How and why has Wendy’s changed over time to become the restaurant it is today? Wendy’s is a quick serve, fast food burger chain, and is famous for their square patty, fresh, never frozen hamburgers. They are also well known for their catchy advertising and slogan’s. Wendy’s became the restaurant it is today through rapid expansion, the addition of new menu items, and incorporating creative advertising, all while never losing its identity of producing the freshest products with the freshest ingredients.
Dave Thomas founded Wendy’s on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio. He founded Wendy’s because he complained he could not find a good burger to eat in Columbus. Thomas named the restaurant after his eight-year-old daughter Melinda Lou, who was nicknamed Wendy by members of her family. The famous Wendy’s logo was made to look like Melinda Lou, featuring red hair, freckles, and braided pigtails, along with the blue and white striped dress. The first restaurant was located on Broad Street in Columbus. Its menu featured made-to-order hamburgers with their square patties, chili, French fries, soft drinks, and the Frosty frozen dessert.
Wendy’s rapidly expanded from the founding of its first restaurant in 1969. Wendy’s opened their second store one year later in November of 1970. In the middle of 1975 Wendy’s opened their one-hundredth store. Then, at the end of 1976, they opened store number five hundred, which was also their first international restaurant, located in Toronto, Canada. This was an astounding growth of four hundred stores in only a year and a half. In 1978, Wendy’s set a record by becoming the fastest restaurant chain to open one thousand stores among its competitors. In a twenty-one month span from February of 1978 to November of 1979, 750 new restaurants opened, an average of almost 1.5 stores per day, a remarkable feat. Frederick J. DeMicco of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University states, “Wendy's growth through the '70s was nothing short of exceptional.” Wendy’s had opened stores in 1,767 locations by the end of 1979, which moved them into third among burger restaurants, behind only Burger King and McDonald’s, which was number one. From November of 1979 to February of 1985 1,233 more stores were opened, making it 3,000 in all. However, this speedy pace would slow down. It took almost seven years to open another one thousand restaurants. Wendy’s now has over 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and 27 countries worldwide, and as of 2012 had overtaken Burger King for the number two spot among burger chains. Unprecedented expansion rates and success early on has led to continued success for Wendy’s restaurant chain.
Clever advertising campaigns throughout the years have also shaped Wendy’s into who they are today. The ads helped to support growth in their early years, while also boosting sales. The first Wendy’s ad aired locally in 1972, and was named “C’mon to Wendy’s.” The ad stressed their “Quality is our Recipe”...