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Here's Why Wendy's Burgers Have Square Patties

The fast food chain doesn't like to cut corners, and that's especially true of its beef.

As you bite into your junior bacon cheeseburger at Wendy's, you may be too busy enjoying it to think about the square patty that sits between the bun… and wonder why it's shaped that way. Truth is, the fast food brand uses square patties in all of its burgers, and there's a reason for it beyond just distinguishing itself from other chains.

Here's why Wendy's burgers have square patties rather than round ones, which may just make you appreciate the chain even more.

The Wendy's motto

When Dave Thomas founded Wendy's in 1969, he wanted to create a place that could serve quick meals without cutting any corners. In fact, the brand still lives by the words it was founded on: "Quality is our recipe." In addition to focusing on quality, Thomas' menu was inspired by Kewpee Hamburgers, a popular burger spot in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he spent his early childhood. The most notable item on the menu? Square burgers.

Visible freshness

Thomas wasn't shy about showcasing the square burger choice, either. "Dave was always very confident in the quality of our meat," Frank Vamos, Wendy's director of brand communications, told Thrillist in 2016. "He wanted to make sure that the patty sticks out of the bun so that everyone can see it, see the juiciness. And the square patty does that."

Over time, the square burger has become iconic—but it hasn't been problem-free. When the brand merged with Triarc Companies Inc. in 2008, it did extensive consumer testing to overhaul its menu. Executives realized that people interpreted the square burgers as overly processed—despite Wendy's burgers actually being fresh, never frozen (in the continental U.S.).

Instead of scrapping the chain's legacy entirely, the brand implemented a "natural square" shape, which boasts slightly uneven edges. This helps give the burger a more hand-shaped feel. Testers of the original Wendy's burgers also said they wanted a thicker burger, so the grill cooks were trained to press down on the patties two times while cooking rather than eight, USA Today reported in 2011. Plus, they started shipping the hamburgers with a "Handle Like Eggs" label to keep the patties intact.

The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

So, where's the beef?

More than a decade later, the brand is still all about the beef. According to Wendy's Square Deal blog, the square patties are made in five locations across the country and ship in temperature-controlled trucks.

At the end of the day, whether it's square or "natural square," the Wendy's burger's shape is iconic, just like its Frosty and sea salt fries.

Dalene Rovenstine
A New York-based freelance journalist, Dalene Rovenstine often writes about food and drink and health, as well as entertainment, beauty, and other lifestyle topics. Read more about Dalene
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