Breaking Down the Moonlight Meal Deal at Wendy’s

It’s hard for me to have any interest over the recently released Moonlight Meal Deal from Wendy’s.  The Moonlight Meal Deal is a $5 combo that consists of a Double Stack burger, Chili Cheese Fries and a large drink.  I felt like breaking down the business move by Wendy’s and giving my personal take on it.  Feel free to give us your opinion on the combo deal in the comments.Moonlight Meal DealMy lack of interest comes from a few different angles.  Let’s break down the major points:

#1: It’s only available after 10pm: Maybe I’m slightly outside of the target demo for the Moonlight Meal Deal, but come on Wendy’s… after 10pm only?  I bet the dinner time crowds die down significantly after 8pm so why not stretch it out to after 8pm instead?  Having “Happy Hour” prices is a new trend that has spilled over into the fast food world a little more these days and I think it’s a great business strategy.  After 10pm only special pricing wouldn’t be so bad if there was actually more to it.#2: It’s one combo: I still think McDonald’s and Taco Bell have a firm grasp of the late night fast food market.  If Wendy’s wants to appeal to the “millennial generation”, they might want to offer more than just one specific combo. McDonald’s and Taco Bell have great value menu options with plenty of variety to pick and choose and create a $5 combo meal better tied to your personal tastes.  How can Wendy’s possibly compete with that? Unfortunately they can’t compete with that and the Moonlight Meal Deal doesn’t offer enough to take a piece of their market.  Moonlight Meal Deal Wendys#3: Is it even available at my local Wendy’s?:  Nope.  Like most all Wendy’s promotions, “At participating locations” is really something I have to keep in mind.  It’s rare for me to find nationally promoted prices when it comes to Wendy’s.  More than any other fast food restaurant, Wendy’s ranks highest for me in inconsistent promos.  You won’t be shocked to know I couldn’t find a Wendy’s offering the Moonlight Meal Deal.

#4: Is $5 a good deal?: Since I couldn’t find a Wendy’s with the Moonlight Meal Deal, I decided to still order the Moonlight Meal Deal.  To get into the spirit of things, I ordered my food after 10pm and just ordered the individual components of the combo.  After 6% tax I spent $6.88 for the Double Stack, Chili Cheese Fries and large drink.  This comes out to about $1.50 more than what the $5 promo after tax would’ve cost me.  Four years ago I reviewed the Double Stack here on GrubGrade and it was nationally promoted for 99-cents as a way to compete with the Double Cheeseburger and McDouble at McDonald’s.  I paid $1.49 for my Double Stack in 2009 and it’s available for $3.27 at my local Wendy’s today.  Wendy’s does not have a loss leader on its menu in my opinion.  Still, a meal between 5-7 bucks should be about typical for a larger combo at a fast food establishment.  So is $5 a good deal?  No.  It’s just one combo with a cool name that is exclusive to late night hours.  That’s a hard sell.Moonlight Meal Deal PriceIf you think I’m just a Wendy’s hater, think again.  Over the major fast food chains, I think Wendy’s ranks as one of the best in terms of taste.  I’ll take a Wendy’s burger over McDonald’s or Burger King easily.  Wendy’s also has awesome bacon… and most of you agree.  It’s just the other areas of the business that have me concerned as a consumer.  Time to gauge the interest of the readers.  Sorry for leading the witness with this one… forget everything I said.  What’s your personal opinion on late night fast food grubbing?  Does the Moonlight Meal Deal appeal to you?  Like we discussed on The Nosh Show episode 2, what’s your opinion on best bang for your buck fast food?

36 comments on “Breaking Down the Moonlight Meal Deal at Wendy’s

  1. M86 says:

    I’m confused. The Double Stack doesn’t come with lettuce. Was that a mistake by a Wendy’s employee?
    Also, I’m pretty sure at my local Wendys’, the Double Stack in $1.79… It’s on the Right Size, Right Price menu. The price differences are crazy.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah they put lettuce on it for whatever reason. $1.79 vs $3.27 is a great example for my whole point. Can you imagine McDonald’s succeeding with wacky inconsistent prices?

      • CC says:

        The prices are random, and it usually means I don’t stop into a Wendeys if I’m travelling because I never know if it’s going to cost me $3 or $10 for food.

  2. Scrape says:

    I rarely fo to Wendy’s, and only when they have coupons. They have gotten way too expensive for what it is, and the value menu gas little value left on it. For not that much more, I can go to a 5 Guys or my new favorite, Gino’s, and get a better burger, better fries, and free refill on the drinks. Only ONE of my regional Wendy’s has free refills. Plus, they got rid of the things I actually ordered there! No more W. No more Big Bacon Classic or whatever they called it this last go around. They essentially offer just two burgers now in different sizes…the Baconator and not the Baconator. They simply need more variety in their offerings…and to be able to order them by number because they always seem to screw up a special order. The quality, along with pricing, is terribly inconsistent as well. I too have difficulties sometimes getting their special promotions. That, and even after the recent rounds of remodels in my region, they still are not that nice of places compared with the McD’s next door and the renovated BK across the street. You’ve got a lot of work to do, Wendy’s, and a change in logo ain’t gonna do it for you.

  3. JF says:

    I guess I’m one of the “lucky” ones in that the local Wendy’s always participate in their deals and they are on the lower end of the value menu. The did adjust prices when the right price menu came out. Prior to that, they had the 5 piece nuggets (regular and spicy) for 99 cents. Now that just gets you 3.

    I do think Wendy’s quality is above most of the other more national chains and venture there every once in awhile. But I am really surprised about the inconsistency on the pricing and it boggles the mind how they can be successful as a result of that (I’m basing success on personal experience / perception and the typically long drive thru lines around the lunch and dinner time hours. Taco Bell consistently has them all beat for late night.

  4. Sascha says:

    As far as quality is concerned, I agree that Wendy’s is usually a cut above the other two burger chains, but the pricing has become outrageous. Back when I could get a Jr. Bacon for a buck, it was an enticing offer once in a while, but the value menu has become a non-value menu. I’ll still go on occasion, but usually only for chicken offerings, the burgers are too pricey for what you get.

    As far as best bang for your buck, I believe all four of you (Nosh show) went with McDonald’s. Not me. For me, it’s Checker’s/Rally’s all the way. From $1 BLT’s piled on with bacon, to a bunch of great 2 for $3 and 2 for $4 sandwich deals, to a constant carousel of special sandwich offers, to the $3 half pound of chicken bites, there’s nothing better. Plus, to me, the quality of the Rally’s burgers trumps the quality of the McD’s burgers.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah I agree with you on Checkers. They have some outrageous deals with a lot of food. If I could go back, I’d want to point them out. I guess I went the more mainstream route with my picks on the show.

  5. T.J. says:

    All three of those items cost $1.99 at my local Wendy’s. A saving of only 97 cents. This would explain why my Wendy’s participates while yours doesn’t.

    • Ryan says:

      Yeah that’s absurd. I can understand a price difference of under 50cents in between markets, but over a dollar? Come on Wendy’s. There should be some tighter standard for franchise owners to follow.

      • Raiders757 says:

        If I’m even out past ten at night, I highly doubt this deal will be the deciding factor for me pull into a Wendy’s drive-thru. If I’m looking for a cheap meal I’ll just order from the value menu and make a beverage when I get home. Then again, I’m sure I’m not in the demographic that they’re trying to appeal to with this promotion. My bar fly days are well behind me, and when I am out that late on weekends, I have more than likely already eaten.

  6. maxchain says:

    If they rotated the main sandwich on a monthly basis, I’d maybe be interested. I haven’t been to a Wendy’s in ages, largely because participation apparently still varies wildly with this sort of thing. I’m a Wendy’s fan at heart, too, I feel ya. You used to be able to make out like a bandit with three bucks. Now trying the Value Menu at one’s like playing a damn fast food scratch-off ticket.

  7. John says:

    Yet another “deal” that’s basically a couple items at regular price and a laughable discount on a drink, which I never buy anyway.

  8. Stephen says:

    I don’t know what late night deals Taco Bell and McDonald’s have. The Wendy’s combo looks like a terrible bargain. Anything not on the value menu is probably overpriced. The value menu MIGHT be underpriced, but not compared to competitors. The fries at my store are noticeably oversalted. And, the worst part about any of the premium burgers is that they all look like they are made with kiddie-burger patties. Easy to spend over $5 for food at Wendy’s that looks like it came out of a gumball machine. It tastes good, though.

  9. Elise says:

    I can’t see myself needing to get this, for the dollar menu reasons you specified. I’d rather go to McDonalds and get dollar menu stuff for $5 or even “value” menu stuff at Wendys. I also think Taco Bell’s $5 box is a better value, and it’s offered all day. Plus, I’ve had the chili cheese fries before (coupon for free with purchase) and was not impressed. I found the chili too watery (basically meat and bean chunks in watery meat liquid) with partially melted shredded cheese. Meh. Not worth it.

    • Sascha says:

      I like Wendy’s chili …….. as chili. Wouldn’t want it on my fries though.

      That’s where I miss Steak ‘n Shake. Their chili makes an awesome fries topping.

  10. Ross says:

    The craziest part is how Wendy’s can get away with charging $3.29 for the Double Stack when it was 99 cents for a year or two and hasn’t changed!

    • CC says:

      They are still 99 cents at some places. The prices vary wildly from store to store.

      It’s like every store randomizes their prices, so you don’t know if it’s going to cost you $3 for a meal, $6, or $10. There seems to be no regard for consistency.

    • MP says:

      They did revamp their patties a few years ago to make them bigger, and the cheap ones are like 30% bigger than they were before.

  11. Andre says:

    The email I got for this says something about a feast… I beg to differ. The double stack has two very, very small burger patties. I need two of these sandwiches to approach fulfillment. Also, Wendy’s chili needs to lose the bell peppers. It’s unlikely, given the recipe has probably been the same since opening, but I never, ever order it for this reason.

  12. TheHotToddy23 says:

    I agree that Wendy’s prices are wildly inconsistent from place to place, but also very expensive for what you are buying. The quality is certainly decent, there is no question about that, but it IS fast food and although the company certainly is in business to make money their pricing has become a little over-the-top. Personally, I don’t go to Wendy’s too often because I’m not crazy about their new burgers and I’m not much for chicken at fast food restaurants; however, the past few visits have not resulted in me being very pleased with what I purchased. For nearly $8 I got cold, soggy fries a burger with the wrong toppings and the burger itself was overcooked, dry and more or less uneatable. Any time I have the urge to get fast food, Wendy’s isn’t even a consideration as I can get much better food for my money at just about any other place.

  13. MP says:

    My Wendy’s has this deal. Double Stack is $1.79.
    Yeah somebody screwed up that DS. Added lettuce & an extra piece of cheese. Personally I’d rather have 2 Jr Cheeseburgers at .99 cents a piece – twice the pickles & onions, an extra set of buns & another piece of cheese for only .20 cents more.
    The Wendy’s chili fries are gross & loaded with sodium 1200mg. No interest in a gallon of high profit margin soda. If I’m going to spend $5 at Wendy’s, I’ll mix n match the .99 cent Jr CB & Crispy Chicken sandwiches.

  14. Alex K. says:

    Stupid to me. This caters to one of two (or both) things:

    1.) The obese.
    2.) Those that work odd hours during the day.

    I wake up at about 9am every day … now way in hell will I wait 13 hours to have this for dinner (How many calories would this be, anyway? Random estimate would be about 1,400 … mainly because of that ridiculously sized drink.)

  15. IowaGal82 says:

    Man…our doublestacker is still .99 cents. 5 nuggets = .99 cents. The price flux is crazy. $3.27 for a stacker? That’s ROBBERY!

  16. Gbo says:

    Wendy’s has dipped a lot in value over the past few years, and some in quality as well. The Chicken Nuggets are not as thick as they use to be and dont have the same taste.

    Another reason I dont like the Moonlight deal is that I know at my Wendy’s the quality of food becomes terrible after 9 PM. Everything is dried out and old tasting, and the people working there act like immature punks when it gets late, I assume their big boss leaves after the dinner rush.

  17. Sheila says:

    The only thing I used to really enjoy at Wendy’s was the Sour Cream and Chive potato. It used to be on the $0.99 menu at a few locations close to me (although some other ones still around me would charge higher…DEFINITELY inconsistent!), but now it is $1.29. Still not a bad deal, but the problem is that they are ALWAYS OUT of baked potatoes. They are out before dinner, DURING the dinner time hours, and later at night. I never get an apology that their potatoes are “out” either…just a terse “We don’t have any more”.

    I also agree that the food tends to taste old and of poor quality later in the day. The workers who serve me are never very pleasant, knowledgeable, or helpful, and most are just plain rude. I rarely visit Wendy’s and only go if I have a coupon now, but most of the time I regret it afterwards.

  18. Sam says:

    Wendy’s fails at pricing.
    Checkers fails at pervasiveness.
    Burger King fails at everything.

    McDonald’s wins again.

    • Sascha says:

      What about Steak ‘n Shake. Those new $4 combos posted on the home page right now beat the pants of any dollar menu item at McDonald’s.

  19. Naskarrkid says:

    I’m not sure how late the dine-in part is open, so I’m assuming most people will get this at the drive-thru. With that said, most people who order at the drive-thru are going to eat and drive, so I think if they cut the chili cheese fries, and add a 5 piece nuggets and regular fries, it’d be a better deal. I usually get Taco Bell or Krystal if I’m out late.

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