What It Takes to Be a Wendy’s Supply Partner

John Inwright on stage at the 2014 Wendy's Franchise Update Meeting

The Square Deal welcomes John Inwright, President of Quality Supply Chain Cooperative…also known as QSCC.  QSCC is an independent, not-for-profit purchasing and supply chain co-op serving both Wendy’s® franchisees and company operators.   The Co-op is dedicated to serving their members (Wendy’s and more than 300 franchisees) by providing the right partners who continuously supply Wendy’s restaurants with fresh, quality ingredients and products at affordable prices. Simply put, we couldn’t serve you an indulgent Baconator® or delicious, fresh salads without the support and dedication to excellence that the QSCC team pursues every day.    

At Wendy’s and QSCC, we talk a lot about dedication to quality and doing the right thing. And that goes beyond the walls of One Dave Thomas Boulevard in Dublin, Ohio and into every corner of our business: from the team members in Wendy’s restaurants to the interactions within our communities and ultimately it extends to our supply chain. For us, if you’re going to talk about a dedication to quality, it has to start in the field where the ingredients are grown and distributed throughout the whole of the business.

That’s why when we’re looking for suppliers and distributors to provide the ingredients for Wendy’s menu, one of the first things we look for is a shared commitment to those high standards of quality.

We want to work with companies that don’t just talk about quality, but implement it throughout their business from their operations to the final product that's delivered to the restaurants. 

And, that they do all of this in a safe manner.

ABOVE: Photos of QSCC's 2015 Golden Link Award Winners Presented at the Supplier Conference Held During Wendy's Franchise Convention. 

In fact, one of our closest Wendy’s colleagues, Dennis Hecker, recently wrote a blog about Wendy’s food safety standards.  If you haven’t read it yet, please do.  And while you're browsing, take a look at QSCC’s values on our website.  You can check them by clicking here.

This shared dedication to a core set of values is what makes our suppliers and distributors an extension of our business, partners in our success and part of the Wendy’s family.

And because of them, when we bring a new product to market, we know that we can count on their support to take the ideas of Wendy’s culinary team and turn them into a reality.

Wendy's Summer Berry Chicken Salad Features Fresh Blackberries & Strawberries.

Looking at this premise as a case study, let’s talk about Wendy’s most recent seasonal Summer Berry Chicken Salad.

This salad was introduced in June and phased out towards the end of August because it contains fresh strawberries and blackberries – two crops that have a specific growing season.  When the Wendy’s culinary team came to us and said they had an idea for a salad to include both strawberries and blackberries, we knew we’d have to have the right partners to help us add this produce (read: blackberries) to our supply chain.  But when we started our due diligence, we found that the supply for our scale didn’t exist.  It took two years of planning with suppliers like California Giant (CalGiant) to produce the crop necessary to supply the Wendy’s system.

By the way, Wendy’s Marketing Team created a great digital video which promoted the salad and explains how you can make the salad “at home.”  You can watch it below:

Cindy Jewell, director of marketing for CalGiant, had this to say about what it’s like to supply a new crop to the Wendy’s supply chain:

Cal Giant Director of Marketing, Cindy Jewell

“We had to jump through significant hoops to meet Wendy’s blackberry demand, but we know that this is a game-changer for our industry. Once these berries show up on Wendy’s menu, it’s only a matter of time before they become in high demand.  Other food service clients had approached us wanting to do something similar to Wendy’s, but because of Wendy’s unique fresh supply chain and their every day, in-restaurant fresh prep, they are the only company we work with who could actually bring this idea to life.”

We were quite proud of the work and partnership that was needed in order to be the first quick-service restaurant to roll out fresh blackberries on a national scale.

To learn more about where our fresh berries come from and how they get from the fields of California to our restaurants across the nation, check out this article that Wendy’s partnered with New York Times T Brand Studio to create.

So that’s a short peek at the complexities and intricacies of our supply chain.  I look forward to blogging again to share further insights on other aspects of our piece of the Wendy’s puzzle.  In the meantime, our team is back to work to find supply for other fresh, delicious ingredients the Wendy’s Culinary Team is looking to add to the menu.

Stay tuned…we will have some pretty unique offerings on the horizon.

John Inwright