We can all agree that at one point in our lives Wendy’s was tasty AF. We have been intrigued by its square patty and its loveable creator for years. The food chain has been around since 1969 and has managed to keep a loyal following. Wendy’s is the type of fast food that you have to be in the mood for. In addition, you sort of feel like you aren’t eating fast food because everything tastes so juicy and fresh. However, like every fast food chain, Wendy’s has its secrets. In fact, the food chain has had a lot of behind the scenes drama. This isn’t something that we would expect from a restaurant chain that has an owner that looks as loveable as Dave Thomas. Then again, everyone has their secrets and sometimes it’s the secrets that make us love them more. Wendy’s has done nothing but improve themselves year after year. This is why the franchise is still so popular. It has a homey, family atmosphere that makes people want to flock to a storefront and eat a meal with their family. But, we have to wonder after reading this article and learning about some of the shady AF things that this restaurant has been involved in, will it still be as popular? Probably. Regardless, here are a few untold truths about Wendy’s.
10. Chili Is Made Of What?
Wendy’s constantly brags about their award-winning chili. However, we have to wonder, should they be bragging at all? After learning about some weird facts about the chili, we have to wonder if it should still be on the menu. It has been reported by the Huffington Post that the company uses silicon dioxide in their chili. So, that grainy look your chili has is probably just that. The chemical we are talking about is also called silica and can also be found in quartz and sand. Silicon dioxide also acts as an “anti-caking agent”. So, if you are ever wondering why your chili never clumps and always has that watery, ‘fresh’ look to it, this is why. But, don’t hate on Wendy’s too much for using an anti-caking agent because chances are several other fast food places use it as well. Really, restaurants probably use it too. We will admit though, that whole sand-looking thing is kind of crazy. We truly assumed that it was seasoning or maybe super small pieces of ground beef. But sand and quartz? That is a whole other level. We have heard of some crazy things being in fast food but, this just sounds a bit too much.
9. The Founder In A Commercial
The founder of Wendy’s Dave Thomas was deep into retirement when he decided to come back and help the brand. They were having a bit of a hard time keeping up with the other fast food restaurants. They weren’t as popular as McDonald’s or Burger King or even Jack In The Box. so ride or die Thomas wasn’t about to let his legacy go down in flames. He resigned in 1982 but when the popular “Where’s The Beef?” campaign ended in 1985, the company needed a facelift. Always a dedicated employee of his company, Thomas came out of retirement to help out. He didn’t jump into commercials right away he started off small by visiting a few restaurants. He did the whole taking pictures with fans, kissing babies kind of thing. In 1989, he became the official spokesperson and from there he spent a majority of the 90s representing the brand. He actually appeared in more than 800 commercials for Wendy’s before going back into retirement. Thomas eventually passed in 2002 from a tumor that he had been battling for about 10 years. It ultimately spread to his liver and took his life. However, at the time of his passing, there were 6,000 Wendy’s restaurant chains around the US and Canada.
8. They Are A Bit Dicey When It Comes To The LGBTQ Community
We all know that before Ellen DeGeneres had this insanely popular talk show, she has a sitcom. It was called Ellen and it had some pretty decent ratings. Then, DeGeneres came out and let’s just say, all hell broke loose. In addition to her show being pulled, the actor was blacklisted and treated as a social pariah. One of the people that bailed on DeGeneres and her show was the restaurant chain. Wendy’s pulled all their support from the show which was really only advertising during commercial breaks. Regardless, without good advertising and a lack of support, the show went under rather quickly. The LGBTQ community quickly boycotted the food chain. We have to be honest, we never took founder Dave Thomas to be a hater. He has such a loving and accepting face. So, we have a hard time believing he had a hand in this. We think it was more so whoever took over. That being said, he was the face of the company and took most of the backlash. This isn’t the first or the last time a restaurant chain decided to put their views out there. And, this isn’t’ the first or last time that a mass of people will boycott them for doing so.
7. The First Dollar Menu
McDonald’s dollar menu is probably one of the most common and most loved of all the dollar menus. Burger King is probably the second. However, most people don’t know that it was Wendy’s that pioneered the popularity of the dollar menu. The franchise first started their dollar menu in 1989. Back then it wasn’t known as a dollar menu. It was just a menu where every item costs the same price; 99 cents. Wendy’s also did not call their menu the dollar menu and they still don’t. They actually called it their Value Menu. So, in 1998, Burger King decided to follow suit and then in 2002, McDonald’s jumped on the bandwagon. Better late than never right? Wendy’s still has a Value Menu but it is no called the “Everyday Value Menu”. We aren’t really sure the “everyday” was needed but, okay. The menu has even upgraded itself from when it originally started (we would hope so). They have nachos, nuggets, wraps, hearty burgers that are actually dressed as regular burgers (tomatoes, lettuce, etc). They even have their signature Frosty on there. There is no question that they are still in the running for one of the best dollar menus out there. You can actually get a whole meal for $5 and some change.
6. There Is No Original Location Anymore
In 2007, the original Wendy’s location was closed. It was located in Columbus, Ohio which is where Dave Thomas was born and raised. The location was open for 38 years. However, once they merged with Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons there was a significant drop in sales. The decision was eventually made to just close the doors and let it go. Dare we accuse the popular Canadian coffee chain of ruining the founding Wendy’s location? It seems somewhat rash to just get rid of the first ever Wendy’s location. One would assume that there should have been a bigger fight to keep it open. Maybe even make it a historical site. It is clearly too late for all that now but we have to wonder if any of that came into discussion when the decision was being made to shut it down. The building was also eventually knocked down and rebuilt. It cost $1.7 million to renovate and it is now the headquarters of the city’s Catholic Foundation. We really thought that Ohio would rally round a place that kind of put them on the map. However, we can’t blame them, there are so many other, tasty food chains. We can understand why and how Wendy’s fell by the wayside.
5. Wendy’s Breakfast?
Did you know that Wendy’s serves breakfast? We sure didn’t. Apparently, starting in 1985 Wendy’s debuted their breakfast menu. It was an epic flop and the company decided to just stick with burgers and fries oh and Frosty’s of course. In 2007, they decided to give it another go. Why not? McDonald’s has breakfast, Burger King has breakfast. Even freaking Taco Bell has breakfast. Yet, they failed again but this time instead of cutting all restaurants off of their luxurious breakfast, they decided to give a handful of restaurants the pleasure of serving it. About a dozen restaurants scattered throughout the US currently serve the breakfast menu. So, what does it consist of? biscuit sandwiches, breakfast burritos, muffins, and hash browns. It does sound kind of lackluster. And to be honest, the bread for the sandwiches looks kind of dry. They also recently rolled out a panini. The good thing about their breakfast is that it tends to be lower calorie and according to loyal eaters, It always comes out fresh. due to lack of interest, it is made on demand during the breakfast hours. We can only assume that this is the best it will get for this brand and their breakfast. At least they know that they should quit while they are ahead.
4. Wedny’s Kind Of Invented The Drive-Thru
Back in 1971 Wendys was ahead of their time. They came up with this crazy idea that would allow people to not have to leave their car to get their food. We now know it as a drive-thru. Every fast food place has one and some places that aren’t even fast food has figured out how to utilize this invention. It looks like Dave Thomas was really trying to be the first for everything. McDonald’s did not catch onto the drive-thru window until about 1975. There is still a debate as to who really invented the first drive-thru window. Some folks say it was a place called the Pig Stand way back in 1931. The founder saw the need for a faster way to serve his customers and of course, he found a way that worked for him. Then in the 1950s both Jack In The Box and Burger King experimented with the idea. However, they found it too complicated and it didn’t work for them. so they jumped ship pretty quickly. By the time Wendy’s rolled around and took control of the idea they had managed to perfect it. Well, perfect it for them. They have been utilizing it since then.
3. Letters To Wendy’s
Wendy’s has a book. Well, not Wendy’s but it’s written by a man obsessed with Wendy’s. His name is Joe Wenderoth and the book is called “Letters To Wendy’s” he took it upon himself to write an entire novel based off of four things. Burgers, Frosties, pornography, and consumerism. Yes, because all those things naturally go together. According to Amazon.com, the book is quite interesting. The reviews range from love to confusion. “Letters to Wendy’s is an outrageous, tragic, genre-bending novel written over the course of a year on comment cards from the fast-food chain restaurant Wendy’s. Through the letters, the book traces a year in the life and thoughts of an unnamed narrator obsessed not only by Biggies and Frosties, but also by consumerism, pornography, and mortality.”. We have a few questions about this book. How does the franchise feel about this? Wenderoth is associating their restaurant with salacious things like adult content. He is also mixing it into consumerism and he is doing this all on Wendy’s comment cards. The book was released in 2004. The author, Wenderoth has gone on to write a few other books but we have a feeling he will forever be known for writing a book about a fast food chain.
2. They Fired An Old Lady
Wendy’s has had one of the most popular campaigns out there. We all know it, have seen or heard about it. The “Where’s The Beef” campaign dominated the 80s and even after it was over, even till this day, society references it. Wendy’s even saw an increase in sales. The campaign featured this adorable, little, old lady named Clara Peller. She was 84-years-old and had been chosen to do the campaign after randomly auditioning. However, after a year of going hard for Wendy’s, she was fired. In 1985, after Peller decided she was super famous, she appeared in another commercial and Wendy’s wasn’t having it. It wasn’t just any commercial it was a commercial for Prego spaghetti sauce. In addition to that betrayal, in the commercial she actually says; she had “finally found” the beef. This was a straight up dig and of course, it backfired on her. The actress went on to keep a little bit of her fame and eventually passed away in 1987. For a little old lady, she certainly had a lot of drama in her later life. At least she went out with a bang that’s more than other women her age can say.
1. There’s A Secret Menu
Want to try something out of the ordinary? Wendy’s may be able to help you. They have a secret menu. Like many food establishments, their secret menu has a lot going on. According to employees, some of the secret menu items include; a one-pound Meat Cube burger and a Barnyard Burger which has beef, bacon, and chicken. The secret menu items are pretty protein packed. A lot of them have 2 to 3 different meats on one sandwich. Clearly, this can be high caloric. But, because you can control a lot of what happens to your secret menu options, you can get a lighter sandwich and still be satisfied. One of those sandwiches is called the Valley Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It comes with mayo, tomato, lettuce, and bacon. We also assume that you can ask for grilled chicken if you are trying to stick to a diet. There is also a sandwich called the “Meat Cube”. It’s worth noting because quite frankly it sounds like it can’t be healthy for anyone. It’s one pound of meat and to make it worse, there is cheese in between each slice. Come on, you know you want to try it or at least watch someone else try it.