Did you know that Wendy’s launched a brand new breakfast menu a few months ago? Maybe you missed the news, as it happened back in the beginning of March, right around the time the world was starting to talk about possibly going into full shutdown mode. But, it’s true. The home of the square burger jumped head first into the fast-food breakfast battle with a completely new menu of items for the A.M. crowd. So, with one more player in the game for your hard-earned breakfast dollars, here are the top 10 untold truths of Wendy’s breakfast.
10. They Have Tried Doing Breakfast Before
This 2020 breakfast menu isn’t the first time Wendy’s has tried to do breakfast. In fact, it isn’t even the second time. This latest attempt is actually the third time the fast-food chain has tried to get into the breakfast game. And we hope they have learned from their mistakes because the first two tries ended pretty quickly. Attempt number one came in 1985. The restaurant was on everyone’s mind because of the hugely popular “where’s the beef?” commercials and after a year of testing, they launched their, self-touted, “fresh” breakfast offerings. But nine months later Wendy’s admitted failure and pulled the plug, with only a handful of franchisees deciding to keep serving breakfast. After that, it wasn’t until 25 years later, in 2010 that Wendy’s decided it was time to try again. However, this second attempt never even made it to the full national rollout stage. Wendy’s started out by testing the menu in a few locations, but their competition in those locations, such as McDonald’s, went on the offensive right away, cutting prices and advertising hard, basically knocking Wendy’s off their game before they even got started. They were never able to get their feet on solid ground. So in 2013, Wendy’s admitted defeat and breakfast plans were shelved, yet again!
9. Wendy’s is Doing Things Differently This Time
They say that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And Wendy’s definitely doesn’t want to repeat what happened the last two times they tried to get into the breakfast game. So, with this big rollout they are doing things differently on many levels. First off, learning from what happened in 2010 when they tried to test the menu in certain markets only. They rolled out their breakfast menu nationally right from the start this time. To save on labor costs, this menu only requires three employees as opposed to a decade ago which needed four. One huge difference between this menu and the one they were testing in 2010 is that this one only has 18 new products and ingredients – as opposed to 45! For the previous breakfast rollout franchisees had to spend $10,000 in new equipment costs alone. This time… no new equipment. As you may imagine with new equipment and so many new products and ingredients, the 2010 rollout was much more complicated for the restaurants to implement and operate. This time Wendy’s corporate made sure to simplify things all around. They have also focused on drive-thru this time – which is not only good for the breakfast business in general, but is looking like an even smarter move given the last three months and people’s safety going forward.
8. The Breakfast Baconator
Yes, you read that right! One of the items on Wendy’s brand new, completely redone breakfast menu that recently launched is… a Breakfast Baconator?!! Yes, get ready to sink your teeth into 730 delicious calories of grilled sausage, American cheese, applewood smoked bacon, a fresh-cracked grade A egg, more cheese, more bacon and all of that covered in Swiss cheese sauce. In case you were wondering, there is a total of six strips of bacon on each sandwich. If you weren’t drooling before, then you surely are now. The original Baconator was launched back in 2007 and has since gone on to great acclaim, praised by fast food fans everywhere. Not only does the OG Baconator have thousands of Twitter followers, but earlier this year Wendy’s teamed up with Pringles to launch – for a limited time only – Baconator flavored Pringles chips. The original Baconator is one of the most popular burgers in America and so it only makes sense that Wendy’s would create a breakfast version for their morning customers. And the breakfast Baconator looks to be pleasing palettes as well. Reviews have been good so far, with customers calling it full of flavor and praising the yummy cheese sauce. And it probably would not surprise anyone to know that, in test markets, the Breakfast Baconator was the top seller!
7. Wendy’s Used to Offer Made-to-Order Omelets
Back during their first failed attempt at breakfast in the early 1980s, Wendy’s decided that a great way to differentiate themselves from the fast-food competition was to offer made-to-order omelets. The idea of offering fresh, made-to-order food when your competition is serving up frozen pancakes and such is a positive differentiator for sure. But, go ahead and raise your hand if you’re shocked it didn’t work. While the omelet idea was a good one for the “homestyle” part of what Wendy’s is about, it should come as no surprise that it kind of took away from the “fast” part. In a 1986 interview, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas talked about the omelet mistake, saying how they made every omelet to order… how omelets are more complicated… that their competitors make things up and put them under a heat lamp… Wendy’s just couldn’t compete with that. It was a brand-new procedure… and Thomas admitted they had made a mistake. Since then they have decided to leave the made-to-order omelets to the hotel breakfast bars and stick to more fast-food friendly items, while still trying to differentiate with freshness where possible. We’re sure Dave would approve of this new version of the Wendy’s breakfast menu.
6. Fresh-Cracked Grade A Eggs
If you visit the Wendy’s website and look at the breakfast menu, one thing that might stand out is that for every item that has an egg in it, the description uses the words, “fresh-cracked Grade A egg.” You might be wondering, why are they being so specific about using actual fresh-crakced eggs. Doesn’t everyone? And the answer to that is a big fat, no! In fact, it is actually kind of difficult to find a fast-food chain that does use fresh eggs. McDonald’s, as it turns out, only uses fresh cracked-eggs in their egg McMuffin. For all the other eggs on the menu, in or out of sandwiches, they use a liquid egg mixture that definitely starts with real eggs but has some additives and preservatives thrown in. The same is true of Burger King eggs on their breakfast menu. So, Wendy’s is actually differentiating themselves from the competition beyond what you may have thought with their use of only fresh-cracked eggs. On their website in response to the question, does Wendy’s use real eggs, they write: “Absolutely. Every breakfast sandwich that has an egg on it uses freshly-cracked, grade A, honest-to-goodness, from-an-actual-chicken egg.” A real egg from a real chicken… what a novel idea!
5. A Frosty For Breakfast?
The Baconator is a fan favorite and you can get a breakfast version. What about another Wendy’s favorite, the Frosty? There’s no way anyone is going to have ice cream for breakfast, is there? Well, apparently the simple answer is, Yes! Yes! Yes! As part of their new breakfast menu Wendy’s has brought the world a Frosty-ccino: A cold-brewed coffee swirled with vanilla Frosty mix and served over ice. That’s the Vanilla Frosty-ccino. Replace the vanilla frosty mix with chocolate frosty mix and you got the Chocolate Frosty-ccino. Not only does this sound like a perfect way to get your day going, but you might be surprised, and happy, to know that the small options are actually only 210 and 220 calories respectively while a large Frsoty-ccino (both flavors) only come in at 310 calories each. Sure, that’s more than a regular coffe but pretty much on par, if not a tad lower, than many specialty coffee drinks you would get anywhere else. Other beverage options on the menu include cold brewed iced coffee, regular coffee (A blend of 100% Arabica beans from Central and South America, medium-roasted) and 100% pure squeezed pasteurized orange juice. And according to multiple reviewers Wendy’s coffee holds it’s own and ranks in the top half of many lists that rank fast-food coffee.
4. Do They Have Something Better Than Hash Browns?
Looking over the new breakfast menu the first thing one might notice is that Wendy’s doesn’t have hash browns. Hash browns are pretty much a staple of any breakfast outing – especially a fast-food one. And they are also often one of the best, if not the best things on the get-it-and-go menu. But in true Wendy’s fashion, the house that Dave Thomas built is attempting to one-up the standard fast-food breakfast potato game with something that looks and feels more like actual food – rather than some weird concoction that, while you eat it, you try not to think about how they actually made it. Wendy’s is offering morning munchers Seasoned Potatoes: Natural-cut (half moon shape), skin-on potatoes cooked, and seasoned with cracked black pepper and garlic powder. Many reviewers wrote about how much they love that the skins are left on. Another reviewer who has tried everything on the menu said that the Wendy’s seasoned potatoes were astonishingly good — crunchy outside, soft inside, with a mouthwatering combo of seasonings. This reviewer couldn’t eat just one. While there are many hash brown lovers out there who probably can’t imagine a fast food breakfast run without that hash brown on the side. Wendy’s is hoping to convert you to their morning potato offering – and it definitely sounds like it is worth making the trip to at least give them a try.
3. Some Yummy Calorie Busting Items
All fast food restaurants have some healthier, lower-calorie options on the menu. However, you can always feel confident that if you need to start your day off with a filling feast and calories aren’t an issue, there will certainly be a nice selection at any fast food joint you saunter into. And Wendy’s is no exception. Weighing in at 500 calories is the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit: A crispy, chicken fillet, seasoned and topped with maple honey butter on a fluffy buttermilk biscuit. It is probably as delicious as it sounds, given that in test markets, it was the companies second-best seller. Coming in at 560 yummy calories is the Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant: A juicy chicken breast, Applewood smoked bacon and maple butter on a flaky croissant bun. For just 50 more calories – for a total of 610 – you could indulge in the Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuit: A fresh-cracked grade A egg on a fluffy buttermilk biscuit with grilled sausage and melted American cheese. And at the top of the Wendy’s calorie food chain, looking down on all other breakfast items from its 730 calorie perch is the, sure to be fan favorite and best-seller, the Breakfst Baconator: Grilled sausage, American cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, a fresh-cracked grade A egg, more cheese and more bacon all covered in Swiss cheese sauce. While these calorie numbers might not make these sandwiches an option for breakfast every single day, they’d make a great treat on those mornings after the night before. These breaky delights sound like just what the doctor ordered to cure any hangover (as long as you can get out of bed and get to a Wendy’s before they stop serving breakfast at 10:30am!)
2. There are Some Healthier Options
Maybe you are trying to count your calories but your friends still want to go to Wendy’s for breakfast. Well, have no fear. As long as you can resist the pull of the Breakfast Baconator, there are some healthier choices you can make. The lowest calorie item on the entire menu in the coffee. That means skip the Frosty-ccinos and stick to a good solid cup of joe (only 5 measly calories). For a sacrifice of just 230 calories you can fill your belly with a small order of Wendy’s Seasoned Potatoes. We understand that potatoes alone might not be enough, so why not add a fresh baked oatmeal bar to your order. The bars are made with whole oats, sweet blueberries and tart cranberries and at 270 calories your total morning intake would only be at 500 (505 if you added a coffee). Finally, there is the Sausage, Egg & Cheese Buritto: Scrambled eggs, melty cheese and seasoned breakfast sausage wrapped in a warm, soft flour tortilla. And at 340 calories it won’t make your food tracking app angry at you and just might give you the boost you need to start your day.
1. Wendy’s Worked Hard to Put This New Menu Together
Given their past failures with breakfast and the crowded and competitive fast food market of today, Wendy’s made sure they did everything right when it came to launching breakfast this time. For starters there is the coffee. As John Li, Wendy’s vice president of culinary innovation, said, “Without good coffee, you’re sunk, no matter what market.” So, with that in mind the company tried a variety of beans and in the end, decided to go with an Indonesian blend with Sumatran beans. The beans are more expensive, which didn’t make the corporate bean counters (no pun intended) very happy. They also had to make sure they were Rainforest Alliance certified. When it comes to their breakfast sandwiches that use biscuits and croissants, Wendy’s is having those baked off site at bakeries in order to take some pressure of employees at the restaurants. But, they were definitely involved in selecting the final product that the bakeries would produce for them. The croissants are made with 128 layers of dough and butter and they went through somewhere around 50 different versions before landing on the final biscuit recipe. And If you were wondering about the Beyond Meat/Meatless sausage trend that seems to be sweeping the breakfast landscape. Wendy’s hasn’t ruled it out. Eventually, but not for now. Wendy’s is really trying to keep this new breakfast rollout very simple to start out. As they say – slow and steady wins the race.