The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

October 12, 2012

Wendy’s pigtails get first touch-up since 1983

NEW YORK — Wendy’s pigtails are getting a tweak.

For the first time since 1983, the Dublin, Ohio-based fast food company is updating its logo in a move intended to signal its ongoing transformation into a higher-end hamburger chain.

Instead of the boxy, old-fashioned lettering against a red-and-yellow backdrop, the pared down new look features the chain’s name in a casual red font against a clean white backdrop. An image of the smiling, cartoon girl in red pigtails floats above — though this girl looks more vivid and not quite as childlike.

In an interview with The Associated Press, CEO Emil Brolick said the current logo had served the company well for the past three decades, but that it was time for an update. Still, Brolick said he was encouraged by consumer feedback in testing dozens of new logo variations over the past several months.

“When we pushed things too far, they very much reeled us back,” he said, noting that it showed just how attached people are to the brand.

It’s only the fifth logo update since founder Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s in 1969, and perhaps the most significant. The makeover comes as the chain known for its square burgers and chocolate Frosty shakes struggles to redefine itself in the face of intensifying competition from the likes of Panera Bread Co. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., which are seen as a step up from traditional fast food.

Wendy’s push has intensified since Brolick came on as CEO about a year ago. In addition to raising perceptions about its food, Brolick is focusing on renovating outdated restaurants with a look that features natural lighting, flat-screen TVs and a variety of seating options, including cushy chairs in nooks.

The idea is to create a more inviting atmosphere where consumers feel they can relax. Starting in March, Wendy’s says the updated logo will start appearing on newly built and renovated restaurants.

It’s still far from clear whether Wendy’s broader reinvention will succeed. But sales at its restaurants open at least a year have edged up for the last five quarters. Craig Bahner, the company’s chief marketing officer, notes that all brands need to evolve.

“It’s a tangible signal of change,” Bahner said.

The Wendy’s name and original logo were inspired by founder Dave Thomas’ daughter, whose real name is Melinda Lou (her siblings couldn’t pronounce her name when they were younger, so they called her “Wenda,” which turned into “Wendy”).

Thomas thought the name conjured the image of the wholesome hamburger restaurant he dreamed of opening.

In his book “Dave’s Way,” Thomas recalls how the family dressed up Wendy, then 8 years old, in a blue-and-white striped dress for the opening of the first location. To make her pigtails stick out, they put pipe cleaners in her hair. That’s roughly the image of the little freckle-faced girl in the logo.

In undertaking the redesign, the company realized there were three key elements that had to be preserved; the image of the little girl, the color red and the way the “Wendy’s” font swerves up — what executives call “the wave.”

In the new logo, Bahner notes that Wendy’s pigtails peek out from the oval frame, bringing her forward and making her more dynamic. The logo will be part of the new restaurant design that Wendy’s is looking to expand to its roughly 6,000 locations in North America.

Brolick has noted that the revamps “enhance all dimensions of the Wendy’s experience” and that renovated locations see a 25 percent bump in sales. By 2015, Wendy’s plans to have half its 1,425 company-owned locations updated.

Ultimately, Brolick wants the company to be seen as a “top-end” fast-food chain — better quality than McDonald’s, but perhaps not at the same level as Panera.

“Our goal is to be a five-star restaurant at a three-star price,” he said.

Building on the introduction of its sweet baked potato and Bacon Portabella Melt cheeseburger this year, the company is looking at introducing whole wheat buns and flatbreads. Brolick says those type of small adjustments can have a big impact on perceptions about the healthfulness and quality of the chain’s food.

The changes are even extending to employee uniforms, which will be updated next year to have a more tailored look.

The early feedback is positive and Brolick says workers like them — so much so that they even feel comfortable wearing them outside the restaurant.

1
Text Only
World, nation, state
  • REPORT: Retaliation by supervisors common at VA

    A pharmacy supervisor at the VA was placed on leave after complaining about errors and delays in delivering medications to patients at a hospital in Palo Alto, California. In Pennsylvania, a doctor was removed from clinical work after complaining that on-call doctors were refusing to go to a VA hospital in Wilkes-Barre.

    July 22, 2014

  • Veteran's Ducks Iraq vet cited for owning 14 therapeutic pet ducks

    An Army veteran who hurt his back during the Iraq War is worried a citation will result in him losing his 14 pet ducks, which he says are therapeutic.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stacked Apartment.jpg New York building shows how mod design stacks up as cool

    In a city piled high with ambitious architecture, a seven-floor structure off the beaten path boasts a distinction of its own: It’s billed as the first multistory, modular-built apartment building to open in the nation’s apartment capital.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scores dead in first major ground battle in Gaza

    The first major ground battle in two weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting exacted a steep price Sunday: It killed 65 Palestinians and 13 Israeli soldiers and forced thousands of terrified Palestinian civilians to flee their neighborhood, reportedly used to launch rockets at Israel and now devastated by the fighting.

    July 21, 2014

  • Traditional lottery games hold their own

    Ohio’s traditional lottery games are mostly doing well despite competition from their electronic counterparts at four racinos.

    July 20, 2014

  • HIV diagnosis rate fell by third in U.S. over decade

    The rate of HIV infections diagnosed in the United States each year fell by one-third over the past decade, a government study finds. Experts celebrated it as hopeful news that the AIDS epidemic may be slowing in the U.S.

    July 20, 2014

  • Suddenly, the sun is eerily quiet: Where did the sunspots go?

    The sun has gone quiet. Almost too quiet.

    July 20, 2014

  • Monitors try to secure Ukraine plane crash site

    International monitors moved gingerly Saturday through fields reeking of the decomposing corpses that fell from a Malaysian airliner shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, trying to secure the sprawling site in hopes that a credible investigation can be conducted.

    July 19, 2014

  • Israeli bulldozers destroy Hamas tunnels in Gaza

     Israeli bulldozers on Saturday demolished more than a dozen tunnels the military said were being used by Hamas gunmen to sneak beneath the southern border of the Jewish state and carry out attacks on its soldiers and civilians.

    July 19, 2014

  • Credible probe sought in downing of Malaysian jet

    World leaders demanded Friday that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators to determine who shot down the plane.

    July 19, 2014

House Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video