Wendy's was named after a real redheaded girl who wore pigtails. Here's how the fast-food chain got its name.

retro wendys wendy thomasEight year old Wendy Thomas on November 15 1969 at the grand opening of the first Wendys restaurant in Columbus OhioWendy's

  • Wendy's was founded by Dave Thomas in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969. He named the chain after his daughter, Melinda "Wendy" Thomas.
  • In a company blog post on Friday, the original Wendy recounted how her father decided to open a restaurant with her as the main character associated with the brand.
  • "My mom made my blue and white dress and she stuck my hair up in pigtails," Wendy wrote. "And, boy, did I cry. It hurt. Then she stuck those pipe cleaners in there. We sat in front of the photographer for what felt like five or six hours."
  • Here's how the iconic fast-food chain got its name and face.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The face of the Wendy's brand has its origins in reality.

Wendy's was founded by Dave Thomas in in 1969. When it came to deciding what to call the chain, he tried out the names of all five of his children before he settled on the nickname for his daughter, Melinda, which was Wendy.

Wendy was in third grade when the chain's first restaurant opened, though she went on to be immortalized in her child form as one of the most iconic little redheads of all time.

In a company blog post on Friday, the original Wendy recounted the day her father came home and announced that he had decided to open a restaurant that had a character associated with the brand.

"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,'" Wendy wrote in the blog post.

The Wendy's logo as we know it today was based on a young Wendy Thomas as well.

Wendy's logo compositeWendy's

Wendy described getting to skip school on the day that the chain's first restaurant opened in Columbus, Ohio.

"My mom made my blue and white dress and she stuck my hair up in pigtails," she wrote. "And, boy, did I cry. It hurt. Then she stuck those pipe cleaners in there. We sat in front of the photographer for what felt like five or six hours."

Today, there are more than 6,700 Wendy's locations across the world. And, Wendy is still the face of the brand, for better or worse.

"I will always love this brand, but not because my name is on the buildings," Wendy wrote. "I love our products. I love our hamburgers. I just love everything. Why wouldn't I? It's our business. Our family business."

{{}}
Add Comment()
Comments ()
X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.