From the day in July 1979 when Davis and Rogers opened for business in an upmarket Adelaide shopping centre, Wendy’s has endured and prospered because of the depth of ideas and the creativity of its people when it comes to producing and selling food treats. Davis and Rogers may have enjoyed some success in food retailing in the early 1970s but, as they studied children’s fairytales for a new brand name that would endure and promote feelings of goodwill, nothing could prepare them for the stunning public response to Wendy’s on that first day.
Their outlet was located in the heart of the Adelaide CBD, in the Gallerie shopping arcade, and focused exclusively on ice cream desserts. Always innovating, Davis created Wendy’s own disposable sundae glasses for the “Supa Sundaes” and special straws were developed for thick shakes. Word soon spread on opening day about the tiny store in the downstairs food court selling sensational treats. By lunch time, the centre’s mains power blew as Wendy’s machinery struggled to keep up with customer demand.
This triumphant beginning would presage a period of explosive growth. Davis and Rogers were feted by shopping centre owners across the nation and Wendy’s had four outlets with sales topping $1 million dollars. Overwhelmed by the demands of their growing business, Davis and Rogers moved to a franchise structure which enabled Wendy’s to expand nationally within two years while maintaining a head office in Adelaide. Within six years Wendy’s had emerged as the fastest growing ice cream treat business in Australia, its 40 stores reporting annual sales of $7 million.
Hot Dogs were trialled at one Wendy’s store in Adelaide in the late 1980s and sales boomed. It didn’t take long for other stores to catch on and the Hot Dog was on the menu boards at stores around the nation. The company sells many millions of the iconic Hot Dogs to hungry customers every year. By 1989 the Wendy’s logo appeared on 100 stores and turnover had grown to $25 million. Expansion into New Zealand also proved incredibly successful.
In the years that followed turnover and store numbers would increase markedly. So would Wendy’s menu of treats. The Mega Choc Shake and a Smoothie range were launched. Those years also saw Wendy’s store fronts change face as new competitors emerged on the Australian retail market eager to chip away at the company’s market dominance. Fun themes always ensured the business kept in tune with the times offering the latest treats in a special way.