Six Fun Fact About Wendy’s

1. Wendy’s was founded in 1969

Most people know Wendy’s isn’t as old as McDonald’s or Burger King, but it’s no newcomer either. Wendy’s — the third-largest fast-food burger chain in the world — has been around for more than five decades since it was founded in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio, by Dave Thomas.

2. There is a real Wendy

Wendy isn’t just a made-up fast food mascot — there really was an actual Wendy! Founder Dave Thomas named the restaurant after his daughter, Melinda Lou “Wendy” Thomas-Morse. Her likeness was also used for the red-pigtailed Wendy character, she has appeared in numerous commercials, and she and her siblings still own dozens of Wendy’s restaurants across the country.

3. Dave Thomas was an early supporter of KFC

Before becoming a famous fast food spokesperson, Dave Thomas advised another future spokesman: Col. Harland Sanders. In the 1950s, Sanders was searching for potential Kentucky Fried Chicken franchisees when he met Thomas, who was then working at a Fort Wayne, Indiana, restaurant called the Hobby House. After the Hobby House signed on with KFC, Thomas helped Sanders build his brand with recommendations like a smaller menu, serving chicken in a red-and-white bucket, and having Sanders personally appear in commercials. Thomas eventually sold his KFC shares back to the Colonel for $1.5 million and departed the company with enough money and knowledge to start his own chain.

4. They pioneered the drive-thru window

Wendy’s didn’t invent the drive-thru, and they weren’t the first fast food chain to use one, but they get credit for pioneering the concept because they were the first to install drive-thru windows at every one of their locations. The first Wendy’s drive-thru, which Dave Thomas called the “pick-up window,” was introduced in 1971. It was still a new concept to many customers, some of whom needed to be given instructions on how to order.

5. At first, there were only five menu items

Wendy’s was a model of simplicity at first. When they opened in 1969, the fast food franchise offered just five items, all of which are still on the menu today: hamburgers, fries, chili, soft drinks, and the now-famous Frosty dessert.

6. There’s a strategy behind the square patties

Dave Thomas used to say his burger patties are square because Wendy’s doesn’t cut corners, but there was a real reason behind the shape. From the beginning, Wendy’s wanted to differentiate itself from the competition by emphasizing the size and quality of its burgers, so Dave used square patties to make them more visible and less likely to be obscured by a bun.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.