Burger giants Wendy’s and Jack in the Box reported strong performances in the last quarter. Both had solid same-store sales; both credited their gains in part to menu innovation. But 36-store Good Times Burgers & Frozen Custard proved their match in both categories.
Golden-Colo. based Good Times reported a same-store sales gain of 12.5 percent for the quarter ended June 20, 2014. That was on top of a 15.2 percent increase a year earlier. The chain has achieved the stunning gains by tightening operations and innovating on the menu. Last month it introduced a Hatch Valley Green Chile menu that includes Green Chile Chicken, Burger and Chorizo Tortas. “This introduction is further support to our brand position of offering authentic regional ingredients in handcrafted menu items that are unique to Good Times,” said Boyd Hoback, President & CEO. “We believe we have some of the best green chile available in Colorado and our success with Green Chile Cheese Fries and our Breakfast Burritos is a natural opportunity to extend the offerings.” The menu also has the PawBender for dogs: vanilla custard, doggie biscuits and peanut butter in a cup.
Good Times also is opening full-service Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar in Colorado through its BD of Colorado subsidiary. A second unit recently opened in Northglenn, Colo., and a third opens this fall. Another five to eight are planned for 2015, “all of which are in upscale lifestyle shopping centers with solid upper-middle income demographics, which appears to be the sweet spot for the Bad Daddy’s concept,” Hoback said. A separate subsidiary—Bad Daddy’s Franchise Development LLC–handles Bad Daddy’s franchising outside Colorado.
• Wendy’s reported a 3.9 percent same-store sales gain for its 1,005 company-owned stores and a 3.1 percent rise for its 6,547 franchised units. The company also announced plans to sell its 135 company stores in Canada to franchisees there. This comes as it is refranchising 418 restaurants in the U.S.
CEO Emil Brolick credited the gains to its “Image Activation [remodeling] program and spring product promotions, including our Tuscan Chicken on Ciabatta sandwich and our new Asian Cashew Chicken, Barbeque Ranch Chicken and Strawberry Fields Chicken salads, [which] helped drive sales in the second quarter by successfully leveraging our brand heritage of quality and innovation.”
• Jack in the Box also pointed to menu innovation as a reason for its 2.4 percent increase in same-store sales during its Q# ended July 6, 2014. Management pointed to the Hella-peňo Munchie Meal and Breakfast Monster Taco as having helped sales in its strongest daypart: late night and breakfast. The chain is rolling out a Spicy Chicken Club sandwich, in addition to the Croissant Donuts and larger breakfast burritos it introduced earlier this week.
EVP-CFO Jerry Rebel promised “menu innovations in all dayparts” in the future, adding that “product innovation is going to drive success.” That innovation will include new platforms, new ingredients and new presentations, he said.