Millennials would rather eat fast-casual than fast food.
But burger chain Wendy’s is intent on luring the new generation of consumers away from Chipotle and Panera Bread.
“We are extremely mindful of the importance of gaining traction with millennials,” chief executive Emil Brolick said on the company’s latest earnings conference call.
Brolick highlighted a few ways Wendy’s is trying to draw in the younger crowd.
- Creating the “Red” character for commercials. The redhead featured in Wendy’s commercials is a millennial, Brolick said. Burger Business calls the character, who is infatuated with the burger chain, an “effective spokeswoman.” Red is played by 28-year-old actress Morgan Smith Goodwin.
- Digital marketing. The company launched the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger with a “Love Songs” digital promotion. The promotion featured various performers singing consumers’ Facebook comments and tweets. The marketing campaign was successful in “extending audience reach to the all-important millennial consumers at a fraction of the cost,” Brolick said.
- New menu items. Wendy’s is focusing on adding healthy and premium items to the menu. Recent examples of the push include the Asiago Ranch Chicken Club, BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad, and Asian Cashew Chicken Salad. Wendy’s also released a Ciabatta Bacon Cheeseburger this year.
Millennials, defined as ages 24-37, now represent 25% of customers, Burger Business editor Scott Hume writes in a guest post in the Christian Science Monitor.
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