QSR chains pitch fish sandwiches

Published on
February 16, 2010

Quick-service restaurant (QSR) chains such as Wendy’s and Long John Silver’s are promoting gourmet-style fish sandwiches and breaded fish this Lenten season.

To kick off Lent, Wendy’s introduced its Premium Fish Fillet sandwich, which is made with Pacific cod and breaded with Panko crumbs, a step up from the typical fast-food fish sandwich.

Wendy’s is promoting its use of high-quality fish in the limited-time offering, which retails for USD 3.49. “There are many places where the fish in your fish sandwich is, well, a question. Wendy’s premium fish fillet is 100 percent cod,” said Wendy’s new television ads for the sandwich.

“Many quick-service restaurant operators are offering more premium fish sandwiches this year, in terms of the quality of the fish itself, as well as the components of the sandwich and the preparation method,” said Aaron Jourden, associate editor with foodservice research and consulting firm Technomic in Chicago.

Along the gourmet vein, Long John Silver’s is presenting a more upscale offering with its recent launch of Crispy Breaded Pollock baskets, featuring Alaska pollock and hand-breaded fillets. “Again, this speaks to higher quality perceptions … and addresses the trend that we’ve seen over the last few years of consumers wanting to know the source of their food,” says Jourden.

Elsewhere, San Diego-based restaurant chain Jack in the Box launched a value fish sandwich in early February. Retailing for USD 1.49, the sandwiches include two fish filets, lettuce and tartar sauce.

Several other QSR chains are bringing back fish sandwiches or fish entrees for limited-time offers. Del Taco of Lake Forest, Calif., brought back its Crispy Shrimp Taco for USD 1.89, along with its “Shrimp & Fries” and “Fish & Fries” meals. The meals include six pieces of shrimp or two pieces of fish, French fries and a drink for USD 4.99 .

Culver’s of Prairie du Sac, Wis., also brought back for Lenten specials its North Atlantic Cod Sandwich, Northwoods Walleye Dinner and Cod & Shrimp Dinner.

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