Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



Wendy’s Beats McDonald’s for Consumer Sentiment

Watch stocks you care about

The single, easiest way to keep track of all the stocks that matter...

Your own personalized stock watchlist!

It's a 100% FREE Motley Fool service...

Click Here Now

Wendy's (NASDAQ: WEN  ) has done a good job changing its image by renovating its restaurants and offering healthier menu items over the past few several years. By mid-2013, it ranked No. 2 on YouGov BrandIndex's consumer-sentiment platform and had been there for two consecutive years. Only privately owned Subway ranked higher in the quick-service space, having held the top rating for three consecutive years. Subway was able to continue its strong momentum partially in thanks to its "Fresh Fit Meals" promotion and its summertime "Avocado Love commercial."

What other brands ranked highly at the middle of 2013? Did those brands maintain that momentum throughout the remainder of the year? 

A look back
In the middle of 2013, Pizza Hut -- a Yum! Brands (NYSE: YUM  ) subsidiary -- ranked No. 3 on YouGov's Brand Index list for quick-service restaurants. This was up from No. 4 from the first half of 2012.

Yum! Brands struck again with its Kentucky Fried Chicken brand ranking No. 4 for the first half of 2013. Unlike Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken hadn't cracked the top five for the first half of 2012. The likely reason for the improvement: Original Recipe Boneless Chicken.

In mid-2013, McDonald's (NYSE: MCD  ) ranked No. 5, which might have had something to do with its Chicken McWrap offerings. At the moment, consumers can order three different types of McWraps, including Chicken and Bacon, Sweet Chili, and Veggie Signature. In regards to the latter, this is an attempt by McDonald's to target the health-conscious consumer and millennials more than in the past. McDonald's states that the Veggie Signature McWrap is a "delicious way to get your veggies."

Based on the company website, it describes its Veggie Signature McWrap as "made with [a] steamed whole wheat tortilla that's bursting with goodness of fresh, crisp veggies, shredded cheese, and tasty toppings." These new menu offerings could lead to increased foot traffic, but we still need to see how McDonald's performed in regards to consumer sentiment for all of 2013. 

Did Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, or McDonald's manage to stay in the top five for consumer sentiment throughout 2013?

Sustainable results?
Subway remained in the No. 1 position in regards to consumer sentiment for quick-service restaurants throughout 2013, sporting a Buzz Score of 29.4 (Buzz Scores range from negative 100 to 100 and are based on consumer feedback given what was had heard about the brand within the past two weeks.) Unfortunately, you can't invest in Subway (unless you want to franchise one).

Fortunately, it's easy to invest in Wendy's, which maintained its No. 2 position throughout 2013, sporting a Buzz Score of 19. Part of the reason for Wendy's continued success: Grilled Chicken Flatbread, which is only 370 calories and packed with 34 grams of protein.

Regardless of the reason for consumers seeing Wendy's in a more positive light than in the past, as well as compared to McDonald's, it's a good sign for the brand going forward. And it could lead to market share gains. 

Pizza Hut remained in the No. 3 position, with a Buzz Score of 16.4. However, Burger King took Kentucky Fried Chicken's No. 4 spot, with a Buzz Score of 12. As far as McDonald's is concerned, it fell out of the No. 5 spot, replaced by Chick-Fil-A, which delivered a 2013 Buzz Score of 11.9.

The Foolish takeaway
Though McDonald's should remain a long-term winner thanks to brand strength and cash flow generation, it's going through a transitional stage at the moment. Wendy's might be a much smaller company, but it's further along with its brand transformation. This is resonating well with consumers, and it allows for continued growth potential. Please do your own research prior to making any investment decisions.

Opportunities to get wealthy from a single investment don't come around often, but they do exist, and our chief technology officer believes he's found one. In this free report, Jeremy Phillips shares the single company that he believes could transform not only your portfolio, but your entire life. To learn the identity of this stock for free and see why Jeremy is putting more than $100,000 of his own money into it, all you have to do is click here now.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2822513, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/31/2015 8:18:22 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Dan Moskowitz

Dan Moskowitz spends the majority of his time researching stocks. He believes that fundamentals, and logic pertaining to industry trends, win out over the long haul.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,528.03 -114.98 -0.69%
S&P 500 1,972.18 -16.69 -0.84%
NASD 4,776.51 -51.82 -1.07%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

8/31/2015 4:01 PM
MCD $95.02 Down -1.23 -1.28%
McDonald's CAPS Rating: ***
WEN $9.11 Down -0.11 -1.19%
The Wendy's Compan… CAPS Rating: ***
YUM $79.77 Down -2.05 -2.51%
Yum! Brands CAPS Rating: ****