Wendy's Skipping Breakfast

Menu was not "high quality," CEO said; developing new offering

NEW YORK -- The CEO of Wendy's/Arby's Group Inc. said Tuesday the fast-food chain is revamping its breakfast menu and is on track to cut $60 million in costs companywide over the next three years. Roland Smith, who took the reins after the parent company of Arby's bought Wendy's last year, made the comments on the second day of the 7th Annual Cowen & Co. Consumer Conference in New York, said the Associated Press.

Much of the focus at the conference was on breakfast, one of the fastest growing mealtimes in the fast-food business. Smith said Wendy's current breakfast products [image-nocss] have not resonated with consumers and are not "high-quality." He said the company is getting rid of breakfast at a number of stores to make way for a new menu.

Although he did not offer any details about the makeup of the new breakfast menu, he mentioned at least one new product, a sausage and egg panini. Smith, who also serves as CEO of the Wendy's brand, said the company will test the new menu in Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Phoenix and will enlarge its testing area in 2009 and 2010 before launching the menu nationwide in 2011.
"Breakfast is a huge opportunity for us," Smith said.

At Arby's, the company currently only offers breakfast at about 20% to 25% of locations, but Smith said the company is looking to expand Arby's breakfast reach.

Smith said Wendy's/Arby's will shave its general and administrative expenses by laying off workers, eliminating a second phone line at restaurants and conserving more gas and electricity. The company has been warning of layoffs for months, and Smith said headway already has been made in cutting some executive-level jobs that were redundant after the chains' merger.

Smith also said Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy's/Arby's will focus on opening new international locations and likely develop several dual-concept locations overseas. Those locations would include both Wendy's and Arby's restaurants in one space.

Click hereto view Wendy's current breakfast menu.