Wendy’s Menu borrows a hit idea from Taco Bell

For decades, fast food has been largely about food. Chains like McDonald’s (MCD) – Get the McDonald’s Corporation report and Restaurant Brands International (RSQ) – Get the Restaurant Brands International Inc report Burger King has changed up the mainstays of its menu, trying all sorts of new versions of the iconic Big Mac and Whopper.

They’ve done this while expanding their chicken offering and even getting a foothold in the world of plant-based foods (although that didn’t go over very well). Both chains have never stopped innovating, but they have largely kept this innovation on the food side of the menu.

Sure, McDonald’s expanded its coffee offerings by making it kind of second-rate Starbucks. (SBUX) – Get the Starbucks Corporation report counterfeit, but beverage innovation has not been a major area of ​​change for McDonald’s or Burger King. Rival Taco Bell, however, has made interesting/weird drinks a mainstay of its menu. The Yum! Brands (YUM) – Get yum! Report Brands, Inc. chain has made drinks as much a part of its ever-changing menu as food.

No other chain has experimented with drinks as much as Taco Bell – even sister brands Pizza Hut and KFC have largely ignored this part of the menu – but Wendy’s has slowly made drink innovation a bigger part of its menu. . Today, the second-largest hamburger chain in the United States (sorry, Burge King) is offering a new drink to entice customers.

Wendy’s adds a new drink

McDonald’s and Burger King have largely stuck to the classic soda and shake model pioneered by burger chains. They’ve tried other offerings (more Burger King than McDonald’s), but the drink of choice is still a soft drink (or, in recent years, milk for kids and water for people looking for a drink). healthy option).

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Taco Bell has been extremely innovative when it comes to the beverage side of the menu. It offered everything from frozen slush-style drinks to new Mountain Dew flavors, various lemonades and other new drinks.

Wendy’s followed that up with a wide selection of lemonades joining its line of classic sodas. Now the channel has expanded that offering to include a new take on the classic.

The fast food chain has expanded its line of Dave’s Craft Lemonades to include Sunburst Melon Lemonade, chew reported for the first time.

“Described as the lemonade version of a fruit salad, new Sunburst Melon Lemonade blends the brand’s all-natural lemonade with the sunny flavors of watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi and strawberry,” the website reported. . “You can find Sunburst Melon Lemonade at participating Wendy’s locations nationwide, alongside Dave’s new line of craft lemonades, including Pineapple Mango Lemonade, Whole natural and strawberry lemonade.”

Why are fast food drinks important?

Drinks come with a very high margin for restaurants. This can be especially important in fast-food chains where an innovative drink can drive low-margin food sales. The drink, which costs next to nothing to make (the mug is usually the most expensive piece of it), can incur higher costs for beef, chicken, and other ingredients, resulting in profitable checks.

“A large soft drink might only cost you a few dollars, but for restaurants, that can translate to a profit margin of up to 90%. Each soft drink sold costs the restaurant less than a quarter,” Mashed reported. “High profit margins on soft drinks are one of the reasons fast food restaurants can afford to offer cheap options like dollar menus. money on these items, they more than make up for it with soda sales.”

And, as Americans have reduced their consumption of sodas, alternatives, even ones that may not be better for you like lemonade, have become increasingly important when it comes to increasing checks. and the margins. A single drink can drive someone to a restaurant, cause them to spend more money on their meal, and make them feel better about their decision because they chose not to have soda (even if they didn’t). not actually cut down on sugar or calorie intake).

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