What You Didn't Know About The First-Ever Wendy's

According to the company's website, there are more than 6,500 Wendy's locations across the world, stretching into more than two dozen countries — but the fast-food giant didn't start this way. In fact, when Dave Thomas founded Wendy's, he had no plans to grow what began as a small, local burger joint into a burger empire. The very first Wendy's opened in 1969, says Funding Universe, and was named after Thomas's daughter. At the time, Thomas was envisioning a business that would simply grow enough that it might provide his kids with summer jobs.

He kept the first-ever Wendy's basic — at least, where the menu was concerned. There were only five items on the menu, most of which are fan favorites to this day: hamburgers, chili, fries, soda, and the Frosty. The decor, on the other hand, was a bit extravagant compared to what you would see in other fast-food restaurants around that time; think Tiffany-esque lamps and carpet. However, the combination won diners over and, soon, Thomas had a winning business on his hands, something far too successful to limit to a mere local burger chain.

That first Wendy's spelled international success - even if that wasn't what Dave Thomas originally envisioned

When we say that the first Wendy's won diners over and Dave Thomas "soon" had a winning business on his hands, we're talking extremely soon. Funding Universe relates that Thomas opened the second Wendy's location just a year after opening the first and, only three years after the first opening, he began franchising Wendy's locations, in 1972, the same year he started running animated TV ads in local markets. By 1974, sales were at $25 million. By 1976, Wendy's had grown to a chain with more than 500 different locations. Wendy's would go on to set new precedents for the fast-food industry. (For example, in 1989 it became the first restaurant to offer a value menu; additionally, also in the 1980s, Wendy's introduced a menu item that still makes it stand apart from its primary competitors today: the baked potato.)

Now, Wendy's is known all across the globe for not only its signature menu items like the chili and Frosty, but also newer instant hits, like its spicy chicken nuggets (described on the company website), and its extremely sassy social media presence (check Twitter) – and it all started with a dad who was just founding a restaurant with the hopes that his kids could get a high school summer job.