Why Wendy’s should be heralded more in the United Kingdom - regards, a longtime burger consumer

My GP will not be happy, but when Wendy’s revealed they were opening a restaurant in Leeds, my cholesterol was prepared for the feeding

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When I found out that Wendy’s was opening up a store in Leeds, needless to say, I was happy. Not just because another burger joint was opening in the city centre, not just because Wendy’s burgers are probably one of the best fast-food burgers in the game, but there was a slice of nostalgia involved as well. 

You see, back over in Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa for my Te Reo speaking whanau), though McDonald’s and Burger King were of course franchises that have become ubiquitous in the fast-food business, we were lucky enough to see franchises come over from Australia and the United States. They would roll the dice to see what international expansion could entail - hence why in Auckland there was an abundance of Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr. and Dennys

So imagine my surprise coming back over to the United Kingdom, expecting the gamut of these popular US-based fast-food chains, only to discover that they were not an omnipresent feature over here. Admittedly, I’ve long felt that New Zealand has an influence from US culture more than British culture - an opinion completely based on the amount of US television shows people over here aren’t familiar with that were commonplace on primetime NZ television.

Even in London, which recently saw a pop-up In-N-Out Burger gather a lot of attention, there is no abundance of these eateries, despite London being considered a ‘cultural capital’ of the world. Is it really a cultural capital if they don’t even have a Denny’s diner there? Turns out the only place Dennys exists is in Swansea - you lucky Welsh people you. 

There are more Taco Bells in the United Kingdom, something that wasn't readily available in New Zealand, and yet it is sometimes viewed as ‘trash Mexican’ by some foodies, meanwhile, the good grace that Wendy’s has courted both with its menu and their social media team is only now starting to pick up over here.

So what’s so special about Wendy’s?

Square burgers.

You might need to adjust your approach to the burger, but there is a subconscious reason for the square burger patty (Credit: Wendy's)You might need to adjust your approach to the burger, but there is a subconscious reason for the square burger patty (Credit: Wendy's)
You might need to adjust your approach to the burger, but there is a subconscious reason for the square burger patty (Credit: Wendy's)

Though the whole idea of a square food item isn’t new (potato waffles for example), the concept as a young Kiwi eating a square burger patty was quite contrary as friends opted for McDonald’s. But being older and returning to NZ after studying here, I had forgotten just how incredible those burgers are, and apparently, the idea of a square burger was Wendy’s subconcious way of telling customers they “don’t cut corners.”

But it’s the fresh ingredients and customisation, long before McDonald’s offered such options, that made Wendy’s not only a favourite of mine but a Kiwi favourite also. Wendy's emphasizes the use of fresh toppings, such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and cheese. 

Wendy's has also long touted its use of fresh, never-frozen beef patties. This commitment to fresh meat is a distinguishing feature that sets Wendy's apart from some of its competitors who use frozen patties.

Wendy’s social media game is on-point

But for those who have not tasted a Wendy’s burger, it is their interactions on social media, in particular Twitter/X, which brought them a level of fame that other social media teams can only envy. Their clap-backs have been a thing of wonder and have had no issues with taking aim at their competitors either.

Perhaps one of their greatest moments of poking fun at the competition came in 2017 when Wendy’s social media team threw shade at the King of Burger joints, McDonald’s. The Golden Arches revealed that “by mid-2018, all Quarter Pounder burgers at the majority of our restaurants will be cooked with fresh beef.”

Wendy’s promptly responded: “So you’ll still use frozen beef in MOST of your burgers in ALL of your restaurants? Asking for a friend.”

The older me appreciated the snarky attitude Wendy’s social media team had, and still does; but is it too much to say that Wendy’s appeals to the post-ironic humour I have? That may be a little bit too flattering for Wendy’s, and even myself.

Where can I get Wendy’s from in the United Kingdom?

So if by some means I have got you interested in trying Wendy’s, I have some good news: the company is opening six new branches (including the one in Leeds), as the fast-food eatery has seen an increase in interest in the UK from the sites they have so far.

Those brand new restaurants opening up happen to be:

  • Leeds: 88-91 Briggate, Leeds
  • Peterborough: Maskew Avenue, Peterborough
  • Derby: College Retail Park (Burton Road), Derby
  • Guildford: 12C North Street, Guildford
  • Cambridge: 56 Saint Andrews Street, Cambridge,
  • Middlesbrough: 16 Newport Crescent, Middlesbrough

They join the surprisingly (to me anyway) widespread number of franchises that are already serving their menu to locals in these areas:

  • Brampton Hut - Great North Road, Brampton, Huntingdon, PE28 4NQ   
  • Brighton - 192 Western Rd, Brighton, BN1 2BA    
  • Camden - 189 Camden High St, London, NW1 7BP   
  • Colchester - Northern Gateway, off Junction 28 of the A12, Cuckoo Farm Way.      
  • Croydon - 19/20 Wellesley Rd, Croydon, CR9 1NG    
  • Kingston - 57 Eden St, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 1DA   
  • Lincoln – 195 High Street, Lincoln, LN5 7AL    
  • Maidstone - 35-39 Week St, Maidstone, ME14 1QS    
  • Oxford - 1 Magdalen St, Oxford, OX1 3AE    
  • Portsmouth – Commercial Road, Portsmouth, PO1 1EX
  • Reading - 1 Station Rd, Reading, RG1 1LG    
  • Romford - 64B South St, Romford, RM1 1RB    
  • Sheffield - 25 High St, Sheffield City Centre, Sheffield, S1 2GA   
  • Stratford - The Stratford Centre, 52, Broadway, E15 1NG    
  • Sutton - 96-98 High St, Sutton, SM1 1LT    
  • Uxbridge - 57 High St, Uxbridge, UB8 1JP    
  • Wisbech – Horsefair Shopping Centre, 28 Churchill Road, Wisbech, PE13 1AR    

Truth be told, the idea that Lincoln has a Wendy’s both breaks my heart and leaves me with a sigh of relief; where was it when I was studying at University there, and thankfully it wasn’t there when I was cavalier with an overdraft limit and student loan.

Now, if only In-N-Out Burger would come over here full-time… maybe we'd get the Sussexes back.

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