New “Flagship” Wendy’s in Dublin Is Hi-Tech, Historic

Wendy's flagship store in Dublin(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)
Wendy's flagship store in Dublin(Photo: Sam Hendren / WOSU)

Wendy’s opened a new flagship restaurant across the street from its corporate headquarters in Dublin Tuesday. The building’s design is ultra-modern but it’s also packed with memorabilia. Some of the items came from the original Wendy’s on East Broad Street.

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Most everyone in Central Ohio knows the story. Dave Thomas opened his first Wendy’s in 1969 in downtown Columbus. Since then the company has become a fast-food giant with global operations.

When the company decided to open a new “flagship” restaurant it set out to make it state-of-the-art but with elements honoring its roots. Wendy’s spokesman Denny Lynch says a lot of memorabilia came from the first Wendy’s on East Broad Street which has since been shut down.

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“When we closed the restaurant we took the memorabilia and put it in storage. We knew that we were going to use it at some time in the future; we just didn’t know exactly when and when we decided to build this restaurant we decided to add a very special room and bring the memorabilia and put it on display for the public,” Lynch says.

And there’s a lot to see. From the original Wendy’s lighted sign above the community room entrance to an original dining table with its newsprint top and bentwood chairs.

RELATED: 18 Photos of the Original Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio

There are souvenirs from memorable ad campaigns, says Lynch, and more.

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“We have the history of advertising with Clara Peller and Where’s The Beef? The Dave Thomas campaign. In 1996 the Olympics came through here with the torch relay and Dave Thomas carried the torch. We have the actual torch that is on display here.” Lynch says.

The building is not a shrine to the past, its ultra-modern exterior and interior are loaded with the latest technology: a WI-Fi bar, flat screen TVs, and digital menus over the counters. Lynch says the kitchen is also hi-tech.

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“This is a one-of-a-kind kitchen; we’re using it as a test kitchen in our flagship restaurant. It is using modern technology, equipment technology, IT technology … at the end of the day we want to serve more customers and they expect us to serve them fast,” Lynch says.

One wonders what the late Dave Thomas would think about how far his business has come. It’s hard to escape the iconic entrepreneur’s visage either inside or outside the new Wendy’s. On the patio, there’s a larger than life size bronze of Thomas holding a Frosty and a bag of burgers and fries.

 
Comments
  • Steve Palm-Houser

    This story ignores the 100 faith leaders, students, and other community members who held a vigil in the snow outside this event, calling on Wendy’s to support human rights for the farm workers in their tomato supply chain. I’m disappointed, but not surprised that the Columbus Dispatch declined to cover the vigil. But I expected better from WOSU.

  • Joe

    I think the new store is awesome. Dave loved the restaurant business even when a kid. He aspired to do something so much more than the average guy, and he did it! So much more. When I think of Wendy’s I think of quality.. :) Recently, I was at a garage sale of a family where the husband was part of the painting crew that re-painted Dave’s office at home. The man was given Dave’s own leather padded desk chair. The family then remodeled their own house and I was there to buy that chair for $30. Knowing that it was Dave Thomas’ own chair is awesome. Thank you!

  • Jessica K. Shimberg

    As a long-time WOSU member and listener, I am deeply dismayed that Sam Hendon missed a critical part of this story … I trust this is an oversight and not an intentional misreporting as occurred in today’s Columbus Dispatch. As the “flagship store” was “christened” last night, more than 100 concerned citizens stood in freezing temperatures to join farmworkers in renewing a long-refused invitation to Wendy’s to support effective practices which ensure basic human rights for the farmworkers that pick Wendy’s tomatoes. Although Wendy’s is the 2nd biggest fast food chain with tremendous corporate influence, it remains unwilling to join all other major fast food corporations, tomato growers and others in signing the Fair Food Agreement. Wendy’s continued refusal to join this movement to end modern-day slavery in the fields of Florida leaves us baffled and saddened. Yet we remain hopeful that Wendy’s will soon realize that treating all those in their supply chain with dignity and justice is both right and profitable. Until then, the memorabilia from Wendy’s first store and the business life of Dave Thomas are tainted by the behavior of the corporation that enjoys the reputation Mr. Thomas build without maintaining the values he held dear.

  • Janet R

    I was one of at least 100 Ohioans, including faith leaders, families,
    and students, who held vigil outside this opening demanding that Wendy’s
    pay their tomato pickers a penny more per pound. Farmworkers get
    poverty wages and few protections in the fields. But Wendy’s can change
    this! They can join other major fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger
    King, Taco Bell, Subway) and sign on to the the Fair Food Program. There
    were more of us outside this event than people in the store! I am surprised and disappointed that WOSU only covered half the story!

  • Ryan Melusi Marchese

    This story ignores the 100 community members who held a vigil outside in the snow, calling on Wendy’s to join other major fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway) and sign on to the the Fair Food Program. There were more people outside at the vigil than inside the store! Why is WOSU being censored to benefit corporate interests?

  • tc

    Interesting that all of the posts about the protestors use the same language. Hmmmmm.