In Wendy’s release announcing its new $4.99 “Pick 2” meal deal, Chief Marketing Officer Ken Calwell is quoted as saying, “We’re building on the popularity of our new salads by letting customers ‘Pick 2’ without compromising on flavor or price.” But with Wendy’s full-size salads priced at $5.99, isn’t a price ‘compromise’ central to the $4.99 promotion?
The “Pick 2” deal lets customers choose a half-size version of one of the four Garden Sensations salads—Apple, Pecan Chicken; Baja; Spicy Chicken Caesar; and BLT Cobb—the chain introduced in July. Additionally, the deal includes the choice of one of seven other items: Jr. bacon Cheeseburger, chili, baked potato, Chicken Go Wrap or small beverage. In other words, if McDonald’s can turn an Angus Third Pound burger into a snack-size Angus Snack Wrap, Wendy’s can create the “snack salad” and offer it with a mini burger or mini wrap. A full-size meal is here defined as a bundle of snacks.
This makes some marketplace sense given Technomic’s recent study, which finds 21% of consumer saying they snack more frequently now. More than one-third (35%) say they choose more healthful snacks than they did just two years ago.
Wendy’s insists that “Pick 2” isn’t a remedy to consumer hesitancy about paying $5.99 for its salads. Calwell also is quoted as saying the chain has doubled its sale of salads compared to a year ago. Was it promoting salads on TV a year ago? The cynics among us will recall that Carl’s Jr. claimed “record” sales for its Kim Kardashian-endorsed salads when the chain hadn’t really offered salads before. Wendy’s, however, has a long history of selling salads, so the full-size Garden Sensations line may indeed be going gangbusters. If downsized salads do well, QSRs may never offer entree-size ones again.