I never thought that talking about my love of old food would garner much attention. Boy was I wrong. I had put this post up a couple of years ago, and then took it offline when we launched The Retro Network. But just this week, two different people contacted me saying they were looking for it. How about that. Well, here it is again, and I’ll leave it up this time so all of you faithful followers can find it from now on.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, when my old man would come home each weekend from working out-of-town, he would always take the family out to eat on Friday or Saturday night. Places like Western Steer and Bonanza were frequent favorites, Pizza Hut was a rarity, and when we weren’t going to one of those places, the destination was Wendy’s. So it’s fair to say that I visited Wendy’s a lot in the late ’80s and early ’90s, and feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what set it apart from its competition back then, and what made it stand out.
So let’s get to it, and take a look at how much Wendy’s has changed since those days, and not really for the better.
Their Commercials Are Not Near As Good As They Used to Be
So first up, let’s take a look at what brings an establishment to people’s attention, and makes them want to visit in the first place, the television commercials advertising the place or products. For years, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas was a fixture in commercials for the chain. He looked like he could be your own grandpa, and put forth a welcoming personality that seemed to not feel like an over-produced commercial, but rather an invitation to dinner from an old friend.
These days, we get this young yuppie girl they call “Red”, where the commercials focus more on trying to be funny (and failing), or hip, and don’t do much to get a vibe across to the viewer as to the core values of the restaurant. Heck, they barely focus on the food they are promoting. With the Dave Thomas commercials, you got a little humor, but he almost always put forth his philosophy of making good, old-fashioned hamburgers. Check out this classic commercial below and see what I’m talking about.
Man, there’s something about an old Wendy’s commercial with Dave Thomas that really takes me back.
The Logo and Signs Have Changed
One change you may not have noticed is that they have dropped their old slogan of “Old-Fashioned Hamburgers” from their advertising. It’s gone from their logo now, and more and more of their location’s signs are being changed to the newer logo. This is a small change, but it’s symbolic in that they are trying to get away from their past, and what made them unique in the first place. The fresh hamburgers. They still make them like this, so why not use that fact in advertising?!?