In the pantheon of burger chains, Wendy’s ranks a distant third to its biggest competitors, McDonald’s and Burger King, in terms of number of locations. With its never-frozen square patties, Frostys, and chili, however, it has developed a loyal following and manages to remain a fierce competitor while sticking to the core formula first devised by founder Dave Thomas in 1969. But whether you’re a regular customer or just an occasional Frosty buyer, we bet that there are some things you didn’t know about Wendy’s.
The story of Wendy’s begins, of course, with its founder, Dave Thomas. Thomas began working in restaurants at age 12, and after serving in the Korean War he became head chef at a Fort Wayne, Indiana, restaurant called Hobby House, which soon converted into a KFC franchise at the insistence of Colonel Harland Sanders himself. Thomas and Sanders became friends, and in the mid-1960s Thomas was sent by the Fort Wayne franchise’s owners to turn around four failing KFCs that they owned in Columbus, Ohio. By 1968 those locations were doing so well that he was able to sell his shares in them back to Sanders for more than $1.5 million. He used the cash to open a restaurant of his own, specializing in burgers, which he christened in honor his eight-year-old daughter Melinda Lou, who was nicknamed Wenda, giving it the slightly more common name of Wendy’s.
The first location of Wendy's opened in Columbus on November 15, 1969. By 1976, 500 locations had sprung up in the United States and Canada, and the chain just kept on rolling from there. Today, there are more than 6,650 Wendy’s locations worldwide. Read on for 19 things you may not have known about Wendy’s.