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Wendy?s orders bigger serving of mobile

Wendy?s has plans to make mobile a key element in its digital strategy going forward and as part of the big push, the fast food giant has rolled out a mobile application that is focused on providing important nutritional information.

The My Wendy?s app enables users to create personalized orders based on calorie counts and is available for iPhone, Android devices as well as other platforms via a browser-based version. The fast food chain decided on a nutritional approach after noticing how popular such information is on its Web site.

?Wendy?s as a brand has always prided itself on the quality standards that they hold themselves to and the freshness of the food,? said Tip Rose, executive director of the retail practice at Resource Interactive, Columbus, OH.

?Wendy?s saw that a lot of people are coming to its Web site are coming to look at nutrition information,? he said. ?During the week, that is really what people are interested in before they go out to lunch.

?Being able to bring that information to a mobile device is a great way to expand the content that we already have and make it available for a larger audience that is not always in front of a computer.?

Digital agency Resource Interactive worked with Wendy?s to develop the new app.

Soft launch
Because the app is currently in soft-launch mode, there is not a lot of promotional support right now. However, once Wendy?s and Resource Interactive have worked out any bugs, the app will be promoted more heavily, most likely later this year.

At that point, the app will be tied to Wendy?s marketing around specific menu items and larger campaign initiatives.

The app is one element in the fast-food chain?s plans to increase its presence in mobile.

?Wendy?s really wants to be a leader in the digital space as it relates to bringing valuable solutions to consumers,? Mr. Rose said. ?Mobile is one of the priorities within that because we see more and more people adopting smartphones everyday and we know that they are going to be using these in stores to make purchasing decisions.?

Broad reach
Anyone using the My Wendy?s app can create meals that meet their needs and then place an order at a Wendy?s location

Users can create meals in two ways.

One way is to select a calorie range, which prompts a list of meal options.

Users can also choose specific menu items and personalize each item to reach their calorie goals. For example, users can remove the dressing from a salad to find out how many calories they would save or add cheese a sandwich to learn how this will increase the calorie count.

The app also includes additional nutrition information for each individual menu item selected beyond simply calories.

There is also a Favorites section where customers can store their menu creations.

Additionally, users can locate nearby restaurants where they can place their orders.

The mobile app was built using HTML5 technology and PhoneGap, so it is available across a wide array of devices.

The app can be downloaded for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Mobile users on other devices can access a browser-based version at Wendys.com.

?We wanted to have the broadest reach that we could given that Wendy?s has a broad reach,? Mr. Rose said.

Wendy?s is considering expanding the app in the future to include digital couponing, mobile payments and expanded nutritional information.

?We do see a lot of penetration of mobile within this space,? Mr. Rose said. ?Everyone has seen the success that a company like Starbucks has had with the things they are doing in mobile.

?We?ve looked around the space and we do feel like this is unique to have an app based on nutrition and customized meal orders,? he said. ?It is a first but I don?t expect it to be so for long as we will see some fast-followers in the next 30 to 90 days.?

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York