Things aren't exactly going Wendy's
To see what I mean, all you have to do is read an article written by Alyce Lomax that ran the first week of this month. Declining same-store sales, legal issues, the potential for a significant loss (with the inclusion of some impairment charges) in the fourth quarter -- this is not what Wendy's wants on its menu.
It does want fruit, however. In fact, it needs fruit. How silly it sounds to say that Wendy's needs fruit, but who knows, it might end up being true. The company's push to sell fruit products continues; by the middle of next month, all locations in the system should be fruit-ready.
What kinds of offerings can the consumer get? There's a bowl-and-cup selection that contains cantaloupe, honeydew melon, chunks of pineapple, and some seedless grapes. There's also a strawberry-flavored yogurt available for dipping. The stated cost for the bowl is $4.19, while the cup will set you back $2.19 -- these somewhat premium prices will, it is hoped, add to Wendy's top line.
I won't be ordering any fruit cups the next time I go to Wendy's -- when I patronize the establishment, I want my double-classic-with-cheese and big fries (I won't be having the baked potato). I know, I know, I should be thinking healthy here, but I do use my juicer to whip up cantaloupe juice (among other concoctions) already, so I need to balance things out with a bit of fattening fare. Seriously, though, Wendy's mentions in the release that it's using the 2005 version of the dietary guidelines that were issued by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to support its marketing thesis. These guidelines can affect consumer behavior, so the fast-food server is smart to be riding the current curve.
However, bowls of fruit won't serve as the magic bullet for Wendy's woes. Attracting large numbers of consumers with hungry stomachs is the key here; after that, increasing the cost of the average bill is requisite. Four bucks for fruit should assist in the latter goal, but there's no guarantee that the former objective will be completely met by this initiative. Wendy's has had something of a volatile ride over the last year, but investors should remember that a long-term view must be taken for a brand that has great potential to grow stronger over time. Still, it should be mentioned that big competitor McDonald's
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns none of the companies mentioned.