Skip to content

8 Secrets Wendy's Doesn't Want You to Know

But former and current employees are divulging them anyway.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan

When we're heading to the drive-through, we usually want our food fast, hot, and tasty. We're not really thinking about how it got into our hands so quickly, or the ramifications of such speed. We're too busy trying not to let anyone see us inhaling burgers and slurping down shakes to worry about how our meal was prepared or if employees heard us arguing with our partner through the drive-through speaker.

But sometimes, it's worth noting the secrets of fast-food chains, whether it's to save a few bucks or keep our expectations in check. Not to yuck your yum, but here are some secrets Wendy's probably would like to keep under wraps.

And for more, check out The #1 Worst Breakfast to Order at Wendy's.

1

Founder Dave Thomas Regretted Naming The Chain After His Daughter

Wendy's exterior
Shutterstock

In a 2019 interview commemorating the chain's 50th anniversary, Wendy Thomas revealed that before her dad died in 2002, he told her that he regretted naming the fast-food chain after her. "He said, 'You know what? I'm sorry.' I asked him what he meant. He explained, 'I should've just named it after myself, because it put a lot of pressure on you.'" While she agreed that it was a lot of pressure, she said the name does have its advantages. "Sometimes if I need a reservation, it helps!"

Related: Sign up for our newsletter for the latest food news!

2

Very Little Thought Went Into The Name

Wendy's sign
Xinhua News Agency / Getty Images

Wendy also revealed that her dad's idea to open a restaurant was pretty out of the blue. She said he came home one day and announced he was going to start a restaurant and that it was only going to serve hamburgers. "He wanted a character, because he worked for the Colonel at Kentucky Fried Chicken and knew how much that persona mattered. He said, 'Wendy, pull your hair up in pigtails.' So, I did. He got his camera and took pictures of me and my sister and said, 'Yep, it's going to be Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburgers.' That was it. There was no marketing research, no nothing. Just boom. That's it."

Related: Wendy's Is Launching a New Burger for the Summer

3

The Chili Is Made Of Leftover Hamburger Bits

Shutterstock

According to a shift manager at Wendy's who posted on Reddit, "The only thing that I wouldn't eat myself is the chili. The meat comes from the leftover meat on the grill that dries out. It's then cut up, frozen, and bagged for later use in the chili. It's not unhealthy and it won't make you sick or anything, it just doesn't quite sit right with me."

4

Order When It's Busy

Shutterstock

A former Wendy's employee chimed in on Reddit to say that peak hour was the best time to order at the restaurant. "All stations were manned by the fastest and most experienced employees during the lunch rush. We'd be running that place like a machine. Fresh food was constantly being made and sold so everything was straight out of the fryer or fresh off the grill and it was rare to have a customer wait over 2 minutes."

5

You Might Get Scorched Bacon

wendys breakfast
Courtesy of Wendy's

Another former employee took to Reddit to say that bacon is the "easiest thing ever to make, but if somebody turns off the timer without telling you (as is often the case) then say hello to burned bacon. And bacon is one of the more expensive products, so unless it looks like it was cooked in the fires of hell, y'all gonna get some crispy bacon."

Related: 13 Fun Facts About Wendy's You Never Knew

6

Drive-Thru Employees Are Always Listening

wendys drive-thru
Shutterstock

Former Wendy's employee Kayla Blanton penned an article for INSIDER to state a fast-food open secret: the mic is always on in the drive-through. "When you pull up to the speaker in a drive-thru lane, your car sets off a sensor that turns on the microphone. As long as your car is triggering that sensor, the external microphone stays on. So yeah, they can hear you talking to your mom on the phone, or complaining about the line in front of you. So be nice."

Related: 12 Controversial Secrets of Restaurant Chains You Never Knew

7

The Lemonade Is Far From Fresh

lemonade
Shutterstock

Blanton also mentioned that there's nothing "fresh-squeezed" about the restaurant's lemonade, despite the fact that there are fresh lemon slices in the display pitcher. "Where I worked, they were just for show. I hate to break it to you, but the lemonade we would make at my store was just about as 'fresh' as the powder you mix with water at home. And it calls for a ton of white sugar—like, a ton. So think about that the next time you go for a large."

Related: 112 Most Popular Sodas Ranked By How Toxic They Are

8

There's No Frosty In A Frosty-ccino (Well, Not Really)

wendys frosty ccino
Courtesy of Wendy's

Unlike a Starbucks Frappuccino, a Wendy's Frosty-ccino is not blended. While it's delicious, it's more like an iced coffee. And despite being named after Wendy's signature frozen dessert, the Frosty, there's no Frosty texture. While you might think that this drink is somewhat like a coffee float, it's actually just cold brew and unfrozen Frosty "mix" (aka Frosty creamer)—at least, according to a former Wendy's employee.

For more, check out The Worst Fast-Food Desserts on the Planet.

Julien Perry
Julien Perry is a food and wine writer based in Seattle. Read more