Wendy's Plans To Extend Late Night Hours For Drive-Thrus & Dining Rooms

If you've got a late-night craving for a Baconator or strawberry Frosty, Wendy's new store policy is sure to satisfy. On a recent earnings call, the chain's CEO and president, Todd Penegor, announced that Wendy's would be extending hours for drive-thru and delivery orders until midnight or even later, according to Nation's Restaurant News. While some stores are currently open until 10 p.m. for in-house dining, Wendy's also plans to increase that number as summer approaches.

On the flip side, the chain also intends to drive traffic during its breakfast hours in the U.S. and Canada, although the hours will remain the same for now. As Penegor said on a recent earnings call, Wendy's plans to promote the "bookends" of the day, breakfast and late-night, by introducing exciting new menu items, increasing awareness around existing foods, and launching special offers for customers.

The extended hours come on the heels of a successful quarter for Wendy's. A Q1 2023 earnings report showed that the company's U.S. systemwide sales growth increased by 8.6%, with Penegor citing the momentum the chain built in 2022 as a major cause. And with late-night traffic now back to pre-pandemic levels, Wendy's plans to ensure its drive-thrus are as efficient as possible and deliver the quality of food that customers expect.

Wendy's intends to focus on its breakfast and late-night customers

To better service early-morning and late-night customers, Wendy's is looking to streamline its staffing model during both timeframes. On its Q1 earnings call, Penegor explained that the chain will make late-night closing processes more fluid to create a more efficient system for the early-morning opening staff. This comes right after Wendy's announced it was partnering with Google to use AI technology to take drive-thru orders, explaining in a press release that up to 80% of the chain's customers prefer to place their orders via the drive-thru.

Wendy's will also be looking to add value to its menu to increase traffic. Penegor cited opportunities to improve on the $3 croissant and innovate morning beverage offerings, teasing plans for a new Frosty Cold Brew. And when it comes to the extended late-night hours, the chain plans to amp up advertising around the change. So the next time a Dave's Double Cheeseburger craving hits at 1 a.m., check your local Wendy's drive-thru hours to see if you're in the clear.