Wendy's is an international chain of fast food restaurants founded by Dave Thomas in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. As of December 2006 Wendy's was the third largest hamburger fast food chain with approximately 6,700 locations after McDonald's (31,000 locations) and Burger King (11,200 locations). On April 24, 2008, the company announced a merger with Triarc, the parent of Arby's. Under the new owner the company will remain headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. In addition, the company rejected more than two buyout offers from Triarc Companies Inc.,, Wendy’s was then sold to the owners of Arby’s. Triarc Companies Inc., which is run by billionaire investor Nelson Peltz. Roughly paid out was $2.34 billion in an all-stock deal. Wendy’s had previously rejected offers from Triarc before they gave in to the deal.
Wendy's International is the parent company of Wendy's, and is a publicly traded company. Approximately 77% of Wendy's restaurants are franchised, the majority of which are located in North America. Wendy's and its affiliates employs more than 46,000 people in its global operations. In fiscal year 2006, the firm had $9.45 billion (USD) in total sales. While Wendy's sets standards for exterior store appearance, food quality and menu, individual owners have control over hours of operations, interior decor, pricing and staff uniforms and wages.
In response to the 1986 slowdown, Wendy's restructured its cleanliness standards, menu and other operational details to ensure that stores met the goals and standards of the parent company so that its franchises were competitive in the market.
Wendy's menu consists primarily of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, French fries and beverages. The company does not have a signature product such as the Whopper or the Big Mac, instead the burger patties it uses in preparing its sandwiches are its signature item. The company also advertises that its burgers are made from fresh ground beef, not frozen patties.
The first Wendy's Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, opened by Dave Thomas in 1969, was closed on March 2 2007. The signs were removed from the building the morning after its last day in operation. Reasons cited for this closing included a lack of foot traffic by potential customers, the closure of museums within proximity of the restaurant, cost-prohibitive renovations that would have been needed, and the lack of an adequate parking lot in front of the facility. Additionally, there have been several large closures of Wendy's franchise groups in the last few years; most noticeably the closure of its Australian operations and the bankruptcy of the WenAmerica franchise group and closure of its fifty locations in the Midwest region of the US.
In Canada and Maine, as a result of Wendy's 1995 corporate merger of the Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons, many locations were joint Wendy's–Tim Hortons restaurants (although with separate staff at separate order counters). This continued until Wendy's divested itself of Tim Hortons.
The chain is known for its square ground beef hamburgers and milkshakes. The idea for Wendy's "old fashioned" hamburgers was actually inspired by Dave Thomas's trips to Kewpee Hamburgers in his home town of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The Kewpee sold square hamburgers and thick malt shakes, much like the famous restaurant that Thomas eventually founded in Columbus, Ohio in 1969.
Wendy's offers two different hamburger patties, a "Junior" 1.78 ounce (50.4 gram) patty and its "Single" 4 ounce (113.4 gram) patty. Both patties are sold in single, double, and triple sandwich sizes. The previous size of 2 ounces per junior patty was altered to its current size in 2007 to save on expenses from rising food costs. Originally Wendy's had only two kinds of chicken sandwiches, fried and grilled. Their spicy chicken sandwich started out as a promotional sandwich but was put on the menu full-time in 1996 due to its popularity and the fact that compared to most promotional sandwiches, it was much simpler to make (it used the same condiments as the standard breaded chicken sandwich).
Also the Frescata line of sandwiches went from promotional items to being main menu items. After going through several revisions the Turkey and Swiss and the Ham and Swiss were put on the menu full-time. However the Frescata sandwiches were discontinued in December 2007.
In 1988, they were the first fast-food chain to create a single price-point value menu where all items listed on that menu were priced exclusively at 99¢. The menu was restructured in 2007 as the Super Value Menu with prices ranging from 99¢ to $2.00 USD.
The new breakfast menu differs slightly from the one featured in the 1980s, and is structured similarly to its lunch/dinner menu with value meals and various sides. Menu items include several breakfast sandwiches served on biscuits, frescuit and Kaiser rolls, breakfast burritos and side orders of hash browns, muffins and cinnamon sticks. In order to avoid issues from its original breakfast offerings from the 1980s, the new menu is designed for ease of operation, reduced preparation time and lower costs.
Peller was soon after replaced by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas himself. Soft-spoken and cheerful, the "Dave" ads generally focused on Thomas praising his products and offering a commitment to quality service, although there would occasionally be "wackier" ads as well. After Dave Thomas' death in 2002, Wendy's struggled to find a new advertising campaign. After a round of conventional ads describing the food they serve, in 2004 they tried using a character they made called "Mr. Wendy" who claimed to be the unofficial spokesperson for the chain. After seven months, Wendy's returned to an animated campaign focusing on the difference between Wendy's square hamburgers and the round hamburgers of competitors. In 1997, the company pulled its advertising from the sitcom Ellen after the show's main character came out as a lesbian. The result was a boycott initiated by the gay and lesbian community.
Wendy's marketing arm engages in product placement in films (such as The Day After Tomorrow, Mr. Deeds, Garfield: The Movie, and Click) and television and is sometimes seen on ABC's hit reality show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition serving food to the more than 100 construction workers. A recent Wendy's commercial features the tune from the Violent Femmes song "Blister in the Sun." The Wendy's franchise outlet featured in The Day After Tomorrow is located on Route 4 in Paramus, New Jersey.
Other memorable campaigns include the "Ranch Tooth" campaign of 2006. The Ranch Tooth, as voiced by Adam Carolla and created by McCann Erickson Worldwide marketing protege Phil Kollin, reminded average people of their craving for a Monterrey Ranch Chicken Sandwich or Cheeseburger, often at an inconvenient time.
With their recent "That's right." ad campaign not a success, Wendy's has unveiled a new ad campaign, featuring an animated Wendy that highlights certain menu items. The new ad campaign made its debut in late January 2008, with a new slogan: "It's waaaay better than fast food. It's Wendy's."
|Map of Wendy's global locations|
Red = countries currently with Wendy's
Orange = countries formerly with Wendy's.
|Countries currently with Wendy's locations:|
|Countries formerly with Wendy's:|
When Wendy's opened stores in Australia, they did not last long. Nine restaurants in Victoria were opened in the 1980s and sold to Hungry Jack's (Australian franchise of Burger King) in 1986 to help ease debt. There is currently another brand of fast-food restaurants called "Wendy's" in Australia and New Zealand. They are an ice cream, hot dogs and drinks franchise which is unrelated to the American hamburger chain. (See Wendy's Supa Sundaes). Both the American and Australian chains' operations coexist in New Zealand.
The first Wendy's location in Germany was opened in 1979 and at a time there were over 36 restaurants across the country in Munich/Augsburg/Landshut, Nuremberg/Fürth, Frankfurt, Cologne, Heidelberg/Mannheim/Worms and Baumholder, all locations had closed by the late 1980s to ease debt. Many former sites are now Pizza Hut.
Wendy's has tried twice to establish itself in the United Kingdom, with unsuccessful results. The first attempt was made in the 1980s, with 16 restaurants opening. Sales were low and eventually all 16 restaurants were closed in 1986 and were sold off to Whitbread. The chain sold its UK restaurants (as well as those located in several other countries) with hopes to ease debt. Wendy's returned to the UK in 1992 for a second try, this time opening sites across the UK in prime locations. These included several in London (on Oxford Street, Shaftesbury Avenue, York Way, Croydon, Uxbridge, Acton, Hounslow, and Wood Green) and in other cities such as Belfast, Bradford, Birmingham, Leicester, Magor, Manchester, Watford, Stevenage and Leeds (Briggate). A store was also opened in Dublin, Ireland. Wendy's was aiming for at least 25-30 initial UK outlets and was open to franchises and joint ventures with hotels and leisure/retail developments. However, growth progressed much slower than anticipated. 10-12 UK openings were predicted for the year 1995 alone, and in 1996 25 openings were planned. In 1997 a modest 6-8 openings were expected, and not even all of those eventually came to fruition. When all was said and done, only 18 restaurants opened total. Wendy's blamed the failure on high rent prices and operating costs (especially in Central London) for slow growth, and on competition with McDonald's, Burger King and KFC, all of which were already well-established in the highly-developed UK fast food market. In 1998 the company reviewed its UK operations and decided to close many of its badly performing company-owned restaurants; a further review in 1999 led to the closure of 7 remaining company-owned stores by mid 2000, including the company's valuable sites in London. The company pulled out of the UK quickly and most restaurants were sold to rival McDonald's' or given back to leaseholders and landlords. The Croydon branch was taken over by an outdoor store, the Acton and Bradford branches became KFC and the Hounslow branch became a Greggs, The Watford branch became a Burger King (which it still is to this day, and the Uxbridge branch became a test location for Taco Bell, which shortly closed soon afterwards. The sale of these stores generated £1.5 million. A handful of franchised restaurants were unaffected by the closing of company-owned restaurants, and Wendy's promised to support the existing UK franchisees from its headquarters in Dublin, Ohio although it no longer allowed new franchises to be opened. Over the years the few remaining franchised restaurants closed, and the final (located at Terminal 3 Arrivals at the London Heathrow Airport) closed in early 2007. It is unlikely that the chain will attempt to enter the British market again after two failures. The chain is one of several large US companies that have failed to establish themselves in the UK, including Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts, Arby's and Popeye's.