Dissecting the Wendy's Redesign

Monday, February 11, 2013, by Louis Sakoda, Harrison Hayes, LLC

For the first time in almost 30 years, fast food giant Wendy's is attempting to rebrand itself. Wendy's is not only redesigning their time-tested logo, but they are completely renovating the style of their restaurants as well. Does a restaurant chain as large as Wendy's really need to undergo such a significant brand change? Wendy's CMO Craig Bahner seems to think so:

"All great brands evolve," said Wendy's Chief Marketing Officer, Craig Bahner. "When we stepped back and looked at all of the things we're doing we realized it was time to evolve the logo."

While the design of their new logo maintains the freckled-face, pig-tailed character, it rids itself of the memorable tagline "Old Fashioned Hamburgers." The new design has a more modern feel to it that values simplicity while not straying too far from its predecessor.

"We needed to have a logo that both reflected the quality, innovation, contemporary nature of our brand today, and frankly, signaled change to consumers," Bahner said. "The logo is the most visible element of the brand experience."

Beyond its graphical change in its logo, Wendy's has been working with Tesser, an architectural design team in San Francisco, in an attempt to revamp their user experience with a whole new restaurant design.

Consumer studies have already begun in five cities in which four different restaurant prototypes have been launched. In each of these cities, (Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Virginia Beach, Toronto, and Columbus) Wendy's has remodeled two of their existing stores in order to showcase two of the four of these prototypes.

"The four Wendy's designs -- dubbed ultra-modern, urban, traditional and classic -- range widely in tone and look, but all share a few qualities. Wendy's classic red faux-tile roof is gone. Tile floors replace carpeting in the dining rooms. And the company responded to customers' calls for more varied seating arrangements by adding lounge chairs and cocktail-style tables (Satran, 2013)"

Wendy's is not the first, nor will be the last fast food chain to attempt to modernize itself. McDonalds, Burger King, and Subway all have experimented with contemporary restaurant designs, most notably McDonald's ultra-modern location in France. However, none have attempted the type of overhaul that Wendy's is now implementing. We should be seeing the new logo and restaurant design roll out in March of this year.

The verdict: It appears that Wendy's has done its due diligence, and is not just hastily launching the brain child of some hotshot marketing executive. With a contemporary restaurant design and a simple, yet fresh logo, they are following the right trends while still maintaining the value created with their old identity. All that I know is that with all of this hype, I cannot wait to indulge in the new Wendy's experience.

Satran, Joe. "Wendy's Redesigned Restaurants Will Reshape Fast Food Brand." The Huffington Post., 20 Dec. 2011. Web. 11 Feb. 2013.