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Wendy’s Puts Local Twist on Burger Revamp

Media release
Thursday 6 September 2012

Wendy’s Puts Local Twist on Burger Revamp

New Zealand’s best tasting burgers just got even tastier with Wendy’s burgers getting a “taste lift” for the first time in more than two decades.

Now with a 40 percent thicker, juicier beef patty, Wendy’s new Real Hot ‘N Juicy burgers also come with a buttered and toasted bun and new premium toppings like crispy crinkle-cut pickles, red onion and two slices of real New Zealand Colby cheese.

Served in restaurants starting Monday, even the packaging has had an overhaul with all Wendy’s burgers now wrapped in wax paper and served in a customised half-box, so customers can better see and smell their hot ‘n juicy burger.

The first modifications in nearly 25 years, the move is a significant one for the locally-owned company and follows similar changes in the United States last year.

The culmination of several years’ analysis and testing by Wendy’s in the States (followed by some fine-tuning for the New Zealand market), ‘Project Gold Hamburger’ saw more than 10,000 American consumers consulted on their likes and dislikes.

A pickle chemist was consulted, customers were quizzed on their lettuce knowledge, and executives went on a cross-country burger eating tour.

Every aspect of the burger build was scrutinised including whether to switch from white onions to red (they did), to change the fat/lean ratio of the meat (they didn't), or go with plain or crinkled pickles (they picked crinkled.)

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Wendy’s New Zealand CEO Danielle Lendich says the new 40 percent thicker patty is still 100 percent pure, fresh New Zealand prime beef, but the new way it is made gives it a looser bite, significantly improving the juiciness, flavour and texture.

“Unlike other fast food companies that freeze their beef, Wendy’s has never compromised on freshness,” says Lendich. “We believe that fresh beef simply tastes better. Now with the new Real Hot ‘N Juicy burger, we can proudly tell burger lovers everywhere that at Wendy’s, ‘Here’s the Beef!’”

While closely following in the footsteps of its American parent company, Lendich says some modifications have been made for the local market.

Real New Zealand Colby has replaced the processed cheese once used by Wendy’s and still used by its competitors, with a standard cheeseburger now having two slices instead of one. “Did you know processed cheese is only 72 percent cheese? Makes you wonder what the other 28 percent is doesn’t it.”

“They also changed their mayo in the States, but our testing showed our customers like our mayo so we’ve stuck with the same.”

Lendich is confident New Zealanders will like the changes. She says Wendy’s burgers have been consistently ranked the best tasting in New Zealand in an independent survey for several years running. And while the surveys don’t take into account the new build, feedback during instore testing was favourable and allowed for fine-tuning.

Believing that real quality taste starts with real quality ingredients, the company sources almost all its ingredients from within New Zealand.

“Our tomatoes, onions and lettuce all come from local growers, not far down the road from here actually. Our cheese is from a supplier in Christchurch and our free-range eggs from a farm in the South Island. Even our sauces and syrups are locally made.”

Still working with many of the same suppliers it first opened with, the company will celebrate 25 years with its meat supplier Wilson Hellaby later this year. Such relationships are integral to the success of the company says Lendich, which continues to operate as a family-owned business with old-fashioned values.

The second generation of Lendichs to head the company, Danielle follows in the footsteps of dad Danny and mum Dianne, who first established Wendy’s in New Zealand. A “Westie” family with firm roots in West Auckland, head office still sits above the original Te Atatu restaurant.

With both parents taking a back seat as company directors these days, 40-year old Danielle controls the franchise which has more than 520 staff on the payroll and 17 stores around the North Island including Tauranga, Rotorua and Kapiti.

New stores are scheduled to open in Palmerston North later this year and in Hamilton, Whangarei and Christchurch next year. Only open three months before the earthquake, the Hereford St store proved overwhelmingly successful over that time.

Lendich says the company is also looking at other stores further afield such as in Wellington, Christchurch central, Dunedin, Hawkes Bay, New Plymouth and Wanganui, but this would be over the medium to long term.

Queen St and Otara were also refurbished last year and Te Atatu is next on the list.

© Scoop Media

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