Wendy's chicken
Wendy’s will begin serving chicken sourced from smaller birds in its restaurants.

DUBLIN, OHIO — The Wendy’s Co. will begin serving chicken sourced from smaller birds in its restaurants, resulting in a tender, juicier quality, the fast-food chain announced Feb. 14. The company has partnered with suppliers to use 20% smaller birds and is making a nearly $30 million system-wide investment to implement the change across all U.S. restaurants. Wendy’s restaurants in Canada already serve chicken products sourced from smaller birds.

Todd Penegor, Wendy's
Todd Penegor, president and c.e.o. of Wendy’s

“The quality of our food sets us apart from everyone else,” said Todd Penegor, president and chief executive officer at Wendy’s. “We’re making this change because we’ve seen that smaller birds provide a big benefit for our customers who deserve to eat the most tender and juicy chicken.”

Previously, the company spent a year improving its procedures for cooking chicken and recently began serving its grilled chicken sandwich on a new multi-grain bun with tomato and spring mix. Wendy’s also removed artificial flavors, preservatives and colors from artificial sources from its chicken. Last year, Wendy’s committed to eliminate the use of all antibiotics important to human medicine in its chicken by the end of 2017.

Additionally, Wendy’s employs a team of in-house animal welfare experts who audit chicken welfare from hatchery to broiler house to processing facility, the company said.

The company’s suppliers are working with its supply chain co-op, quality assurance and animal welfare experts to implement the changes through the second quarter of 2017.