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Despite supply issues, Wendy’s sales climb nearly to 2019 levels

The burger chain said same-store sales were down just 1.9% for May.
Wendy's
Photograph: Shutterstock

Wendy’s supply of beef has returned to “near-normal” levels after spot outages in North America forced the burger giant in May to drop some specialties from its digital menus and steer customers to chicken products, the company said yesterday.

Despite the supply disruptions, the average sales for mature Wendy’s restaurants in the U.S. climbed during the month to within 1.9% of the year-ago mean, the franchisor said in a midquarter business update. In contrast, domestic same-store sales were down 14% for the month ended May 3.

Like many publicly owned chains, Wendy’s had used sporadic business updates to keep investors apprised of the business’s overall health during the coronavirus pandemic. In another sign of conditions returning to normal, Wendy’s said it would discontinue the updates and resume quarterly reports on its fiscal performance.

With the regain of revenues, Wendy’s finished the quarter ended May 31 with same-store sales down 8.6%.

It attributed the climb in sales in part to the popularity of a new breakfast menu, which accounted for 8% of U.S. sales during the month.

The majority of Wendy’s restaurants are still limiting their operations to drive-thru and takeout, the franchisor said. Headquarters said it is leaving the decision of whether to reopen to its individual operators.

Many food processors pared back their operations in March and April because of manpower shortages brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and mandated social distancing. Many restaurant chains were able to draw off stockpiles of frozen beef, but Wendy’s specializes in fresh beef. The nonfrozen meat is now being delivered two to three times per week, “consistent with normal delivery schedules,” the company said.

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