Wendy's is re-launching in Tokyo, Japan today, and it looks like the chain might be going after a slightly richer clientele. One of the new menu items include a $16 foie gras hamburger, as well as a truffle and porcini grilled chicken sandwich for $12.
Originally, it looked like Wendy's was taking a page from the Daniel Boulud playbook. If his upscale restaurant, DB Bistro Moderne can put foie gras (and truffles, and short ribs) on a burger and charge $32 for it, why can't a fast food giant do the same thing, cheaper? But perhaps Wendy's is just trying to keep up with the competition. Denny's Japan menu may look entirely unfamiliar to Americans used to high-calorie cheese-filled signature Denny's meals. In Japan, the chain has offered a $15 beef topped with foie gras and sliced truffles, served with a red wine demi-glace reduction. French fast food chain Quick debuted a foie gras burger last year as well, priced at about $8.
Wendy's Japan hopes to open about 100 restaurants in the next five years. The chain shut down its Japanese restaurants two years ago due to falling profits, but now hopes that its reinvigorated exotic menu will be the key to success. It originally struggled to compete with bigger rivals such as Burger King and McDonald's, but with the recent news that Wendy's has overtaken Burger King in the States, we can't help but wonder if the process will be mirrored abroad.