What Purposeful Sourcing Means to Wendy's

How and Why We’ve Rolled Up Our Sleeves to Source the Best


With purpose. On purpose. Purposeful. It’s the opposite of accidental or by chance and it’s how we approach everything we do at Wendy’s, including how we’ve sourced our food from Day One. It’s meant going against the grain of conventional fast food to insist on fresh beef for our hamburgers rather than frozen patties. It’s meant bacon cooked fresh in our restaurants and salads made daily from the freshest ingredients. It’s rooted in the idea of Purposeful Sourcing, because in order to serve up this kind of quality consistently, you have to make an effort. Building this kind of food supply chain doesn’t just happen by accident.

Ironically, this idea of purposeful sourcing wasn’t actually on purpose. It grew out of our decades-long quest to find the best quality ingredients to make the best tasting hamburgers, chicken sandwiches and salads. Along the way, we’ve figured out that if we want to ensure we have ongoing access to the types of ingredients we demand, we have to set up relationships with progressive suppliers and be very strategic in how we grow our supply chain. Viewed another way, we don’t just show up to the grocery store and hope we’ll find something we like. We help stock the store so we know what we need will be available.

In many cases, that means going outside conventional sourcing practices to ask for something different and better. We did that with our chicken once we realized that sourcing smaller birds would vastly improve how tender and juicy our filets would be. And we’ve done that with fresh produce, going to great lengths to try to replicate the garden-grown, backyard taste you expect from tomatoes and bringing flavors to the fast food world that haven’t been tried before.

Fresh, never frozen beef is a hallmark of Wendy’s of course, but the “on purpose” part goes beyond avoiding freezers. It also means that we only source from cattle that were specifically raised for beef. There are lots of older dairy cows that eventually enter the beef supply, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They just don’t enter the Wendy’s beef supply. We source from farms that have raised animals strictly for high-quality beef grades like Prime or Choice because we believe they make the best hamburgers.

We do the same with our bacon, sourcing only high-quality pork bellies from “market hogs,” which means the animals were raised to be, well, bacon. Other pigs are in the pork supply chain too, like breeding sows (or mother pigs that are intended for breeding). Nothing wrong with that, but they’re just not “on purpose” or the kind of quality the Baconator deserves.

This purposeful commitment also means our supply chain looks different than our competitors’ and peers’. For instance, when we work with our beef suppliers to reduce antibiotic use, we’re focused on the type of treatment that beef cattle typically receive, not the broader universe of treatments that might be used in a supply chain that includes longer-lived dairy cows. And our quality standards for fresh produce exceed what’s required because we serve so much fresh produce and just can’t compromise on quality.

This all comes together in a vision for our food that we describe as Fast Food Done Right. Food that is Real – that we’re proud to share with our own family and friends. Food that is Fresh – with fresh ingredients that are made fresh, too. Food that is Craveable if it’s not “gotta-have-it-now” delicious, it’s just not Wendy’s. Food that Leans Forward, not back – always looking for new ingredients and flavors, without getting too trendy. And food that Doesn’t Cost a Fortune – because value matters to everyone. Overall our vision for our food is our purposeful start as a company and our current belief that drives us today to bring deliciously different food to millions of customers every day.