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Date published: 1/3/2013
AP Food Industry Writer
NEW YORK--Wendy's no longer thinks a hamburger has to be 99 cents to be a deal.
The fast-food company known for its Frosty shakes and square burgers has replaced its 99-cent value menu with a beefed-up array of options called "Right Price Right Size," with items ranging from 99 cents to $1.99. At a time when costs for meat, cheese and other ingredients are rising, the revamped menu is intended to give budget-minded diners more options, while giving Wendy's more flexibility on pricing.
The switch to the "Right Price Right Size" value menu reflects the cost pressures facing fast-food chains. Burger King and McDonald's have already moved past the $1 price point, offering tiered value menus that go up to around $2.
When it was introduced a decade ago, for example, McDonald's Dollar Menu included the Big 'N Tasty burger made with a quarter-pound beef patty. But the Dollar Menu has gradually gotten skimpier, with small fries being taken off the roster last year.
Although items on value menus tend to be less profitable, they play an important role in attracting customers who often end up spending more on other items. In testing over the past year, the "Right Price Right Size" menu not only boosted customer traffic, but also increased the average check size, said Craig Bahner, chief marketing officer at The Wendy's Co.