September 30, 2008 / 6:44 AM / 9 years ago

New Wendy's to target older customers-WSJ

Sept 30 (Reuters) - Newly-merged fast-food chain Wendy‘s/Arby’s Group Inc WEN.N, plans to re-work its menu and target older customers, Chief Executive Roland Smith told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Wendy‘s/Arby’s was formed when Triarc, the investment arm of billionaire investor Nelson Peltz and owner of the Arby’s sandwich chain, took over hamburger chain Wendy’s International Inc for $2.2 billion. The deal closed on Monday.

Smith said that Wendy‘s/Arby’s plans to target the 24 to 49 year age group, reversing its previous strategy of courting the 18 to 24 years age demography, according to the paper.

The paper quoted Smith, who is also Chief Executive of Triarc Cos Inc TRY.N, saying that Wendy’s plans to change its value menu “somewhat in the next year,” as it faces higher ingredient and labor costs.

Smith also told the paper that Wendy’s is considering adding items to its menu while increasing some prices but declined to specify how the menu would be different.

The company, which will now rival McDonald’s Corp (MCD.N), Burger King Holdings Inc BKC.N and CKE Restaurants Inc’s CKR.N Carl’s Jr, needed to reformulate some of its breakfast items and improve its coffee, Smith said.

Wendy’s executives had struggled to revive business at the third-largest U.S. hamburger chain since the 2002 death of company founder Dave Thomas, an advertising cult hero who starred in more than 800 commercials starting in 1989. (Reporting by Savio D‘Souza in Bangalore; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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