Wendy’s is an international fast-food restaurant chain that is famous for its hamburgers, french fries, Frosty, chicken nuggets, sandwiches, and even its Twitter account. Its hamburgers are actually squares instead of the usual round patties, which the company uses to add to its uniqueness. The point of the square patties is so the hamburger hangs over the edge of the bun, which is a signature look for its popular hamburgers. Wendy’s is also known to be very affordable with global promotions such as the 4 for $4 meal that includes: a hamburger or sandwich, chicken nuggets, french fries and a drink. Additionally, the fast-food chain offers a 50-cent ice cream dessert called the Frosty. On Twitter, Wendy’s likes to be responsive, aggressive, funny and even critical towards its direct competitors such as McDonald’s, Burger King and others. A perfect example of how Wendy’s acts on Twitter was when its account dissed McDonald’s for supposedly using frozen beef in its hamburgers with the goal of making them look bad while giving readers a good laugh. In response to a McDonald’s tweet that informed followers that all Quarter Pounder burgers would be cooked with fresh beef in most of its restaurants, Wendy’s tweeted: “[email protected] So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend”. Wendy’s Twitter account decided to manipulate the actual meaning of McDonald’s tweet by simply switching the words “most” and “all” as well as by adding “frozen beef” in place of “fresh beef”. Wendy’s has a history of making up fake flaws in its competitors’ food through corporate communication vehicles such as social media posts, advertisements, and commercials.
For the most part, Wendy’s is an ethical company however, it had one blunder in March of 2017. At that time, a crowd of protestors traveled to New York City in order to stand outside of Nelson Peltz’s offices, who was a non-executive chairman of the board of Wendy’s. These protestors consisted of farmers that participated in a worker-based organization from Immokalee, Florida who picked tomatoes for Wendy’s. The protestors belonged to an organization known as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, (CIW). The CIW works tirelessly to protect the basic human rights of farmers and prevent human trafficking as well as gender-based violence in the workplace. In 2005, the CIW created a program that protects tomato farmers from being oppressed at work. The program is called the Fair Food Program, FFP and once tomato farms sign it, they can only purchase tomatoes from farms with labor standards that align with the FFP. It was signed by many corporations in the retail and fast-food industries such as Mc Donald’s, Walmart, Subway and Taco Bell. This means that these corporations agreed to pay money to the Fair Food Program in order to increase the wages of tomato farmers. Wendy’s made a mistake by refusing to agree to the FFP, which resulted in a lot of angry people and an NYC protest that called for people to boycott Wendy’s. The fast-food giant responded to its decision not to sign the FFP with a statement from its spokeswoman, Heidi Schaurer. She said, “We do not believe that joining the Fair Food Program is the only way to act responsibly, and we pride ourselves on our relationships with industry-leading suppliers who share our commitment to quality, integrity, and ethics”. Wendy’s handled this situation in a simple way; by making a public statement. Based on the minimal and bias media coverage that this event received, it is clear that Wendy’s was not greatly affected by what transpired. All of the articles written about the boycott and Wendy’s decision to not agree to the FFP came from websites that were owned by the CIW, the protestors and other bias sources. Since this incident did not garner much media attention, Wendy’s image and reputation are still intact however, the people involved in the protests still have a negative perception of Wendy’s because the company did not agree to protect and pay tomato farmers as they should have.
The identity of a company is based on how it appears through its logo, products, name, brand and services. The most recognizable aspect of Wendy’s are its products because people go to Wendy’s for the 4 for $4 deal, Frostys, The Baconator and other tasty options. This is what attracts people to spend money at Wendy’s however, a major part of Wendy’s brand is its presence on Twitter. According to a Forbes article that spoke about the characteristics of Wendy’s Twitter account, simple persuasion is big deal for fast-food restaurants: “These tweets have absolutely nothing to do with the taste or price of Wendy’s burgers. Still, simply mentioning a specific burger puts that burger top of mind, and could encourage a passerby to choose Wendy’s over a competitor’s restaurant”. Social media is an integral part of any brand in today’s world because of its role in society. Social media platforms allow people to be more aware of promotions, reviews, and products. DeMers also stated that Wendy’s has great brand appeal due to its online humor, “Finally, the cheeky humor is bound to endear the brand to a niche segment of users, making them more loyal”.
Clearly, Wendy’s has great brand recognition because of its products to go along with its outgoing social media personality.
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