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Wendy's just released a hip-hop mixtape—here's what the CEO had to say

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer sits down with the CEO of The Wendy's Company to talk social media strategy and technology.
  • Todd Penegor, who started as CEO of the fast-food chain in 2016, says the company is leveraging technology to connect with a new generation of consumers.

Few people expecting U.S. fast-food giant Wendy's to drop a hip-hop mixtape, but that's exactly what happened on Friday — and CEO Todd Penegor was all for the exposure.

The mixtape, which was called "We Beefin'?" and targeted Wendy's rivals like McDonald's, focused on the chain's core message of serving fresh food, Penegor told CNBC on Monday.

"It's really about telling our food story, that we're fresh, never frozen, and we called out a few of the competitors along the way, but we want to really make sure that people understand that we are fresh and we're a little bit different," Penegor told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

With a powerful presence on social media and 2.46 million Twitter followers, Wendy's is no stranger to the pop-culture scene.

The company is very active on social media, frequently targeting competitors and engaging with consumers on a hyper-personal level.

And after 20 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, a key metric for restaurant operators, Wendy's will continue leveraging its ties to customers, Penegor said.

"Fresh is still so on trend," the CEO noted. "How do we make sure we get food-forward, to showcase all of that? And then how do we connect to that next generation of consumer? You heard a little bit of it with that mixtape, but we've got 2.5 million Twitter followers where we really get to talk about our differences and how we stand apart from the competition."

As McDonald's bolsters its technological wares, introducing digital kiosks in its stores and mobile ordering, Wendy's will also make the leap forward in terms of tech, Penegor said.

And with the fast-food restaurant space facing competition, oversupply and rising labor costs, the CEO told Cramer that boosting investments in tech will help his chain mitigate those pressures.

"The restaurants with scale are growing because when you have scale, you can invest in technology," Penegor said, citing a few examples including in-store kiosks and back-room automation.

"You can do things with industrial engineers to figure out, how do you optimize your labor guide along the way to really mitigate some of those inflationary impacts?" he said. "Those are important things to help differentiate, because what we know is you can't pass along to the consumer the wage inflation because the gap between food at home and food away from home just gets too wide. So you've got to find efficiencies to offset those pressures."

Watch Todd Penegor's full interview here:

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