What good is a hot, juicy burger when the comps are running cold and dry? Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) posted uninspiring growth at the store level during the third quarter, as comps rose a mere 0.2%.

I'd round that 0.2% down to a zero, one as circular as the company's signature burger patties are square. If we go just by September's 0.1% decline, the worsening trend would mean that I have to round up just to get to Nil City. Wendy's bland showing is especially unfortunate because the chain is currently soliciting buyers.

Now that the company has sold off its struggling Baja Fresh concept, and liberated its more promising Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI) chain, Wendy's will sink or float based on the weight of its namesake chain.

So far, Wendy's isn't looking all that buoyant. McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) has completed a masterful turnaround, introducing premium products along the way. Burger King (NYSE:BKC) has been posting fattening comps since going public last year. Jack in the Box (NYSE:JBX) actually has a quick-casual Mexican concept worth keeping in Qdoba.

Wendy's, meanwhile, just registered a yawn-inducing 0.2% on the Richter scale.   

It's not as if the chain isn't trying. The decadent Baconator rolled out in July, giving the chain an artery-clogging creation that would do the folks at CKE Restaurants (NASDAQ:CKR) proud. August welcomed new gourmet sandwiches like Chicken Cordon Bleu, which makes it all too easy to quip that Wendy's "Bleu" it this past quarter.

If I seem a little harder on Wendy's than usual, maybe it's because I have yet to find someone who enjoys the company's current red-wigged ads. Don't write me to tell me otherwise; I'll just accuse you of being a wigmaker, or having it out for redheads.

The ads aren't working, and last month's comps -- donning their own shade of crimson -- bear that out.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.