It is no secret that the international fast-food restaurant chain, Wendy’s, has gained a lot of attention in its social media presence lately, particularly on Twitter. The Company is not afraid to make bold, snarky statements or even make some jabs at its competitors.
Picking up their order. https://t.co/D7jK2qQO6o
— Wendy's (@Wendys) January 27, 2020
Wendy’s recently announced that it is set to launch a breakfast line nationwide on March 2, 2020, in hopes of gaining market share and compete in the breakfast category with McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Taco Bell to name a few. Items on the breakfast menu will include the Breakfast Baconator, Frosty-ccino, and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.
As consumer preferences move toward healthier options and even cooking their own meals at home, breakfast is the only category with year after year growth in the fast-food industry. Breakfast meals or snacks provide convenience and variety at one of the busiest times of customers’ days while typically being the most inexpensive meal of the day ((Bernal, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, & Gascon 2017).
Former McDonald’s head chef, Mike Haracz, is featured in all of the video advertisements for the new breakfast line posted on the Company’s sassy Twitter account endorsing the sandwiches and specialty coffee.
#WendysBreakfast is coming on 3/2. This is former McDonald’s Chef @Mike_Haracz. He’s about to learn why we’re stacking bacon six strips high on the Breakfast Baconator. What’s good, Mike? pic.twitter.com/pcxbW4BHMS
— Wendy's (@Wendys) February 5, 2020
This is only fitting considering Wendy’s past behavior on Twitter, “chirping” McDonald’s and other competitors. It is no surprise that Wendy’s would hire former McDonald’s head chef to promote the new breakfast line essentially using its competitor’s previous weapon (head chef) against them.
Wendy’s confidence and knowledge of pop culture draw fans to its accounts and it has even used fans’ tweets to go viral such as the ‘Nuggs for Life’ post in which a young man, Carter Wilkerson, had 3.4 million retweets in support of receiving free Wendy’s chicken nuggets for one year.
HELP ME PLEASE. A MAN NEEDS HIS NUGGS pic.twitter.com/4SrfHmEMo3
— Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) April 6, 2017
Only 33% of Americans have ever followed a brand and there are 320 million people on Twitter today. Wendy’s has 3.5 million followers on Twitter. Wendy’s has made a loud splash in the noisy pool of social media by engaging with fans and encouraging user-generated content.
Social media presents a huge opportunity in the fast-food industry as an inexpensive way to widely promote new campaigns and product launches such as Wendy’s did for its breakfast launch in preparation for March 2nd. It allows interaction with customers in real-time, while being agile enough to make tweaks to campaigns and messaging just about as quickly as consumers’ tastes shift.
Social media can be largely beneficial to brands by engaging with fans, but more importantly, by listening. Companies also have to be willing to actively listen to customer feedback for social media to be successful because as much as social media serves as an opportunity for brands, it also tip-toes along a thin line of a threat. Customer backlash could just as easily go viral as consumer praise, affecting consumer perception of brands and ultimately affecting sales. Companies must be very careful when hiring social media managers who show a strong understanding of the importance of sensitivity and awareness regarding culture, recent events, brand voice and tone, all while remaining authentic to the brand itself.
Bernal, Dr. Pedro Mir, et al. “(PDF) Social Media Use of Fast Food Companies.” Research Gate, 12th Iberian Conference on Information Systems and Technologies, 2017, www.researchgate.net/publication/318413570_Social_media_use_of_fast_food_companies.
“Foodservice Breakfast Is Sunny Side Up.” The NPD Group, 8 Mar. 2019, www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/blog/2019/why-the-breakfast-daypart-is-sunny-side-up/.
Lucas, Amelia. “Wendy’s to Launch Breakfast Nationwide in March.” CNBC, CNBC, 4 Feb. 2020, www.cnbc.com/2020/02/04/wendys-to-launch-breakfast-nationwide-in-march.html.
Kelso, Alicia. “Wendy’s Starts’Breakfast Battle’ on Twitter Ahead of March 2 Launch.” Forbes, 4 Feb. 2020, https://www.forbes.com/sites/aliciakelso/2020/02/04/wendys-starts-breakfast-battle-on-twitter-ahead-of-march-2-launch/#290a3ad811a6