Wendy's (WEN) is taking another stab at cracking the code on black bean burgers, which some fast-food experts view as a founding father to the modern day plant-based meat movement.
On June 28, Wendy's locations in Columbus, Pittsburgh, and Jacksonville will begin testing a spicy black bean burger. Wendy's tested a black bean burger back in 2015, but discontinued it in 2017 amid only modest traction.
But with significant interest in plant-based food — fueled in part by a strong consumer response to the Impossible Whopper at Burger King and Beyond Meat's expansion into grocery stores — Wendy's apparently thinks the time to strike again is now.
"The spicy black bean burger is a culinary creation that turns the notion of a tasteless, texture-lacking black bean patty on its head by bringing our iconic spice as only Wendy's can," said John Li, vice president of culinary innovation at Wendy. "With the spicy black bean burger every bite is a sensorial experience bursting with flavor and texture just like our other craft and premium sandwich offerings on the Made to Crave menu lineup."
Wendy's homage to bean burgers will sell for $5.79, lower than the usual $7 price tag on an Impossible Whopper.
The news from Wendy's is likely a welcome development for plant-based food fans. This week, Dunkin' Donuts disclosed the Beyond Meat breakfast sandwich is no longer on the coffee chain's national menu.
As for Wendy's, it's not like the company needs a spicy black bean burger on the menu to drive results and the stock price.
Wendy's U.S. same-store sales in the first quarter surged 13.5%, powered by diners heading back out after getting their COVID-19 vaccine and trying the chain's new breakfast menu. Digital ordering and a push into more premium chicken sandwiches also lit a fire under first quarter sales.
Wendy's same-store sales internationally rose 7.9%.
The company almost beat out McDonald's 13.6% U.S. same-store sales increase in the quarter. McDonald's results could be seen as a letdown considering it launched three new chicken sandwiches. Same-store sales for Burger King in the U.S. rose 6.6% in the quarter.
For good measure, Domino's Pizza's U.S. business and Pizza Hut's U.S. business notched 13.4% and 16% same-store sales gains, respectively, in the first quarter.
in April, Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor told Yahoo Finance Presents he thinks breakfast could ring up more than $1 billion in sales in the future.
Shares of Wendy's are up about 6% year-to-date.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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