Starting Monday, a Frosty Strawberry is on US menus for a limited time. Prices for the new Frosty vary by city, and strawberry is temporarily replacing vanilla — although Wendy’s promised the flavor would return after the promotion.
The strawberry proved popular when it was added to menus in Canada last year, becoming one of the online channel’s “most talked about items”, said Wendy’s chief marketing officer Carl Loredo. in an exclusive interview with CNN Business.
Strawberry Frosties aren’t the only limited-time item at Wendy’s starting Monday. Summer Strawberry Chicken Salad is also back for the third summer in a row, a mix of freshly sliced strawberries, bacon and grilled chicken served on a bed of crispy lettuce and spring mix.
Like other chains, Wendy’s has been hit hard by rising raw material and labor costs, which have squeezed margins. In the first quarter, global sales at Wendy’s restaurants that have been open for at least 15 months rose 2.4%, lagging their competitors. By comparison, McDonald’s sales at global restaurants open at least 13 months jumped 11.8%, while Burger King’s sales at restaurants open at least a year rose 10.3%.
On a recent analyst call, Wendy’s executives said first-quarter results fell short of expectations. “The first quarter, from a margin perspective, didn’t go entirely to plan,” Wendy’s chief financial officer Gunther Plosch said on a call with analysts in May. “We missed sales slightly,” he said, adding that “commodity and labor inflation was a bit higher than we expected.”
Wendy’s shares are down more than 20% so far this year.
— Danielle Wiener-Bronner of CNN Business contributed to this report.