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Pretzel-bun love affair has Wendy's attention

TNS Regional News • Aug 14, 2014 at 11:07 AM

In its own way, Wendy’s put a ring on it.

On Sunday, the Dublin-based burger giant turned its flirtation with the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger into a long-term commitment. The hit limited-time menu item moved into a permanent position, combo No. 11.

“In the spirit of our Twitter and Facebook video series,” Wendy’s spokesman Frank Vamos said in a statement, “#yesyesyes the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger is here to stay.”

Wendy’s tweeted a photo on Sunday of the popular burger beside some fries and a drink and wrote, “We can’t quit you. Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger is here to stay.”

On Monday, the company released a song on Twitter, Let it Live.

Most of the song’s verses are taken straight from fans’ tweets, including the title, while Wendy’s built in a refrain around the line that millions of burger eaters wanted to hear: “Pretzel bun is here to stay.”

Along with the music video, Wendy’s wrote: “You said ‘bring it back.’ So we did. Then you said ‘keep it on the menu.’ So we … well, just watch.”

The move wasn’t surprising, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president at Technomic, a restaurant and food research firm.

“I think it has done a really nice job as a limited-time offer,” Tristano said. “The limited-time offer is to some degree an opportunity to pretest a successful item for their menu.”

Wendy’s launched pretzel-bun sandwiches last summer to rousing success. The company said the burger lifted its sales in the second and third quarter of 2013, and Wendy’s posted solid second-quarter earnings last week.

“Clearly, this is the right thing to do,” said Mark Kalinowski, the lead restaurant analyst at Janney Capital Markets. “Most limited-time offers do not make it to the permanent menu. It has to be special.”

The pretzel bun helps differentiate Wendy’s from other quick-serve restaurants, such as Burger King and McDonald’s, Tristano said, and elevates its offerings to compete with the rising fast-casual crowd, including Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Smashburger.

Though the pretzel-bun burger has been a hit, Tristano has one issue with it.

“It’s a great burger,” he said, “but it is hard to eat with one hand while driving.”


By JD Malone - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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