In her role on Wendy’s Culinary Product & Innovation Team, Eryn Bennett has helped bring dishes like Wendy’s improved Chicken Sandwich and Chicken Tenders with Side of S’Awesome™ sauce to the restaurant chain’s menu. Besides helping dream up innovative and delicious salads, Eryn is also a mom to two-year-old Jonas. Eryn spoke with us about her work at Wendy’s, how she spends time in her kitchen with her son, and a word that encapsulates parenting perfectly.
What does your workday at Wendy’s look like?
No two days are the same, which is what keeps me coming back — there’s always something new and exciting! I’ve recently joined the salads team, which is responsible for developing Wendy’s fresh line of salads – most recently the Berry Burst Chicken Salad. Some days I spend most of my time in our culinary kitchen tasting new products and perfecting all the ingredients for a new concept, while other days I might be in meetings or my least favorite…working on food cost!
It sounds like cooking is a passion for you—what’s a favorite meal or food you like to prepare for your son?
I’m fortunate that my son is a good eater so we have a lot of great options. We like to make smoothies together for breakfast and having been getting some great dinner recipes from superhealthykids.com. My son loves to help stir anything I’m making and we have a step stool for him in the kitchen so he can help!
If you could hand off one chore to someone else each day, what would it be?
Picking up all the toys at the end of the day.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
As much as I hate to admit it, probably sitting on the couch with my husband and watching TV, ideally with a nice glass of wine.
What is your best parenting hack?
Finding that one thing that gets your child to do what you want. My little guy is very food-motivated, so I can typically get him to eat his veggies, clean up, behave, etc. with the promise of a piece of chocolate or fruit snack.
What is the best white lie that you’ve told your child?
That whatever he wants more of is “all gone” or, if he wants something that I don’t want him to have, I say “it’s broken.”
If you could describe motherhood/fatherhood in one word, what would it be?
What’s one moment in your motherhood journey that has made you proud?
Shortly after we removed the front rail from my son’s bed, I went upstairs in the morning to get him and he had gotten out of bed, turned off his sound machine and was sitting on the couch. He looked at me and said, “I read book.” He was sitting there quietly with a book in his hands!
What is one piece of advice you want to pass along to your children?
Be the best “you” that you can be. You will always encounter challenging situations, but if you are true to yourself, you won’t regret anything and will be in a good place.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms?
Everyone wants to give advice to you based on their personal experiences, but no two kids or situations are the same. At the end of the day, you know your kid and situation best and you should go with your gut.
How do you tackle the work/life balance?
It’s not a perfect science, but I try to leave work at a consistent time and if I have urgent work, I bring my computer home so I can finish it after my son goes to bed. He’s only up for a few hours after I get home and I like to make sure I’m present in the moment and avoid distractions, including my phone. I also tend to be picky about what events I go to outside of normal business hours and I take advantage of FaceTime when I travel.
What was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading Big Potential by Shawn Achor. It was highly recommended to me by a co-worker who attended the Women’s Foodservice Forum Annual Leadership Development Conference.
Favorite Beauty Product:
Aveeno Positively Radiant CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30. It’s lightly tinted and I’m all about having SPF built in for a one-stop shop.
Favorite Form of Exercise:
Running outside with my son in the jogging stroller. I’ve also found a great group of moms through a fitness program called Fit4Moms/Stroller Strides. If I’m by myself, I’m a sucker for the elliptical.
What is on your DVR?
Below Deck is my current mindless guilty pleasure.
Google Maps! You get directions, reviews, hours of operation, phone numbers…it’s everything!
Favorite Kids Store:
Carter’s, because they always have a clearance!