The Wendy's Story
1969 - Welcome to Wendy's!
Dave Thomas opens the first Wendy's® restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, at 257 E. Broad Street.
1970 - Pick-Up Window
The second Wendy's opens in Columbus, featuring a quick-service restaurant industry innovation -- a Pick-Up Window with a separate grill.
1975 - Across the Border … First Canadian Restaurant Opens
Wendy’s opens its first restaurant in Canada.
1976 - Wendy's Goes Public
Wendy's has its initial public stock offering on the NASDAQ exchange, issuing one million common shares of stock, at $28 per share.
1976 - 500th Wendy's Opens
Wendy's hits the 500th restaurant milestone, with a new restaurant in Toronto, Canada.
1977 - First Television Commercial
Wendy's unveils its first network television commercial, becoming the first quick-service chain with less than 1,000 restaurants to launch a national advertising campaign.
1978 - 1,000th Wendy's Opens
Wendy’s set an industry record by opening 1,000 restaurants in 100 months, with a new location in Springfield, Tennessee.
1979 - Introducing … The Salad Bar
Wendy’s begins its menu diversification program by adding the Salad Bar to its menu.
1980 - 2,000 Restaurants … and Counting
Wendy's opens its 2,000th restaurant.
1981 - Wendy's Joins NYSE
Wendy's stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, using the trading symbol "WEN."
1983 - Baked Potatoes Join the Menu
Wendy's became the first national quick-service restaurant chain to introduce Hot Stuffed Baked Potatoes nationwide.
1984 - "Where's the Beef"
Wendy's introduces "Where's the Beef®?" starring Clara Peller and sidekicks Elizabeth Shaw and Mildred Lane. "Where's the Beef?" was the year’s most popular television commercial.
1984 - Fifteen Candles for Wendy's
Wendy's celebrates its 15th birthday with more than 2,900 restaurants in the United States and 14 countries.
1985 - 3,000th Wendy's Opens
Wendy's opens its 3,000th restaurant, located in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
1989 - Dave Thomas, TV Star
Wendy's introduces a national advertising campaign starring founder Dave Thomas, who quickly became a beloved and iconic figure. Dave continued to appear in more than 800 commercials.
1989 - Super Value Menu Launches
Wendy’s makes another bold marketing move by introducing the Wendy's Super Value Menu, featuring nine quality items available every day for just 99¢ each.
1990 - Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Wendy's introduces the Grilled Chicken Sandwich, as part of an expanded corporate nutrition policy.
1990 - Wendy's Embraces Adoption
President George H.W. Bush asks Dave Thomas to serve as spokesperson for the national initiative, "Adoption Works... For Everyone." Wendy's embraces adoption as its national charitable cause, and in the 25 years hence commits thousands of hours and millions of dollars to raise adoption awareness.
1992 - Introducing Fresh Salads To Go
Wendy's adds five Fresh Salads To Go to the menu: Grilled Chicken, Deluxe Garden, Taco Caesar and Side Salads.
1992 - Wendy’s Creates Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Wendy’s establishes the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®, a charity with one goal: helping every child in foster care find a permanent, loving home.
1992 - Wendy's 3Tour Challenge Debuts
Wendy’s hosts a professional golf tournament -- the Wendy's 3Tour Challenge® -- to benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The Challenge continues through 2013, raising more than $11.6 million in net proceeds over two decades.
1992 - 4,000th Wendy's Opens
Wendy's opens its 4,000th restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas.
1994 - High School Heisman Program Kicks Off
Wendy's honors the nation's most esteemed high school seniors by establishing the Wendy’s High School Heisman®, in partnership with the Heisman Memorial Trophy® Committee. Each year, this leadership award recognizes well-rounded young men and women who excel in learning, performing and leading in the classroom, on the field and in the community.
1994 - Wendy's Turns 25
Wendy's celebrates its 25th birthday with nearly 4,400 restaurants. The company finishes the year with all-time record sales and profitability.
1995 - Wendy's Merges with Tim Hortons
Wendy's merges with Tim Hortons®, a Canadian coffee and baked goods restaurant chain.
1997 - 5,000th Wendy's Opens
Wendy's opens its 5,000th restaurant, a Wendy's/Tim Hortons combo unit located in Columbus, Ohio.
1998 - Wendy’s Service Excellence Program
Wendy's introduces the Wendy's Service Excellence® program in the western region of the U.S.; later, it expands to every restaurant nationwide.
1999 - Wendy's Celebrates 30th Anniversary
Wendy's marks its 30th anniversary with 5,400 restaurants worldwide.
2000 - U.S. Postage Stamp Celebrates Adoption
Dave Thomas’ and Wendy's support of adoption awareness programs reaches new heights when the U.S. Postal Service releases a postage stamp celebrating adoption.
2001 - 6,000th Wendy's Opens
Wendy's opens its 6,000th restaurant, located in Tijuana, Mexico.
2002 - Founder Dave Thomas Passes Away
Founder Dave Thomas passes away at the age of 69.
2003 - Wendy's Opens Innovation Center
Wendy's opens its state-of-the-art Research and Development Innovation Center at its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.
2004 - Chicken Temptations Launches
Wendy's launches new line of chicken sandwiches -- Chicken Temptations -- featuring Homestyle Chicken Fillet, a crispier Spicy Chicken, and the Ultimate Chicken Grill.
2004 - Wendy's Introduces Kids' Meal Choices
Wendy's introduces Kids' Meal Choices, allowing – at no additional charge – the substitution of mandarin oranges for French fries, and either 2% reduced fat white milk or 1% low fat chocolate milk instead of a soft drink.
2004 - Wendy's Introduces Combo Choices
Wendy's unveils a Combo Choices menu, enabling customers to substitute a baked potato, small chili or one of two side salads for French fries when ordering a combo meal.
2006 - No Trans Fat
In a move that significantly reduces trans fatty acids (TFAs) on its menu, Wendy's announces the switch to a nonhydrogenated cooking oil – with 0 grams of trans fat – for French fries and breaded chicken items in its North American restaurants.
2006 - Tim Hortons Goes Public
Wendy’s successfully spins off Tim Hortons as a separate public company, with an initial public offering of the Canadian chain.
2006 - Wendy's Adds Vanilla Frosty
Wendy's adds the vanilla-flavored Frosty™ to the menu, giving customers another tasty option for its iconic dessert.
2007 - Father's Day Frosty Weekend
The Wendy’s holds the first Father's Day Frosty Weekend at restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, raising more than $1 million for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption's signature program, Wendy's Wonderful Kids®.
2007 - The Baconator
Wendy's introduces the Baconator® — a double cheeseburger with six strips of bacon and fresh toppings.
2008 - Wendy's and Arby's Merge
Wendy's and Arby's merges, creating a new public company called The Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
2009 - Happy 40th Birthday, Wendy's!
Wendy's celebrates its 40th anniversary with 6,600 restaurants worldwide.
2010 - Entrée Salads
Wendy's raises the bar on quick-service restaurant salads by introducing a new line of entree salad options: Apple Pecan Chicken, BLT Cobb, Spicy Chicken Caesar and Baja.
2010 - Natural Cut Fries
Wendy's introduces its new Natural-Cut French fries with Sea Salt in the U.S., marking the first complete redesign of the company's classic fries. Made from 100% Russet potatoes, the fries are sliced "natural-style" with the skin on for additional texture and taste.
2011 - Wendy's Spins off Arby’s, and Moves Headquarters Back to Ohio
Wendy's/Arby's Group, Inc. changes its name to The Wendy's Company upon the spin-off of the Arby's® brand. Wendy's then announces the move of its corporate headquarters back to its original location, Dublin, Ohio, after three years in Atlanta, Georgia.
2011 - Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburgers
Wendy's introduces a new line of cheeseburgers named after its founder, Dave Thomas. Dave's Hot 'N Juicy™ Cheeseburgers feature a thicker 1/4 pound patty (“still fresh, never frozen beef"), a buttered and toasted bun, red onions, tomato, lettuce, crinkle cut pickles, ketchup and mayo.
2011 - On NASDAQ
The Wendy's Company switches the listing for its stock from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ.
2012 - Son of Baconator
Son of Baconator® joins the Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger line, a slightly smaller version of the Baconator with all the flavor of fresh ground beef patties, Applewood smoked bacon and fresh toppings.
2012 - Brand Transformation
Wendy's launches a company-wide transformation that will contemporize the brand and improve the customer experience. Key initiatives include bold new restaurant designs, product innovation, and engaging advertising and digital media.
2012 - LEED Certification
The Dave Thomas Building and Conference Center opens at Wendy’s headquarters in Dublin, Ohio. This building is later awarded the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® Silver certification.
2013 - Wendy's Brand Logo
Wendy’s unveils a new, contemporary brand logo in Wendy's restaurants, on uniforms and on packaging, as part of its brand transformation initiative. This is the first major logo change in 30 years.
2013 - Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger
Wendy's once again brings bold innovation to the industry with one of the most unique and anticipated product offerings: the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger. This limited time pub-style cheeseburger gains customer acclaim, outperforming any other promotional hamburger in recent Wendy's history.
2013 - Stock of the Year
Yahoo!® Finance names Wendy's is Restaurant Stock of the Year, thanks to a combination of menu creativity, a continuing brand transformation and rewards by shareholders.
2013 – Flagship Restaurant Opens Near Headquarters
Wendy’s opens its flagship restaurant near its Dublin, Ohio headquarters, featuring the company’s image-activated design concept, as well a community room that showcases Dave Thomas memorabilia in homage to the company’s history.
2014 – New Core Salads Added to Menu
Wendy’s adds two new menu items to its premium salad line: the Asian Cashew Chicken Salad and BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. These new salads feature fresh flavors and on-trend ingredients like fire-roasted edamame and corn, freshly sliced red peppers and spicy roasted cashews.
2014 – National Cause Marketing Campaign Launches
Wendy’s launches its first-ever national fully integrated cause marketing campaign to raise awareness for foster care adoption and to support its long-standing partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
2014 – System Optimization Initiative
Wendy’s announces the completion of its System Optimization initiative with the sale of 104 restaurants in four U.S. markets. The move is part of a strategy to geographically align its restaurant ownership for efficiencies, while generating a more predictable revenue stream.
2014 - System Optimization Continues with Canada
Wendy’s announces it plans to sell all 135 Company-operated Canadian restaurants to new and existing franchisees. This strategy aims to create a strong platform for future growth.
2014 – Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Wins Big
Wendy’s Research and Development team earns Nation’s Restaurant News’ MenuMasters Award in the category of Best Limited-Time Offer for the creation of the popular Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger.
2014 - Silver Cannes Lion Award
Wendy’s wins a Silver Cannes Lion in the Promo & Activations category for the use of social platforms for its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger #PretzelLoveSongs digital campaign.
2014 – Chicago Gets 600th Image Activated Restaurant
Wendy’s opens its 600th Image Activated restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. The re-imaged restaurants feature a fireplace, digital menu boards, a variety of inviting seating options, Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and more.
2015 – Honest Tea Partnership
Wendy’s partners with Honest Tea to launch Honest Tropical Green Tea, a proprietary blend of Fair Trade Certified organic green tea leaves with hints of mango and pineapple flavors, and sweetened with Fair Trade organic cane sugar. The freshly brewed iced tea flavor is exclusive to Wendy’s.
2015 – 90° Lab for Technology Innovation Opens
Wendy’s opens 90° Lab in Columbus, Ohio to fuel future technology innovation. The lab is designed to provide an open, collaborative environment for Wendy’s team members to create ideas and solutions for consumer-facing opportunities, as well as key business initiatives.
2015 – Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Continues the Love
Wendy’s receives a Silver Cannes Lion in Branded Content and Entertainment and a Bronze Cannes Lion in Radio for its Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger “Yes, Yes, Yes” campaign. The Company is also a finalist for its “Love Songs” campaign in Branded Content and Entertainment for Cyber, PR (2), Radio and Creative Effectiveness.