Wendy's Is Making a Major Change to Its French Fries
In the past 50 years, Wendy's has only changed its French fries twice. The Dublin, Ohio-based fast food chain stuck with the same recipe for 41 years, before transitioning to a "natural cut" fry seasoned with sea salt in late 2010. Those fries have been on the menu ever since — but that's about to change.
On Thursday, Wendy's announced that it would be shaking up its fries again, so to speak. The new French fries have been redesigned to stay hot and crispy for up to 30 minutes after being taken out of the fryer and placed into a cardboard carton. This change appears to be Wendy's way of acknowledging that its customers are increasingly opting for drive-thru orders, meals-to-go, or third-party delivery apps instead of dining in — and they're trying to ensure that everyone is happy whenever they reach into the bag to grab that first handful of fries.
"We know COVID changed the game when it comes to how our customers are getting their food," Emily Kessler, Wendy's senior specialist for culinary and innovation, said according to Nations Restaurant News. "That accelerated the need to develop to make sure our fries are withstanding that delivery experience."
Wendy's discussed the new fries during a Zoom press conference, and NRN reports that the new fries have a new "not-exactly-square" shape to help them retain heat, and there's a "whisper"-thin coating of batter that keeps them crispier, longer. "It looks like a standard French fry," John Li, Wendy's vice president of culinary innovation said during the press conference. "But it is not a standard French fry."
Restaurant Business reports that the development process for the new fries took more than two years. Two of the non-negotiables for the fries had to be that it would still be a skin-on version — like the ones that are currently available — and it had to be strong enough to withstand being dunked into a Frosty. "They want to be able to dip that fry," Kessler said. "These fries hold up even better for that dipping experience."
This could be a big gamble for Wendy's: Li said that French fries are Wendy's best-selling menu items, and they're also the first thing that everyone reaches for as soon as they receive their orders. The new Hot & Crispy Fry is currently being rolled out to restaurants throughout the U.S., and they are expected to be on the menu in Canada by October.