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1969: Dave Thomas opens the first Wendy's restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.

1970: The second Wendy's opens in Columbus, featuring a Pick-Up Window with a separate grill.

1976: Wendy's has its initial public stock offering on the NASDAQ exchange, issuing one million common shares of stock, at $28 per share.

1981: Wendy's stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, using the trading symbol "WEN"

1984: Wendy's introduces "Where's the Beef®?" starring Clara Peller.

1999: Wendy's marks its 30th anniversary with 5,400 restaurants worldwide.

2011: The Wendy's Company switches the listing for its stock from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ.

Little did Dave Thomas know that the restaurant which he opened in 1969 would become one of the largest fast-food chains in America - Wendy's (WEN - Get Report) .

It all started in Columbus, Ohio. 257 East Broad Street to be exact!

The second Wendy's opened in 1970 and it included a very important invention: the drive-in window! Chick-fil-a, McDonald's (MCD - Get Report) , Burger King, Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report)  and Dunkin' Donuts (DNKN - Get Report) can all thank Dave Thomas for changing the way we order food!

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Wendy's History

There are reportedly more than 6400 Wendy's restaurant chains world wide.  But, it wasn't always such a monster burger empire.  Dave Thomas created Wendy's following a series of setbacks.  Thomas lost his adoptive mother when he was five, he had to get a job when he was 12. He lost his job at TheRegis, then he lost his job at the Walgreens soda fountain. But, he never gave up!  At the age of 15, Thomas landed a job at the Hobby House and what he learned there set his career and success in motion.

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Here are a few stand-out moments in the company's history.

  • 1969 the first Wendy's opens
  • 1970 the first pick-up window 
  • 1776 Wendy's goest public
  • 1980 2,000 restaurants
  • 1984 "Where's the beef?"

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