Wendy’s 2013 “Pretzel Love Songs” campaign—starring Nick Lachey swooning over its pretzel bacon cheeseburger—drew in millions. Melissa Cash, then a mortgage banking marketing manager, says the videos helped her realize the type of brand-building she longed to do. She joined Wendy’s in 2014 and has risen in its ranks with tenacity and strategic thinking.
With Cash’s long-term vision, Wendy’s 2020 breakfast launch succeeded even when plans such as sampling at March Madness were called off due to the pandemic. “We needed to go all-in,” she says. By the end of the year, 7% of Wendy’s sales came from breakfast.
“I am always keen on really having my team step up in a big way,” says Cash, who calls herself a “servant leader.” With Cash’s leadership, her team helped Wendy’s grow and surpass Burger King to become the No. 2 U.S. burger chain.