The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

October 11, 2012

Wendy's pigtails get first touch-up since 1983

(Continued)

It's still far from clear whether Wendy's broader reinvention will succeed. But sales at its restaurants open at least a year have edged up for the last five quarters. Craig Bahner, the company's chief marketing officer, notes that all brands need to evolve.

"It's a tangible signal of change," Bahner said.

The Wendy's name and original logo were inspired by founder Dave Thomas' daughter, whose real name is Melinda Lou (her siblings couldn't pronounce her name when they were younger, so they called her "Wenda," which turned into "Wendy").

Thomas thought the name conjured the image of the wholesome hamburger restaurant he dreamed of opening.

In his book "Dave's Way," Thomas recalls how the family dressed up Wendy, then 8 years old, in a blue-and-white striped dress for the opening of the first location. To make her pigtails stick out, they put pipe cleaners in her hair. That's roughly the image of the little freckle-faced girl in the logo.

In undertaking the redesign, the company realized there were three key elements that had to be preserved; the image of the little girl, the color red and the way the "Wendy's" font swerves up — what executives call "the wave."

In the new logo, Bahner notes that Wendy's pigtails peek out from the oval frame, bringing her forward and making her more dynamic. The logo will be part of the new restaurant design that Wendy's is looking to expand to its roughly 6,000 locations in North America.

Brolick has noted that the revamps "enhance all dimensions of the Wendy's experience" and that renovated locations see a 25 percent bump in sales. By 2015, Wendy's plans to have half its 1,425 company-owned locations updated.

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