In the age of COVID-19, the new fast-food business model is based on drive-thru and delivery. That’s not great news for lovers of french fries.
The burger may be still warm by the time it arrives at your home, but french fries are made to be eaten immediately. The more time that passes, the less appetizing they can be.
To remedy that problem, Wendy’s says it has re-engineered its fries. To retain heat and crispness, Wendy’s fries will retain more of the potato skin and spend a little extra time in the fryer.
“These fries are a cut above the rest – literally,” Emily Kessler, Wendy’s senior specialist of culinary and innovation, told USA Today. “One side is built for heat retention and the other for crispiness.”
This will be good news for at least one ConsumerAffairs reviewer. Regina, of Richmond, Va., recently posted her disappointment in her last Wendy’s meal, making special note of the french fries.
“The fries were terrible! They were cold and tasted like they were cooked in old oil,” Regina told us. “Tried to give fries to pet piglet and he grunted and turned up his snout and walked away!”
Wendy’s new "Hot & Crispy Fries" have already started appearing at some restaurants. The company said they should be available nationwide by the middle of September.
The time between purchase and consumption is increasing
Other restaurants may make similar adjustments to their recipes for french fries and other menu items to keep them fresher for longer periods of time between purchase and consumption.
Last November, researchers at Upserve noted that 60% of consumers ordered meals for delivery or takeout at least once a week. These numbers are not likely to go down anytime soon.
In December of 2020, the NPD Group reported that drive-thru lanes accounted for 44% of off-premise orders across the entire restaurant industry.
Most fast-food dining rooms remain closed, not just because of COVID-19 but because of a lack of staff. Industry experts believe fast-food franchises will continue to struggle to hire workers, even with increased pay and benefits.