The Untold Truth Of Wendy's Twitter Account

What's your favorite item on the Wendy's menu? The Spicy Chicken Sandwich? The Frosty? Or the sass?

Vulture called it "The Wendy's Roast Heard Round the World." In January of 2017, the fast-food chain became famous for more than its chicken nuggets when it clapped back at a Twitter user who, as Wendy's playfully accused, "had forgotten refrigerators existed." It was a bold statement by the brand but people loved how funny (and sassy) the Wendy's persona was.

Even media outlets like The Washington Post pointed out the irony behind Wendy's brutal burns, all while repped by a mascot who is pretty much the sweetest little girl you can imagine. Fans were hooked, and the chain now has 3.8 million followers compared to 3.7 million McDonald's followers and only 1.9 million Burger King followers. It's no wonder Fast Company put Wendy's at number one on its list of "Most Innovative Companies" in 2019, and why publications like Time Out love rounding up the chain's best quips. A great example of this is when McDonald's accidentally tweeted a placeholder, "Black Friday **** Need copy and link****," and Wendy's retweeted with: "When the tweets are as broken as the ice cream machine."

So, where does all this sass come from? Who's writing these tweets? Let's uncover the truth behind the Twitter beef.

Wendy's is a marketing trendsetter

What makes the Wendy's Twitter account so unique is that it isn't following some classic marketing playbook. In fact, the brand is credited with setting the tone for how brands interact with followers on social media today. As Vulture explains, brands had already ditched the promotions and started speaking directly to their clients but it was Wendy's who made this approach an art form  — and a viral one at that — with its specific kind of comedy.

Wendy's Chief Concept and Marketing Officer at the time (he has since changed titles) Kurt Kane told Forbes: "We want to be likable and sassy. We don't want to be seen as sarcastic and rude. But we walk a fine line." Maybe that balance is what made the Wendy's persona one for other brands to emulate. After all, when a Twitter user asks Wendy's to point her to the nearest McDonald's and Wendy's simply responds with an image of a trash can, how can you not laugh (via Ranker)?

In addition to brand-roasting, Wendy's also started the "how many retweets for X" trend, reports Vulture. In April of 2017, a Twitter user asked: "How many retweets for a year of free chicken nuggets?" and Wendy's set the bar at 18 million. The tweet hasn't reached 18 million yet, but after it became the most retweeted tweet ever, Wendy's did give the person a year of free nuggets, via Delish.

Wendy's has invented a social media holiday

The roasts from Wendy's became popular fast. As the brand's Twitter bio states: "We like our tweets the same way we like to make our hamburgers: better than anyone expects from a fast-food joint." 

Writer Marina Nazario summed up the phenomenon for Spoon University"Customers love interacting with brands on social media. It makes us feel like our opinion or problems matter. Wendy's being active on social media is nothing new — the roasting, however, is something we haven't seen yet. And people seem to love it."

So what to do when you've got a craze on your hands? Make it a holiday, of course! Wendy's started celebrating its own talent for comebacks with #NationalRoastDay. According to TODAY, the chain invented the holiday soon after starting the brands-roasting-brands trend, and while it's not like Wendy's won't roast anyone the other 364 days a year, #NationalRoastDay really fires Twitter users up and gets all eyes on Wendy's. In fact, other brands love getting in on the fun so much that they volunteer to be roasted.

Thrillist rounded up some epic Wendy's tweets from 2021's #NationalRoastDay, on February 11. When Velveeta asked to be roasted, Wendy's replied, "How are you a verified account when you're not even verified cheese?" And to Oreo's request: "New flavor idea: Don't."

Who is behind the Wendy's Twitter account?

With such a noticeable impact on social media marketing and such memorably hilarious tweets, the biggest question on people's minds quickly became: "Who is behind the Wendy's Twitter account?" Mashable was quickly on the case, divulging the identity of Wendy's social media manager in January of 2017.

The clever tweet author was Amy Brown and although there are multiple people behind Wendy's Twitter account (no one can be tweeting 24/7!) Brown was the whip-smart sass master with a razor-sharp wit who kicked off the entire roasting sensation and led Wendy's to its place in the social media hall of fame. The brand's vice president of advertising at the time, Brandon Rhoten, told Mashable that he'd hired Brown "after trolling her on Twitter," so the social media expert's unique flair had been fully vetted.

Brown has since moved on from Wendy's, and a 2019 Fast Company article reveals that the Twitter feed is currently penned by a team of five witty employees.

The Wendy's Twitter team opened up with a Reddit AMA

Other than the limited behind-the-scene peeks offered by marketing-focused publications like Mashable, Wendy's keeps its Twitter operation under pretty tight wraps. But in December of 2017, Wendy's gave in to its fans' clamoring and pulled back the curtain with a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). As you can imagine, the team's answers were a mix of serious and, well, not so serious.

To a question on what made Wendy's take its signature Twitter approach, the brand replied: "We've had this tone for a while, it just took time for people to notice." And if you've wondered if anyone on the team has ever actually gotten in trouble for a tweet that maybe went too far, the team said: "Not like big-time trouble, but sure, we've been 'talked to." In a less genuine reveal, the Wendy's team also answered an inquiry on what type of education was needed for such a job with: "A Masters at the School of Memeology nothing less."

Wendy's released a brand-roasting rap album

In March of 2018, Wendy's took its penchant for internet beef into the world of music, releasing a hip hop mixtape called, appropriately, We Beefin'?. The five-track album debuted on Spotify, iTunes, and Google Play, according to the Chicago Tribune. Songs like "Twitter Fingers," "Holding It Down," "Rest in Grease," "Clownin," and "4 for $4" captured and elevated the fast-food chain's beloved sense of humor, and did so in a way that was, perhaps surprisingly, actually good in musical terms. Thrillist even said that you could probably put the mixtape on and your friends wouldn't even notice it was a marketing stunt and not a standard hip hop record.

CNBC reported that Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor placed the focus of the mixtape on the fact that Wendy's food is fresh and never frozen. 

"It's really about telling our food story, that we're fresh, never frozen, and we called out a few of the competitors along the way, but we want to really make sure that people understand that we are fresh and we're a little bit different," Penegor said (via CNBC).

However, fans may have been more drawn to the fact that this album was jam-packed with the kind of brand-roasting that made the Wendy's Twitter account a hit. Few lines capture the genius of Wendy's tweets better than a lyric pointed at McDonald's from "Rest in Grease" (via Genius): "You number 1? That's a joke / Why yo' ice cream machine always broke?"