Return to Wendy's (thing)
|Biggie Size it, bizzatch!|
Dave Thomas, burger man extraordinaire and your personal savior, founded Wendy's in 1969. He had previously made millions managing four failing KFC restaurants for Colonel Sanders and turning them into successes. With the money he made from that enterprise, he was ready to live his childhood dream of owning and operating his very own fast food restaurant!
The first restaurant opened in 1969 at 257 East Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio, right here, in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! It was named "Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers" after Dave's eight year old daughter. She was not in fact named Wendy (they called her Melinda, cuz that was her name), but that didn't stop our hero Dave! (It was her nickname.) That original restaurant is still open today, and it doubles as a Wendy's museum.
Wendy's was dedicated to serving higher quality hamburgers than the competition. This wasn't very hard, as McDonald's and Burger King both royally suck. Besides offering good food, another thing that set them apart from the competition was that they offered SQUARE burgers instead of ROUND burgers, which even a common idiot with a degree in hamburgerology can see is vastly superior. Because it's square, you see. DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?? (Why are they square, you ask? Because Dave's grandma told him never to cut corners. Could I make that up?! Okay, I could, but I'm not.)
Make love to me like you are Oprah Winfrey and I am a Wendy's triple!
Dave opened up a second Columbus restaurant in November of 1970, which was the first restaurant in America to have a Drive Thru Window. Not many people know this, but prior to 1970 you actually had to go INSIDE the restaurant to get your food! THE HORROR! The first franchisee-owned store was opened by L.S. Hartzog in Indianapolis, Indiana in August of 1972. The chain continued to expand rapidly throughout the '70s, and the Wendy's Management Institute was opened in 1972 to help train employees and potential franchisees. Note that even though McDonald's' Hamburger University started eleven years earlier, in 1961, they were OBVIOUSLY ripping off Dave's idea because McDonald's absolutely sucks and no good ideas can possibly have come from them. 1976 marked Wendy's GOING INTERNATIONAL, BAYBEE as the 500th restaurant opened in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
A second 1976 milestone occurred that September, when Wendy's had its Initial Public Offering and became a publically traded stock on the NASDAQ exchange. It would later switch to the New York Stock Exchange in 1981, where it is still traded under the symbol "WEN". BUY STOCK NOW!
Wendy's began offering salads in 1979, proving that they are indeed trying to kill people (slightly) more slowly than McDonald's. It was the first new product added to the menu since the chain's inception in 1969 and kicked off a neato "menu diversification program" which is an incredibly complicated way of saying that they added more food to the menu. 1983 would see the addition of the Baked Potato.
WHERE'S THE BEEF?
Despite being the most bling bling fast food franchise in America (have I mentioned the SQUARE BURGERS??), Wendy's still trailed behind McDonald's and Burger King in 1984. This is mostly because Americans are extremely stupid and do not recognize quality food when they see it, but I digress. So in 1984, Dave Thomas knew that SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE! So, they found their key to success--OLD FOGIES! Octagenerian Clara Peller became the center of a nationwide advertising campaign. She would go to competitors restaurants and valiantly search between their hamburger buns for the meat, which of course WAS NOT THERE! "Where's the beef?" she'd ask. Where? YOU KNOW WHERE! At Wendy's!!!
The ad campaign was astoundingly successful, leading to a 31% increase in sales during this period (1984-1986). Even only being around five years old around this time, I distinctly remember seeing these commercials and giggling hysterically at this silly old woman who couldn't find the beef. IT'S RIGHT THERE, OLD LADY! AT WENDY'S! Stop eating crappy burgers and GO TO WENDY'S!
Peller was fired in 1986 for BETRAYING Wendy's by appearing in a Prego ad. A Wendy's VP said: "Clara can find the beef only in one place, and that is Wendy's." Okay, maybe that's taking loyalty a little too far. REGARDLESS, I still think she should've been put to death for her insolence. She died in 1988 at age 86.
I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that
Finally, in 1989, Wendy's launched a new advertising campaign and gave us what we really had been clamoring for--DAVE THOMAS ON OUR TELEVISION SET! He began to appear in Wendy's commercials himself, advertising new products and just generally being a nice guy. This kicked off a period of international expansion for Wendy's, as new restaurants began to open in Mexico, Indonesia, Turkey, and many other exotic and interesting locations!
Was Wendy's content with that? NO! Dave also blessed us with the Super Value Menu in 1989, offering seven great items for only 99 cents! 1990 saw the addition of the Grilled Chicken Sandwich and 1992 added more salads to the menu in order to provide more nutritious goodness.
President George Bush asked Dave (who was adopted) to be the spokesperson for his new national initiative, "Adoption Works…For Everyone" in August 1990. Even though Bush launched us into an unneccessary war in Iraq and sent us plunging into a recession, DAVE WAS ABLE TO GRACIOUSLY LOOK PAST ALL THAT! He accepted Bush's offer and Wendy's adopted adoption (no pun intended) as its nationwide charitable cause. In 1992, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption was created to further that cause.
Wendy's merged with Tim Horton's in 1995, furthering Dave's goal of
May 1996 was a great time in my life, as Wendy's introduced the Spicy Chicken Sandwich and made me an extremely happy man. It remains my favorite menu item. Why, you ask? Because it's the only fast food "spicy" chicken sandwich that's ACTUALLY SPICY. The following month, in June, Wendy's debuted the very popular all-white meat 5-piece crispy chicken nuggets. These are good, but they only come in servings of five! FIVE IS NOT ENOUGH! TWENTY WOULD BE BETTER!
March 2000 sadly saw John "Jack" T. Schuessler take over as Chairman and CEO for Dave, whose health was rapidly declining due to heart and kidney problems he had been battling since 1996. Dave Thomas would pass away from complications due to liver cancer on January 8, 2002.
Fuck you! I've got burger powers!
Today, there are over 8,000 Wendy's restaurants around the world; the company is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. It is still run on the same simple principles Dave founded Wendy's with all those many years ago: "Serve hot, fresh hamburgers that are made to order with a choice of toppings and treat each customer as a special guest."
Go eat Wendy's. NOW!
http://www.wendys.com and http://www.wendyshighschoolheisman.com/hsh/about/history/bio_thom/ were helpful