Culinology - December 2015 - (Page 30)

A Fresh Perspective Although the tried-and-true burger remains a best seller at Wendy's, Lori Estrada develops a diverse line of fresh items to beef up an ever-popular QSR menu by Susan Malovany W " here's the beef ?" It was the catchphrase of the '80s from the quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain Wendy's Co., and unless you're a young millennial or grew up on a desert island, you remember it. Boomers certainly do. It ranks right up there with "I'll be back" and "Say hello to my little friend" from that decade. Lori Estrada, vice-president culinary innovation at Wendy's headquarters and restaurant support center in Dublin, Ohio, noted that the company reintroduced the slogan a few years ago for a limited time. "This time we asked the question, 'Where's the beef?' and now answered it with, 'Here's the beef!'" she said. And there's no doubt that the restaurant chain, with more than $2 billion in annual sales at more than 6,550 franchise locations worldwide, can deliver the beef. "Our single with cheese is our core premium hamburger that the brand was founded on, but now we also have many line extensions such as the Baconator," she explained. "Our Baconator is a focus on the same high-quality fresh beef with naturally smoked, fresh bacon - cooked in the back of our restaurants each day." But Ms. Estrada added that Wendy's has never rested on its laurels and has something for everyone at every price range. "Our top-selling menu items are not only hamburgers, but also chicken sandwiches and salads," she said. "And don't forget our Frosty." Wendy's introduces new products often, some as limited time only (LTO) specials, in the competitive QSR market. "We typically are testing anything from eight to 12 new products and launch four to six new ones every year, so we're kept busy, without a doubt," she said. "We certainly watch the competition, but our main aim is to do better than ourselves and keep upping our own game." Ms. Estrada works with a team of 24, she said, and directly manages four of them, and she reports to Kurt Kane, Wendy's chief concept and marketing officer. Her team includes culinary, food science and sensory science professionals, and she works closely with the consumer 30 | Culinology | DECEMBER 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Culinology - December 2015

Culinology - December 2015
Table of Contents
President's Letter - A day in the life
Emerging Trends - Hot cocoa flavor heats up
Gourmet porridge trend has ancient grain appeal
Ingredient Applications - Quality over calories
LYFE – Love Your Food Everyday
Flavor Trends - Sweet heat takes flight
Member Profile - A fresh perspective
Expert Voices - Cinnabon’s director of R&D finds room for innovation
Industry News - Mile High City hosts Future of Food Conference
Industry mourns loss of chef-entrepreneur Paul Prudhomme
Petits Fours - Tacos on the menu
Mintel identifies emerging trends for 2016
Ad Index

Culinology - December 2015