Wendy"s is regularly seen as the "other" rapid food chain, behind behemoths choose McDonald"s and Burger King. But this restaurant, founded by Dave Thomas, has actually pioneered many of the most popular and also long-lasting food selection items in the rapid food world. 


Wendy"s to be the very first fast food eatery to present things prefer value menus, salad bars, and spicy chicken sandwiches. Even much more surprisingly, the restaurant has had very few items the were noteworthy flops. Sure, part meals have come and gone, yet even those the were discontinued to be popular throughout their time. The most impressive truth may be the Wendy"s has had several items continue to be on its menu since its opening in 1969, consisting of a distinctive side dish and a famous dessert tho beloved today. Clearly, the restaurant has actually known how to placed together a menu due to the fact that day one.

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So what go Wendy"s fast food food selection look choose the year you to be born? Let"s find out.


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According come Ohio background Central, Dave Thomas opened up the an initial Wendy"s restaurant on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio. Thomas" goal to be to serve fresh, hearty meals in a quick-service setting. As such, the very first restaurant"s menu had just 5 items: a hamburger, french fries, soft drinks, chili, and the now-famous frozen dessert well-known as the Frosty. Impressively, every one of these items have actually remained on the menu, there is no interruption, to this day. A year after ~ Thomas founded the an initial Wendy"s, a second location opened, additionally in Columbus. By the late 1970s, the chain was well on its way to ending up being a fast-food giant, with more than 1,500 restaurants throughout North America.


While hamburgers weren"t brand-new by the moment Wendy"s came down on the scene, the restaurant"s burgers were distinct for the square form of its beef patties. This was not done by accident. Thomas thought that what be separated Wendy"s from its competitors was the freshness and quality the its ingredients, many notably the beef used for its hamburgers. He insisted the patties be square shaped so that customers could see the high-quality beef sticking out from the rounded bun. The square shape is also symbolic the Wendy"s commitment to not cut corners when it comes to using new ingredients (via The Square Deal).


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Wendy"s commitment to new ingredients went past the beef it provided in burgess patties. The restaurant was additionally well recognized for the fresh lettuce and also tomatoes it put atop the burgers. It was a natural shift to start serving greens as a standalone enjoy the meal in 1979, as soon as Ohio History main reports that Wendy"s ended up being the an initial fast food restaurant to have a salad bar.


The salad bar went versus the quick food model, in which restaurants try to obtain customers in and also out as easily as possible. Instead, this motivated patrons come take your time serving themselves and also dining. Nevertheless, it confirmed to be a hit v customers. The salad bar remained a well-known restaurant function in Wendy"s franchises throughout the 1980s. That wasn"t long prior to other fast food eateries began to follow Wendy"s example and added their very own salad bars into franchises.


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Wendy"s has actually never been shy about having items on its food selection not checked out in most quick-serve eateries, favor its consist of of chili ~ above its debut meu. No does a small potato scream "fast food", offered how lot time that takes come cook. But, that didn"t deter Wendy"s from including the rather daring baked potato to its menu in the beforehand 1980s (via Thrillist).


During the 1980s, consumers" tastes started to gradually move towards much more healthy foods. Wendy"s responded through the baked potato, a somewhat healthier tater option, at least contrasted to french fries, which to be both higher in calories and also fried in fat oil. Follow to Thrillist, the small potato represents virtually twice as lot food by weight as any order that Wendy"s french fries, despite both come out at about the same variety of calories.

Baked potatoes did come at a expense for Wendy"s, however. That created far-ranging logistical hurdles for restaurant operators, so much so that the chain required to add brand-new convection ovens to each of the franchises in bespeak to chef them. However it"s apparently been precious it, as Wendy"s sells an ext than one million baked potatoes every main (via Reader"s Digest)


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The salad bar verified to be so effective that in 1988, Wendy"s upped the ante through its brand-new creation, the Superbar. According to The Christian science Monitor, the Superbar to be an amplification that the restaurant"s traditional salad bar into, essentially, a full-blown buffet. In enhancement to the normal salad and also fruit station, recognized as the "Garden Spot," the Superbar also offered Mexican and also Italian stations, called "Mexican Fiesta" and also "Pasta Pasta," respectively. Similar to that, Wendy"s became a multi-cuisine eatery.


This expansion of the salad bar was extremely popular v customers, most likely due to the fact that of its low price. In fact, its popularity may have actually caused its demise. Maintaining a work buffet fully stocked and also cleaned while likewise maintaining over-the-counter solutions was a tall job for plenty of franchises and also fast food workers. Still, the Superbar managed to last around a decade prior to it disappeared from Wendy"s menu.


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If quick food is recognized for anything, it"s cheap prices. Nothing encompasses that an ext than the worth meal. Nowadays, ultra-affordable prices space so common that it"s challenging to imagine a quick food chain not having actually a specialized menu section of items priced about one dollar. But it wasn"t McDonald"s or citizens King that came up through the idea, also though they had been around for years prior. Follow to QSRweb, Wendy"s was the an initial to take the plunge once it unveiled its value meal in 1989.


When it was very first introduced in October 1989, the Super worth Menu had nine various items. The offerings rotated among a variety of items, yet you might usually find Wendy"s classics like small potatoes come Frostys top top the food selection at any given time.

The reality that worth meals are still a prominent part of rapid food restaurant menus now proves that Wendy"s to be on to a good idea, despite it take it time because that Wendy"s competitors to record on. Burger King rolled the end its value menu in 1998, when McDonald"s dragged that feet till its dollar menu debuted in 2002 (via QSRweb).


The dawn the a brand-new decade carried some noteworthy to transforms to Wendy"s menu. In an effort to further broaden its healthier meal options, the chain debuted a grilled chicken sandwich in the summer the 1990. Return the restaurant already offered various other chicken items, such as chicken nuggets, the non-breaded, non-fried sandwich gift a new option for progressively health-conscious consumer (via Restaurant News Resource).


The various other notable change in Wendy"s food the year was additionally health-related. Together per The Washington Post, Wendy"s, in addition to McDonald"s and Burger King, announced that it would change the kind of oil used to make its french fries. Rather of frying its potato in fatty beef tallow and also vegetable oil blends, the restaurant would use 100 percent corn oil walk forward. Wendy"s was already using vegetables oil to fry its chicken and fish, however finding oil that could french fries and deliver a similar taste take it time.


Wendy"s to-go salads to be born out of the need to fulfill customers" continued preference for healthy options. While Wendy"s salad bar had been well-known for lot of the previous 2 decades, fewer world were looking at fast-food eateries together dine-in restaurants. Through the 1990s, Pew Research reports, the portion of dual-income households in the United claims was reaching an all-time high at about 60 percent. V both parents working, convenience ended up being a priority once it concerned food. The drive-thru home window surged in popularity as a result, according to Serious Eats.


To do salads more accessible come its customers, Wendy"s introduced its brand-new line of fresh Salads to go in 1992. The an initial four salad offerings to be Grilled Chicken, Taco Caesar, deluxe Garden, and also Side Salads (via The Columbus Dispatch). At the exact same time, Wendy"s was eliminating that is salad bars across the country. The daily Meal reports that the Superbar was discontinued in 1998 and also all salad bars to be gone indigenous restaurants by 2006.


After ahead successes, the didn"t take lengthy for Wendy"s to add to that chicken sandwich lineup. In 1995, just a couple of years after ~ the debut the the grilled chicken sandwich, the restaurant unveiled its new spicy chicken sandwich, which came to be a permanent menu item the complying with year. Today, chicken sandwiches, spicy or otherwise, are usual menu items at plenty of quick-serve restaurants, consisting of Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and also Popeyes, the latter two of which have involved in a somewhat serious chicken sandwich Twitter war.


According to a 2015 push release native Wendy"s, the sandwich"s signature spice odor is obtained from a blend of black color pepper, chili pepper, and also mustard seed. Topped with lettuce, tomato, and also mayonnaise in between a toasted bun, the delectable enjoy the meal was an immediate hit. The spicy chicken sandwich has remained a staple of the Wendy"s food selection to this day. When the restaurant has unveiled a variety of other chicken sandwiches end the years, it"s the spicy version that has long to be a bestseller because that the restaurant chain.


Trying to diversify its non-beef menu, Wendy"s rolled out a brand-new line of chicken and also vegetarian sandwiches in the so late 1990s. The popularity of wraps was booming during this time, for this reason Wendy"s occurred its own take top top the trend with Fresh Stuffed Pitas in 1997 (via Encyclopedia.com). The four-item line consisted of Chicken Caesar, ranch chicken, classic Greek, and garden veggie pitas, The Spokesman-Review reported. All 4 were made come order and also wrapped in boil flatbread.


The product helped Wendy"s attract brand-new customers who generally wouldn"t revolve to rapid food to meet their cravings, specifically women, who had actually traditionally opted for low-fat, vegetarian options. Through November of 1997, Wendy"s declared that pita sales had met or exceeded its very own expectations. Nevertheless, the pitas did not make a lasting impression v Wendy"s decision-makers. The restaurant chose to remove the new Stuffed Pita line, much to the chagrin the fans, some of whom have also signed a Change.org petition in an attempt to bring ago the pitas. The sandwiches haven"t been seen since.


While Wendy"s to be a pioneer in many aspects of the rapid food world, castle were rather late to the video game when it pertained to kids" meals. The restaurant didn"t start offering children menu options until reasonably recently. For comparison, Time newspaper reports the McDonald"s had already debuted its famed Happy Meal way back in the 1970s.


In the at an early stage 2000s, QSR newspaper reports, Wendy"s added reduced-fat white milk and also low-fat coco milk to its menu as choices to soft drinks. In addition, new fruit cups with honeydew melon and also cantaloupe chunks were obtainable in lieu of a next of french fries. No the milk nor fruit cost any extra money when they to be replacing soda or fries.

Although it wasn"t the very first restaurant v children-specific food selection items, Wendy"s did rest ground in one area regarded kids" meals. It to be the very first fast food restaurant to sell milk in plastic grab-and-go packaging (via Dairy Foods). One year-long study had found that elementary and secondary school kids consumed an ext milk once it was obtainable in to-go containers and also in different flavors.


It wasn"t just the small ones who were getting new menu choices. Simply one year after unveiling its kids" enjoy the meal in 2003, QSR newspaper reports, Wendy"s rolled out brand-new options for its combo meals. The new Wendy"s Combo Meal selections Menu allowed customers come order a little chili, small potato, or among two next salads in their combo meal for no extra charge. Previously, combo meals just came through french fries as a next dish.


At the time, the Wendy"s menu had eight combo meals, special hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and also Homestyle Chicken Strips. The brand-new side dish options created 40 different ways to mix and also match a combo meal. Wendy"s claimed this brand-new approach would change the means people think about combo meals. "Everyone wants variety in your combo meals from time come time," said Tom Mueller, then-president and chief operation officer that Wendy"s phibìc America. "We believe this approach will assist Wendy"s stand apart from the competition."


Wendy"s delicious pan favorite Frosty, a cross in between a milkshake and also soft-serve ice cream, is among the most iconic rapid food item ever. Follow to a Wendy"s executive, founder Dave Thomas wanted a dessert so thick customers had actually to eat it with a spoon. Needless to say, he succeeded, lot to the pleasure of Frosty pan everywhere


Most impressively, the Frosty has been ~ above the menu due to the fact that day one, date all the way back to the opened of the an initial Wendy"s restaurant in 1969. But, for the first 36 year of that existence, this frozen treat come in just one flavor: chocolate. That all adjusted in 2006 as soon as Wendy"s finally included a vanilla flavor to its Frosty lineup.

A vanilla Frosty wasn"t the only gift Wendy"s gave us that year. The chain additionally rolled the end a brand new line that Frescata sandwiches according to a 2006 press release. The menu enhancement was easily accessible in 4 varieties: Frescata Club, Turkey through Basil Pesto, Black woodland Ham and Swiss, and Roasted Turkey v Swiss. Each came through a distinctive sauce and was served on freshly made artisan bread.


A name choose "Baconator" is bound to get also the most jaded rapid food fan"s attention, also after countless years that staring in ~ the Wendy"s menu. After ~ biting into Wendy"s new creation, countless customers were not disappointed.


In 2007, the restaurant chain unleashed the Baconator, i m sorry boasted six strips the hickory-smoked bacon spanning a half-pound beef patty v American cheese, ketchup, and mayonnaise (via BusinessWire). Wendy"s also unveiled a new advertising project to encourage the Baconator, airing advertising on nationwide television, online, and also at cinemas. The mix of a catchy name, great product, and media blitz resulted in large numbers for the chain. Wendy"s reported the it sold nearly 25 million Baconators in phibìc America in simply the first eight weeks after ~ its introduction.

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"This is among the most successful new product introductions we"ve had actually in some time," said former Chief executive Officer and President Kerrii Anderson at the time. "We"re proceeding to bring brand-new news come the hamburger category. Together a result, we"re seeing far-reaching sales gains in our main point hamburger business."


Naturally, provided all the excitement, the Baconator is still on the Wendy"s menu today, alongside its slightly smaller sized companion burger, the kid of Baconator.