- November 15, 1969
The first Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers restaurant opened in downtown Columbus, Ohio at 257 East
Broad Street. The restaurant is still open today, serving our customers in the original store decorated as
a living museum of Wendy’s history.
- November 1970
Wendy’s breaks new ground by opening a second restaurant in Columbus, featuring a Pick-Up Window
with a separate grill, a unique feature in quick-service restaurant industry. Wendy’s is credited with
creating the first modern-day, Drive-Thru Window.
- August 1972
The first Wendy’s franchisee, L.S. Hartzog, signed an agreement for Indianapolis, Indiana.
- December 1972
The Wendy’s Management Institute was formed to develop management skills in restaurant managers,
supervisors and franchise owners.
- September 1976
Wendy’s had its first public stock offering, with one million common shares sold at $28 per share on
the NASDAQ exchange.
Wendy’s Stock Price
- December 1976
Wendy’s expands into Canada when the 500th Wendy’s restaurant opened in Toronto, Ontario.
- March 1979
The 1,500th Wendy’s opened in San Juan, Puerto Rico
- November 1979
Wendy’s celebrated its 10th Birthday with 1,767 restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada
and Europe. Wendy’s opened more than 750 restaurants in 21 months, or almost 1.2 per day, a feat rarely
accomplished in the restaurant business.
- November 1979
Wendy’s became the first national restaurant chain to introduce Salad Bars on its menu. It was the first new
product added for Wendy’s and began the company’s menu diversification program.
Wendy’s opened its 2,000th restaurant in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.
- May 1981
Wendy’s joined the prestigious roster of public companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange using
the symbol “WEN”.
- October 1983
The baked potato was introduced, making Wendy’s the first chain to offer baked potatoes nationwide.
- May 1983
Wendy’s 2,500th restaurant opened in Silver Spring, Maryland.
- January 1984
“Where’s the Beef?” These three words became a national slogan as the award-winning advertising
campaign swept the nation. The popular commercials helped the company produce one of the most
successful years in the company’s history.
- November 1984
Wendy’s celebrated its 15th Birthday with more than 2,900 restaurants in the United States and 14
- February 1985
Wendy’s opened its 3,000th restaurant in the French Quarter in New Orleans.
- September 1986
Wendy’s introduced the Big Classic, a quarter-pound hamburger loaded with fresh toppings, served on a
corn dusted Kaiser-style bun. It later became the Big Bacon Classic®.
- Summer, 1990
Wendy’s announced an expanded corporate nutrition policy with the introduction of a Grilled Chicken
- October 1990
Dave Thomas was asked by President George Bush to serve as spokesperson for the national initiative,
“Adoption Works…For Everyone.” Wendy’s embraced adoption as its national charitable cause, committing
time and financial resources to raise adoption awareness.
- March, 1992
Wendy’s added five Fresh Salads to Go to the menu: Grilled Chicken, Deluxe Garden, Taco, Caesar and
- September, 1992
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption™ was founded to support Dave’s fervent belief that every
child deserves a loving home.
- September 1992
The inaugural Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge™ is played at New Albany Country Club in a suburb of
Columbus, OH. The Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge features three of the best golfers from the PGA, LPGA
and Senior PGA Tours in head-to-head team competition. The annual made-for-TV event is broadcast on
ABC-TV the weekend before Christmas. The Wendy’s Three-Tour Challenge is the major fundraiser for
the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, raising nearly $10 million in the first 10 years.
- December 1992
Wendy’s opened its 4,000th restaurant in Bentonville, Arkansas.
- March 1993
Dave Thomas always regretted dropping out of high school. He called it the biggest mistake of his life.
Forty-five years after leaving high school, Dave received his GED and honorary high school diploma from
Coconut Creek High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
- December 1994
The Wendy’s High School Heisman program was created to recognize outstanding high school seniors who
excel in academics, athletics and community service. With more than 12,000 nominees, the recognition
program culminates with a finalists’ weekend in New York City in December during the college Heisman
- November 1994
Wendy’s celebrated its 25th Birthday with nearly 4,400 restaurants in 34 countries and territories.
- December 1995
Wendy’s International merges withTim Hortons, a Canadian coffee and fresh baked goods chain. Both
companies share a mission to deliver quality food, value and unparalleled service to the world.
- June 1996
Wendy’s introduced its all white meat 5-Piece Crispy Chicken Nuggets as part of the 99 cent Super
- May 1996
Wendy’s added to its line of great chicken sandwiches by turning up the heat for those who like their
chicken hot and spicy, and introducing the Spicy‚ Chicken Sandwich.
- March 1997
Wendy’s opens its 5000th restaurant in Pickerington, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, home of the first
Wendy’s restaurant. On hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, Dave Thomas said, “I opened the first
Wendy’s restaurant because I felt there was a place for fresh hamburgers made just the way the customer
wants. That’s as true today as it was 27 years ago.”
- January 1998
The Service Excellence program began in the Western Region of the United States. Later, the program
was introduced into every restaurant nationwide. This program was designed to improve customer service
focusing attention on every aspect of the customer experience.
- March 2000
John “Jack” T. Schuessler was named Chairman of the Board and CEO. He joined Wendy’s in 1974
as a manager trainee and was promoted through the organization to division, senior and executive vice
president operations positions along with President/COO for Wendy’s U.S.
- May 2000
Wendy’s support of adoption awareness programs reached new heights when the company partnered with
the U.S. Postal Service to create a 33-cent stamp celebrating the joys of adoption. The Adoption Stamp was
first unveiled at a ceremony at Rockafeller Center in New York City.
- March 2001
Wendy’s announced a joint venture between its Tim Hortons subsidiary and Ireland-based IAWS Group/
Cusine de France, a leader in par-baking technology. This venture allows Tim Hortons to utilize Cusine de
France’s recipes and state of the art production for baguettes, specialty breads and confectionery items.
- August 2001
Wendy’s became title sponsor for the LPGA golf tournament, “Wendy’s Championship for Children™”.
Wendy’s used sponsorship of the tournament to host several events and ultimately raise over $1.5 million
for the Gordon Teter Chair for Pediatric Cancer at Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio (named after
Wendy’s former chairman and CEO).
- October 2001
Wendy’s opened its 6,000th restaurant, located in Tijuana Mexico.
- January 2002
Wendy’s Founder, Dave Thomas passed away and the nearly 13-year ad campaign that he anchored ended.
- February 2002
Wendy’s invested in Café Express, a Houston-based company and a leader in the emerging fast casual
- March 2002
Wendy’s introduced Garden Sensations™, a new line of 4 entrée salads to meet changing consumer tastes.
The line includes a Mandarin Chicken™, a Chicken BLT, the Taco Supremo and a Spring Mix Salad.