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Wendy’s is one of the biggest American international fast-food restaurants. The company was founded by Dave Thomas in 1969 and today it accounts for almost 7,000 locations all over the world. Wendy’s biggest competitors are McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. These companies were founded earlier and became pioneers in the fast-food industry. Nevertheless, Wendy’s grows steadily and develops fast, though it still cannot overcome the success of its main competitors. In order to understand its weak and strong sides, the company should provide a detailed analysis of its competitors and find out what opportunities and advantages can be used to help it to be competitive in the market and become the leader among other fast-food restaurants. The analysis must base on the menus’ comparison, prices, food variety, service, advertising tools, and quality of the meal. All these aspects will be crucial in identifying the strong and weak sides of Wendy’s comparing to other fast-food restaurants. Thus, the competitive strength analysis will indicate on Wendy’s weaknesses and explain what gaps are necessary to fix in order to become a leader in this industry.
The Main Competitors
McDonald’s is the biggest fast-food restaurant chain all over the world, which accounts for about 35,000 outlets in 120 countries. This restaurant is considered to be the first and the most popular not only in the United States but also all over the world. Wendy’s, comparing to McDonald’s, provides only 6,700 outlets, and the number of countries, where this food is served is lower. However, the biggest challenge that Wendy’s faces are the competitor’s brand name. McDonald’s is so popular that it is known by everybody, even by those people who have never eaten from McDonald’s.
The name of McDonald’s has become the synonym to a fast-food restaurant and many people associate the term ‘fast-food’ exactly with McDonald’s, but not any other restaurant. The popularization and wide spreading of McDonald led to the appearing of such term, as McDonaldization, which refers to globalization. Hence, McDonald’s is viewed as a global network, which adopts the principles of globalization. According to this fact, Wendy’s challenge lies in the brand name and great popularization of its main competitor. No other fast-food restaurant is able to replace McDonald’s from its top position. However, it does not mean that Wendy’s does not have an opportunity to do it.
The point why McDonald’s is so successful is its advertising and promoting campaign. According to the analysis of Wendy’s, the restaurant had significant challenges with this aspect. However, today the situation may change due to reviewing some standard principles in advertising. Comparing to McDonald’s, which promotes its product in an old way using billboards and TV advertisements, Wendy’s targets more of a digital world. Today, in the world of computerized society, Internet advertising becomes more effective and less expensive. Wendy’s expects to target the bigger audience using the online sources for advertizing like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others. On the other hand, Burger King, which is larger than Wendy’s, also uses the same techniques to promote its products. For instance, Burger King, as well as Wendy’s, offers its clients the opportunity to order a meal online. Hence, if Wendy’s could use an online advantage over McDonald’s to promote its brand, it will not work with Burger King, which is the second main competitor.
Another significant Wendy’s disadvantage is its breakfast menu. The restaurant still does not create a breakfast menu that could be at least viewed as ordinary. For instance, McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC offer their clients special offers in the morning. Their breakfast menus differ from those that are served during a day, especially in McDonald’s. One cannot find an ordinary hamburger or cheeseburger there in the morning. However, there is a great variety of dishes, such as Steak, Egg & Cheese McMuffin, Egg White Delight McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin, and others. In fact, they are very similar to ordinary burgers but contain the ingredients that people are used to eating on breakfast, such as eggs, bacon, and sausages. In this way, McDonald’s tries to make its morning menu very close to the people’s morning nutrition. Such marketing step makes McDonald’s closer to the clients, while the absence of the morning menu in Wendy’s turns into a serious disadvantage.
Burger King uses a similar strategy, offering the morning menu to its clients. The restaurant’s choice consists of King Muffin with eggs and bacon, Egg and Cheese Muffin, Sausage Muffin, and some combos like the Breakfast of Champions, which consists of muffin, sandwich, hushbites, and coffee or Morning Kick Start of Eggs Bene Deluxe, muffin and hushbites. As one can see, Burger King’s morning menu may also offer a great variety of morning meals. Moreover, this restaurant has designed special offers and advertising mottos to attract customers for breakfast. The KFC’s menu is not as big as McDonald’s or Burger King’s, but it also includes some dishes that are served only in the morning. For instance, these are scrambled eggs, pancakes, and waffles. Such dishes cannot be found in McDonald’s or Burger King’s breakfast menus, which make KFC’s morning menu unique and unordinary.
Wendy’s morning menu is very limited. The only difference between the breakfast menu and the day menu is sandwiches with eggs and sausage egg burritos. However, even these dishes cannot be competitive comparing to those offered by McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC. The issue concerning Wendy’s morning menu has been raised many times in the company, but still, there were not taken any measures to fix that problem. The Wendy’s morning menu is one of the biggest weaknesses of this restaurant, and as a result, the company loses potential clients in the morning because they prefer to have breakfast in other places, where they can find a well-combined breakfast.
Wendy’s breakfast menu is poor, but the restaurant has one significant advantage over other competitors. Wendy’s has a so-called ‘dollar menu’, where all the dishes cost 99 cents, including burgers, fries, drinks, and nuggets. This menu is quite cheap and comfortable for those who do not want to spend much money but want to have a menu that consists of different dishes. In this case, Wendy’s dollar menu becomes a leader among all other fast-food restaurants’ offers because none of them can offer the similar to the customers.
All fast-food restaurants have some kind of food specialization. For instance, McDonald’s is famous for its classical hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Burger King also introduces burgers, but one cannot find there such a great variety of burgers as in McDonald’s. The visitors may try different types of burgers in Burger King, such as double burger, triple burger, long cheeseburger, and many others. Hence, if McDonald’s presents the common types of hamburgers and cheeseburgers, Burger King may surprise its visitors with an incredible variety of burgers. Thus, the strong side of Burger King is the variety, which makes this fast-food restaurant competitive to McDonald’s.
KFC also introduces something unique and new to its visitors. The fast-food restaurant offers sandwiches and burgers, but its main competitive strength lies in chicken dishes. The restaurant offers a unique way of cooking fried chicken, which cannot be found in any other fast-food restaurant. Hence, talking about menu advantage, it is necessary to say that KFC becomes a leader here due to its delicious chicken menu and special way of cooking chicken.
As one can see, every Wendy’s competitor has something unique that it may offer to the visitors. McDonald’s introduces the classical fast-food menu; Burger King is famous for its great variety of burgers of different sizes and tastes, while KFC attracts customers with its chicken menu. However, when one talks about Wendy’s, it is difficult to outline some specific features that will differentiate it from any other ordinary fast-food restaurant. Wendy’s menu does not include any specific dishes that can attract people and make them visit only this restaurant. For instance, there are clients who visit KFC only to buy their chicken or there are those who go to Burger King to taste a triple whopper sandwich. However, Wendy’s cannot introduce anything that may make clients choose exactly this restaurant among all others. The restaurant does not have a great variety of burgers and its chicken menu is similar to the one that can be found in McDonald’s or any other fast-food restaurant. Moreover, the restaurant does not offer any specific salads or desserts that can be viewed as an advantage. Thus, it can be said that Wendy’s menu is a classical example of the fast-food menu. However, if one wants to become more than a supplier of the ordinary fast-food meal, it will have to invent something that will be viewed as a brand by clients. According to this fact, it can be said that Wendy’s disadvantage and one of the biggest weaknesses is its standard menu. The restaurant with the classical fast-food menu cannot be competitive to those restaurants, which are able to introduce something new and unique. The United States has dozens of different fast-food restaurants, but only the most unique and unordinary of them become the favorites among the clients.
Besides significant disadvantages, Wendy’s also has something that can be viewed as a competitive advantage against fast-food leaders. For instance, it is the quality of food, which Wendy’s offers to its clients. The restaurant provides food of better quality than any other of its competitors. Despite the brand names of McDonald’s, KFC, and Burger King, the quality of food in Wendy’s is much higher. The top rate captures Subway and Wendy’s. They are the ultimate leaders and have a high level of customers’ trust, while McDonald’s and Burger King have a medium level of customer trust. KFC is below the medium. The visitors of fast-food restaurants state that Wendy’s food is healthier and fresher compared to that of McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. This advantage is important for Wendy’s since it demonstrates that this restaurant pays more attention to food quality than even the brand ones.
Taking into consideration all the advantages and disadvantages, one may provide a final overview of the competitive strength of Wendy’s. First, it is better to start with the disadvantages and those solutions that can be taken in order to minimize them. The biggest of Wendy’s disadvantage is the absence of the brand product. Wendy’s cannot offer anything new to the customers. The restaurant’s menu does not contain any specific dishes, which can be found only in this restaurant. Hence, Wendy’s is not separated among the great number of all other fast-food restaurants that exist in the United States. Next, it is the breakfast menu, which is the weakest point of the restaurant. Wendy’s simply cannot offer anything specifically for breakfast. The restaurant’s morning menu does not include the common dishes that people used to eat for breakfast. Hence, every morning Wendy loses its potential clients who could not find the favorite morning dishes in Wendy’s and that is why they use other restaurants.
Despite the two significant disadvantages, Wendy’s is able to introduce something that can be viewed as a competitive force towards McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC. First and probably one of the most important things is the quality of food. The great popularity of McDonald’s and Burger King does not mean that the quality of food there is at the highest level. Despite its third position among fast-food restaurants, Wendy’s keeps staying in the top list of high food quality restaurants. Another competitive advantage is the methods and targets of advertising. Wendy’s uses cyberspace much to promote its products. The company applies to YouTube, social networks, and other internet tools to provide effective advertisement. The company understands that its biggest audience is millennials who spend much time online. Hence, in order to target this audience effectively, it is necessary to use those methods, which will provide the best results; in this case, it is the Internet.
Wendy’s menu is not unique and it does not provide an effective breakfast offer, but there is one crucial aspect, which differs Wendy’s menu from any other. The ‘one dollar’ menu is a good offer for those who want to save money. The amount of food is less on this menu than in the ordinary one, but one can buy anything for 99 cents there. Hence, it is good advertising for low prices and is an effective tool to attract customers.
Summarizing all these facts, it can be said that Wendy’s requires reorganizing its managerial structure in order to fix the main problems. The point of Wendy’s mistakes is not the food itself, but the way the company develops. Wendy’s should introduce something new and then it could become a serious competitor to Burger King, McDonald’s, and KFC.
In a conclusion, it can be said that Wendy’s is far from being a leader among the fast-food restaurant's giants, but despite all the disadvantages, it keeps the high rate and has all chances to overcome the greatest fast-food restaurants, such McDonald’s and Burger King. The biggest disadvantage of Wendy’s is bad management. The identified problems concern rather the bad-organized developing campaign than the restaurant itself. However, there are such aspects that Wendy should improve, and first of all, it is the menu. Indeed, any restaurant receives popularity owing to the dishes that people can buy there. Introducing its standard menu, the restaurant should not expect the high rate position whatever good quality food is served there. The breakfast menu is not the only issue. The point is to revise the menu in general and introduce some specific dishes that could be viewed as the brand ones and refer solely to Wendy’s.
Wendy’s is standing far from McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC, but if one compares the statistic data, it turns out that Wendy’s has achieved a great success. For instance, McDonald’s has 35,000 outlets all over the world, while Wendy’s has less than 7,000. Nevertheless, Wendy’s is in the third position after McDonald’s, which indicates that even such a restaurant as Wendy’s is able to compete with the giant of the fast-food industry. If Wendy takes some measures to fix its menu and reorganize its management staff, then it could present a significant competitive force towards McDonald’s and other leaders of the fast-food industry.
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