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Delta Award Winning Story

The Wendy's Company

Wendy’s Advisors help lead The Wendy’s Company to develop new products, spot trends, and elevate the customer experience



Success Metrics

Actionable feedback in days through survey and video for agile product development

45% response rate for community activities

Successful identification & optimization of numerous new menu items


The Wendy’s Company is best known for its over 50 years of dedicated service to serving high-quality food to customers across the globe. With over 7000 restaurants worldwide the brand has maintained its commitment to its motto “Quality is our Recipe” by focusing on continuous evolution and improvement to match the ever-changing needs of its visitors. 

The Wendy’s team launched their Wendy’s Advisors insight community over a decade ago to keep up with trends and get even closer to their loyal consumers. Since then, the program has grown and expanded to become a key part of new product development and an instant go-to resource for actionable feedback on almost any testing the company needs.

Program Goals:

  • Ensuring product development is in line with new and existing customer expectations
  • Better understanding of competitive landscape to refine product positioning and elevate marketing campaigns
  • “Always on” qualitative research to better connect with our consumers 1:1

Business Opportunity

Consumers, especially younger demographics, seek a wide variety of menu options from restaurants, including healthy choices and sustainable sources. They also expect a seamless experience, from ordering to delivery or pickup.

Wendy’s is always evolving its menu to keep existing customers excited and gain new ones. But creation of new products and changing services and processes can be costly. Customer feedback is crucial to ensuring new products will be profitable and marketing campaigns hit the mark with both brand loyalists and potential new visitors.


Wendy’s insight community, powered by Alida, sits at the core of their Consumer Insights organization. Now with over 11,000 members known as “Advisors,” the community participates in approximately 500 studies annually, including surveys as well as in-depth qualitative interviews and video discussions.

In the decade-plus that Wendy’s has partnered with Alida, they’ve steadily matured their program. As leadership saw the growing value of customer research, Wendy’s increased its investment in the community of consumer advisors.

We were doing more traditional research and I saw a way we could shift some of that into the community. We’ve definitely been able to streamline to save money and move faster.” says Justine Looper, Consumer Insights Associate Manager.

Today, a team of 9 manages program strategy and executes activities to address strategic business decisions. 

New product development

Community feedback helps Wendy’s stay on top of changing customer preferences and ideate new product concepts, including flavors, ingredients, and even product names, to optimize their menu. Wendy’s uses a structured approach to product innovation, with in-depth customer research, to validate demand. "They help us narrow down ideas so they’re much more manageable,” says Justine.

Once product development is underway, Wendy’s gathers just-in-time feedback from the community to make sure strategies are on track and adjust course if necessary. They even bring chefs into moderated conversations within the community, bringing the people creating new products as close as possible to customers. Specifically, Wendy’s community advisors have helped to identify and optimize breakfast menu items, kid’s meals, and seasonal Frosty flavors.

Marketing campaigns and naming decisions

Wendy’s marketing team taps into the community to understand the competitive landscape, refine product positioning, and develop marketing campaigns. 

Community members also weigh in on the hot topic of product naming. “Some people think they should be more functional names and others think they should be more fun,” Justine explains. “it’s important to understand how customers will perceive a name and whether they’ll understand it when they come up to the drive through.”

Segmentation and personalization

With over a decade of data, the Wendy’s community is a treasure trove of insights. Because community members are so highly profiled, Wendy’s can tailor study recruitment to specific customer segments, based on 45+ unique variables. They can then analyze results according to people’s attributes, purchase history, preferences, and previous responses to understand niche product appeal and messaging preferences of different buyer profiles. Thanks to the insight community, Wendy’s team are experts at spotting trends and identifying “bullseye targets” for different menu items.

Video discussions

Wendy’s recently added Video Discussion capabilities to their program to gather verbatim feedback, which means, “we can now have a face-to-face conversation from anywhere and set it up in days instead of a three-to-four-week process.” Justine believes the value of video will grow as the insights team looks to talk with customers more, a vision they call ‘always-on qual.’ “Video is very different from sending a survey to have that added layer of connection to add on top of quantitative information.”


“We’ve gotten some great data back that we feel confident in and our product teams love,” Justine shares. Wendy’s has achieved an industry-leading response rate of 45% for studies conducted with the community and insights are generated in days helping cross-functional teams to align based on data, not opinions. 

Advisors have contributed to the development of 5 national campaigns launching in 2024 and fueled by customer insights, Wendy’s has launched several new products each year to great success. Today the business is able to move forward with confidence knowing that their next steps across the organization are actively informed by customers.

Hear from our Top Innovators of the Year from Alida Innovation Day 2023

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Alida is a Community Research platform that helps the world's biggest brands create highly engaged research communities to gather feedback that fuels better customer experiences and product innovation.