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Wendy'€™s Jumps on the Fast Food Renovation Bandwagon

Wendy’s announced Thursday that it will unveil the design of its new logo in March. The change is part of an overhauling effort on the fast-food chain’s part to synchronize the brand with contemporary consumer preferences and to increase customer satisfaction.

Cheap, produce-rich menu options that feature variety and uniqueness are sprouting throughout U.S. Americans seem to be trading the typical burger-fries-shake meal for a Waldorf salad or a Falafel sandwich. Chains like McDonald’s, Burger King and now Wendy’s are striving more than ever to portray their restaurants as integral parts of their customers’ fun, active and social lifestyles.

"We are improving the total customer experience, with bold restaurant designs, fresh product innovation, more engaging advertising and digital media advancements," said Emil Brolick, Wendy's president and chief executive officer. “Today, we are unveiling the first Wendy's brand logo change in nearly 30 years, and next March we will introduce it across all of our consumer touch points.”

Prepping for a comeback
Wendy’s has suffered in recent quarters from rising commodity costs, failed marketing programs and remodeling investment costs, according to MarketWatch. In an effort to boost its promotions, Wendy’s brought on former Procter & Gamble Co. executive Craig Bahner in March to report directly to Brolick.

According to Wendy’s, the brand transformation will take place over several years of massive renovations. Restaurants will undergo "Image Activation," and feature modern interiors with lounge seating with fireplaces, flat-screen TVs and Wi-Fi accessibility. The company plans to remodel 50 percent of its restaurants by the end of 2015, and is offering $10 million in incentives to franchisees to “re-image” their restaurants in 2013.

The food selection is getting a makeover as well. Salads, complex sandwiches and russet potato fries have found their places alongside the famous square-pattied burgers in menus throughout the 6,500 franchise and company restaurants.

Embracing the 'fresh' model
The big word that many fast-food giants strive to associate themselves with today is “fresh.” Wendy’s and its competitors are trying to appeal to a growing “foodie culture,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Restaurants like Chipotle and Panera that offer higher-quality food options are doing very well. Fast-food companies are creating colorful menu items like Taco Bell’s “Cantina Bell” options to emulate these other restaurants, according to The Wall Street Journal, to transform their images from fast-food to “fast casual.”

"Consumers are exposed to a lot more these days with the Food Channel and food blogs, and the more exposed they are to new flavors, textures and ingredients, the more they demand and expect from every restaurant they visit,"  Lori Estrada, culinary vice president at Wendy's  told The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Wendy’s marketing strategies have already seen a transformation. This past spring, the company broadcasted new commercials featuring Wendy Thomas, the now grown-up redhead after whom the chain was named. The company is also attempting to reach customers with  its mobile Nutrition app.

As for the logo itself, which was created by designer Tesser, the new icon will appear on packaging, employee uniforms, restaurant signage, menu boards and websites, as well as in advertisements. The slightly modified pig-tailed redhead still appears in the logo.