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Posted: 1/23/2006 8:18:24 AM EDT
Wendy’s temporarily reins in tomato use

By David Mitchell

(Jan. 20) Do you want tomatoes with that?

Wendy’s International Inc., Dublin, Ohio, posted signs in its restaurants in late December, informing customers that they would have to request tomatoes on their sandwiches.

Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini said the chain was trying to conserve tomatoes in response to Florida’s hurricane-damaged crop.

“We certainly have tomatoes if customers want them,” Bertini said. “We use more tomatoes than other restaurant chains because we have them on most of our hamburgers and chicken sandwiches. We use larger-sized tomatoes, and we’ve had trouble getting that size in the quality and quantity we want.”

Wendy’s is the third-largest quick-service hamburger chain in the world with 6,600 locations, according to the company’s Web site. Bertini said the chain used 85 million pounds of tomatoes last year.

Four of Wendy’s five Garden Sensation salads feature tomatoes, but Bertini said the temporary shortage had primarily affected sandwiches. Tomatoes were expected to be standard sandwich ingredients again when Florida’s new crop is harvested, Bertini said.

“I don’t have a time frame,” he said Jan. 18, “but we expect the signs to be removed from stores very soon.”

Reggie Brown, manager of the Florida Tomato Committee, Maitland, and executive vice president of the Florida Tomato Exchange, said harvest of the crop damaged by Hurricane Wilma in October was expected to wrap up in mid-February, but the crop planted after the hurricane was expected to be available Feb. 1.

Brown said it was impossible to project how much volume the second crop would provide.

Hurricane Wilma damaged 16,000 acres of tomatoes, Brown said. On Jan. 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that Florida tomato shipments were 31.5% behind the same time last year, another storm-ravaged season.

Prices have been high because of limited supplies. The USDA on Jan. 18 reported 25-pound cartons of 85% U.S. No. 1 round mature-greens from Florida were $26.45 for 5x6s, down from $33.45-36.45 a week earlier. Prices for 6x6s ($24.45) and 6x7s ($21.45) also dipped.

Flats of two-layer, vine-ripe tomatoes from Mexico crossing through Nogales, Ariz., were $20.85 for 4x4-4x5s, down $10 from the previous week. Prices for 5x5s ($18.85) and 5x6s ($16.85) also dropped.

Brown hopes Florida can avoid a repeat of the bizarre 2004-05 season. In early December 2004, limited supplies pushed prices to more than $40 for 25-pound cartons. A month later, the USDA reported f.o.b. prices of $5.20-6.20, but Brown said it was closer to $4.

The problem last year was that high prices forced some foodservice operators to stop using tomatoes. Although supplies returned to higher levels — as they are now — retail prices didn’t reflect the trend.

Brown said Wendy’s was the only chain he was aware of that was curbing its tomato use this season and hoped retailers and foodservice operators would realize that supplies would soon be increasing.

“The real danger is for misinformation to continue in the marketplace,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid. That’s why we have grave concern about Wendy’s announcement. We don’t need to continue a psychology of scarcity that’s not real.”

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:19:42 AM EDT
Bush's fault.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:21:56 AM EDT
dang! man, one my local wendy's is manned by latinos and for some reason their veggies are the crispiest, freshest around, none of that limp fast food crap. they always put thick juicy slices of tomatoes on my burgers...
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:22:11 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini said the chain was trying to conserve tomatoes in response to Florida’s hurricane-damaged crop.




BS.

Some MBA at corporate is trying to make a name for themselves by eliminating another topping.

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:24:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:25:28 AM EDT
Triple cheese triple tomato
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:25:34 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Merrell:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Wendy’s spokesman Bob Bertini said the chain was trying to conserve tomatoes in response to Florida’s hurricane-damaged crop.




BS.

Some MBA at corporate is trying to make a name for themselves by eliminating another topping.





It's a dog eat dog world in the burger business!
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:26:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:28:23 AM EDT
Thats fine -I hate hot-house tomatoes.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:30:00 AM EDT
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"

Thanks Wendy's
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:30:29 AM EDT
it has been that way around here for the last 2 weeks at least//

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:31:00 AM EDT
Not the first time they have done this. Several years ago when the tomatoes crops in FL and South TX where hit with bad freezes not only did you have to request tomatoe there was a extra charge for it.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:31:31 AM EDT
sooooooo yesterday
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:38:54 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"



Yup, same here. No lettuce either.

It makes the sandwich too sloppy and uncontrollable.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:41:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"

Thanks Wendy's



I hate tomatoes also, but did they lower the price after yankin them?

Hell no.

It's only Monday and already I'm outraged.

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:42:38 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Merrell:

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"

Thanks Wendy's



I hate tomatoes also, but did they lower the price after yankin them?

Hell no.

It's only Monday and already I'm outraged.




You're always outraged.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:43:47 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:

Originally Posted By Merrell:

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"

Thanks Wendy's



I hate tomatoes also, but did they lower the price after yankin them?

Hell no.

It's only Monday and already I'm outraged.




You're always outraged.



I'm outraged that you would say that.

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:53:27 AM EDT
PEAK TOMATOES!
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:57:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"

Thanks Wendy's



Link Posted: 1/23/2006 8:58:00 AM EDT
The terrrrrists have won :(
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 9:05:23 AM EDT
I wonder if the tomato shortage is what prompted them to drop the price back to 99 cents on the jr bacon cheeseburgers? Or maybe me and a million other people like me stopped going to Wendys when they raised the price.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 9:08:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"

Thanks Wendy's



+1

Link Posted: 1/23/2006 9:50:46 AM EDT
Good, cause tomatos got no damned business being on a burger......or mayo for that matter. I'm glad they took my advice and stopped assuming that everybody wanted tomatos. Thank you Wendys.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 9:53:12 AM EDT

Originally Posted By AssaultRifler:
PEAK TOMATOES!



Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:17:42 AM EDT
You think this is bad . Last week at work going over the order . $110 for a case of tom.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:17:51 AM EDT
I always have done this.

My standard Wendy's order ever since they've opened their doors for business when I was a little kid:

"double with Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo ONLY "



Makes me hungry for one now. I think I'll have one today.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:27:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By 52brandon:
cool, that saves me the time of saying "no tomatoes"



Same here. I was at Wendy's on Saturday and got my usual (spicy chicken fillet, no mayo or tomato w/ side order of small chili). Good stuff (and not halfway bad for you either).
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:28:59 AM EDT
Noticed that sign last week while at wendy's. Ordered double tomatoes.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:36:59 AM EDT
Wendy's seems to have gone downhill since Dave Thomas died ... For awhile they seemed to be in a good position to challenge BK for the #2 spot. Wendy's always had specials and was intruducing new things, and keeping the menu rotating so there was always something different. Not so much anymore. Even if they run a special, it's usually something that's been done already.

On top of it, the service in some of the local restaurans (around here at least) seems to have gone way down ... The last time I tried eating there they told me "Sorry, we're out of french-fries". Explain that one.
Link Posted: 1/23/2006 10:39:32 AM EDT
They don't use real tomatoes anyway.
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