business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal reports that Triarc Cos., which has just acquired Wendy’s International for about $2 billion, “plans to target older customers, change its value menu and improve items like its french fries.”

According to the story, instead of focusing on 18-to-24 year old consumers, the company will market to people 24-to-49 years old, and wants to improve the quality of various menu items – and add some new ones - in order to better attract those older shoppers. Roland Smith, president and chief executive of the new Wendy's/Arby's Group, tells the Journal that the chain also expects to adjust its value menu and will raise prices to offset higher labor and ingredient costs.

KC's View:
I noticed last night a new television commercial for another fast food chain – KFC – that specifically targets the supermarket shopping experience, arguing that the time and money spent to buy the ingredients for and make fried chicken can be better spent on other things…and that it is a lot easier to simply buy a bucket of fried chicken at KFC.

I mention this because it seems to me that fast food chains – whether they be McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or KFC – probably can be expected to start marketing a lot more aggressively against supermarkets as the economic crunch continues. Which means that the supermarket industry has to do the same thing, getting aggressive about hare of stomach and not conceding any meals to anyone.

So the advice here to the supermarket industry is simple. Play hardball. Take no prisoners. Go after every meal, with an argument that targets specific customers in focused, visceral ways.