Wendy’s Switches from Pepsi to Coke
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Wendy’s International Inc., the nation’s third largest hamburger chain, said today it was dropping Pepsi-Cola from the menu at its company-owned outlets in favor of Coca-Cola.
Wendy’s, which ranks behind McDonald’s and Burger King, also said it would urge its franchises to make the switch. The franchises are free to serve what they choose.
The company said the move was motivated by PepsiCo Inc.’s push further into the restaurant business.
″They in effect are a competitor of ours and that is a conflict we just cannot stand,″ said Paul Raab, a spokesman for Wendy’s.
Ken Ross, a spokesman for Pepsi-Cola USA at its Purchase, N.Y. headquarters, said PepsiCo was disappointed to lose Wendy’s, which had been ″a close friend and valued customer for over 17 years.″
Ross also contended that McDonald’s, which he said served only Coca-Cola products, was the recipient of Coca-Cola’s ″best service and best ideas.″
″We believe that Coca-Cola and its business partner, McDonald’s, is the real competition for all restaurant chains in the United States and we believe that when Wendy’s gets full exposure to its new supplier, Coca-Cola, they may well reconsider today’s move,″ Ross said.
Sales of soft drink syrup to Wendy’s company-owned restaurants represents 2.5 percent of PepsiCo’s domestic fountain volume, Ross said.
Sales to all of Wendy’s restaurants, including franchises represents less than 1 percent of all of PepsiCo’s domestic soft drink volume, Ross said.
Wendy’s, based in suburban Dublin, has served Pepsi-Cola since the first restaurant opened here in 1969.
Wendy’s International owns 1,212 Wendy’s in the United States. Eighty-five company-owned restaurants in Canada already serve Coca-Cola products, Raab said.
There also are 2,270 U.S. Wendy’s franchises, and 135 international ones.
The outlets will switch over the next two months, Raab said.
Wendy’s estimated it would sell $1.6 billion worth of Coca-Cola Co. products at retail in the next five years.
Robert L. Barney, chairman and chief executive officer of Wendy’s, said PepsiCo ″went one step too far″ when it bought the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of 6,500 fast food restaurants.
The $850 million acquisition, coupled with its Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains, made PepsiCo the world’s largest fast-food chain in terms of the number of restaurants, with more than 14,000