Wendy's International

Dave Thomas worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Arthur Treacher’s before he opened his first Wendy’s restaurant in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. Thomas believed that Americans wanted larger hamburgers than those offered by other chains, so he created a square beef patty, which probably was influenced by White Castle’s square patty. He charged 55 cents for the large sandwich, which was a risk because at that time McDonald’s charged 18 cents for its hamburgers. Wendy’s claimed that Thomas’s Old Fashioned Hamburger could be ordered in 256 different ways. Thomas concentrated on young adults for customers, as opposed to children whom other chains targeted. He correctly judged the willingness of young adults to purchase an expensive hamburger.
Beginning in 1970, Thomas expanded his operation in other cities in Ohio. In 1972, the first out-of-state Wendy’s was opened in Indianapolis. Wendy’s went from nine outlets in 1972 to 1,818 six years later. Wendy’s went public in 1975. One reason for Wendy’s early success was its drive-thru windows that were installed in 1971. Their advantage was that less space had to be used for parking lots or indoor eating space. McDonald’s and Burger King followed Wendy’s example.
In addition to hamburgers and French fries, Wendy’s has diversified its menu to include chicken sandwiches, the Frosty (similar to a milk shake), baked potatoes, and chili. The salad bar was added in 1979. In September, 1986, Wendy’s introduced the Big Classic, which was a quarter-pound hamburger on a Kaiser-style bun.
Wendy’s, like other fast food chains, has advertised extensively on television. In 1984, the company launched its famous “Where’s the Beef?” commercial. Later that year, the phrase ended up being used by Walter Mondale in his presidential campaign against Ronald Reagan. Dave Thomas appeared in Wendy’s advertisements beginning in 1989.
Wendy’s is the third-largest hamburger chain, with more than 6,600 outlets in the United States and 34 other countries. The company also owns the Tim Horton’s and Baja Fresh Mexican Grill chains. The company also has extensive investments in Pasta Pomodoro and Cafe Express.

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