After I sat down and put together the post, Back When Pizza Hut Was an Experience, that got me to thinking about several other food establishments that just aren’t what they used to be. The happy, friendly, and tasty places I remember from when I was a kid growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s no longer exist in the form that we loved back then.
In this post, there is another old favorite of mine in a cross-examination of just where they’ve went wrong through the years, and that old favorite is Wendy’s.
As I’ve mentioned many times before, when my old man would come home each from 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 80’s and early 90’s, 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 the two examples below, and see the difference in the way they go about their advertising these days:
Man, there’s something about an old Wendy’s commercial with Dave Thomas that really takes me back.