This Foodie Friday comes in the midst of various companies announcing their financial results. One of those companies is Wendy’s, which reported weaker than expected sales growth. That’s not particularly unusual for any company, but I think there’s a business lesson in the thinking behind their reasoning for the weak results. Let’s see what you think.
According to Wendy’s, people aren’t dining out as much because it has gotten even cheaper to eat at home. Bulletin to the financial folks at the company: it’s generally been cheaper to eat at home. I can’t ever recall anyone I know saying let’s go out to eat and save some money, even when our destination is a fast-food place. In my mind, that’s not why people choose to dine out. It may be more convenient or they might just not feel like cooking. Maybe there is a time crunch (although unless you’re already out and about, you can probably whip up a couple of burgers in the time it would take to get to Wendy’s and eat). Wendy’s isn’t alone in either the weak results or the unusual reasoning, at least according to this article:
The results from Wendy’s follow disappointing sales from other chains including McDonald’s, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks. The other chains have cited a variety of reasons, including the political uncertainty created by the presidential election, for their performance.
Let’s accept that their reasoning is sound (hmm). Any of us in business realize that there are always any number factors beyond our control. Commodity prices, which can be strongly influenced by the biggest thing out of our control – the weather – are certainly one factor in the food industry. What we can control is how we give our customers a reason to come patronize us, regardless of the cost. We ought to be selling value. Unfortunately, in the food business “value menu” has become synonymous with “cheap.” That can only work for so long, especially, as in this case, as the costs of making our product or providing our service rise.
Solve consumers’ problems and provide excellent value at a reasonable (but profitable) cost. Give them a reason to turn off the stove and get in the car. Let’s see where that gets us.