Most fast-food burgers have round patties, so have you ever wondered why Wendy’s burgers have square ones?
The reason for Wendy’s square-shaped patties can be traced back to the chain’s founder Dave Thomas, who opened the first Wendy’s in Columbus, Ohio in 1969 because he wasn’t satisfied with other fast-food restaurants. To make Wendy’s burgers stand out from its competitors, Thomas used fresh meat for the patties and deliberately formed them into squares.
As a result, the corners of Wendy’s square patties hang over the round buns, allowing customers to see the quality of the patties. Though its square patties are different from most fast-food hamburgers out there, Wendy’s is proud of it and has even used it in its marketing campaigns. For instance, the chain often uses the tagline, “cutting corners isn’t in Wendy’s DNA.”
Surprisingly, the square shape of Wendy’s burger patties has a practical reason as well. “We can fit more square hamburgers on a single grill than round ones,” John Li, vice president of culinary innovation at Wendy’s, recently revealed to CNN.
Though its square patties have already become one of its trademarks, Wendy’s actually considered switching to round patties about a decade ago because the chain found out that perfectly squared shapes looked processed to focus groups.
But since round patties would clash with Thomas’ original vision for Wendy’s burgers, the chain just decided to slightly change the shape of the patties to a “natural square” with uneven edges.
Aside from Wendy’s, White Castle also uses square patties for its burgers. In fact, White Castle’s square burgers predate Wendy’s burgers. According to White Castle’s history, the chain began in 1921 by selling easy-to-eat square hamburgers called “Sliders.” Fast-forward to 1954, White Castle added five holes to its square patties so they could cook faster.