants.
All future written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to the Company or any person acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to above. New risks and uncertainties arise from time to time, and it is impossible for the Company to predict these events or their impact. The Company assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or developments, except as required by federal securities laws. The Company does not endorse any projections regarding future performance that may be made by third parties.
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