Did you say Wendy’s? (Oh, yes, we did!)

Not to sound like a huge QSR nerd, but I’m kind of a Wendy’s fangirl. Bear with me for a moment as I take us back — way back — to my early high school days when, after every open gym at the Gymnastics Center of Hershey, we’d hit up the Wendy’s off of Hersheypark Drive for a chocolate Frosty and some fries. It was there when I was introduced to that magical Frosty-fry combo. The sweet-and-salty goodness. Mmmm…

Many — and I mean many — trips around the sun later, I’m on a flight to Columbus, Ohio, for our immersion meeting at Wendy’s HQ to kick off our franchisee recruitment with our creative partner, Wheat Creative. I was humblebragging all over my social media, of course. It was like all those weeknights at the Park Ave. location had led to this moment.

After arriving at One Dave Thomas Blvd., we got to meet the hilariously creative people behind Wendy’s in-house social media team. I mean, these peeps have sass and class. But they also shared some of the most heartwarming stories they’ve been a part of over the years. (I’m not crying, you’re crying!)

Our gracious hosts didn’t waste any time after that — we got right to eating. #SecondBreakfast for the win. Except it was better than breakfast. It was Wendy’s new chicken tenders. And, sure, we were only “supposed” to eat enough to be able to answer some questions (it was all part of the sensory testing experience), but I ate it all. No shame. They were that good.

After a meeting with the culinary innovation team, where I of course brought up my dream to have gluten-free burger buns, we had a team lunch in what was the coolest Wendy’s restaurant I’ve ever been in. Seriously, if you’re ever in Columbus, go to this Wendy’s.

Then we got down to fran dev business — the reason for our visit. We talked history, challenges, strategy, and everything in between. It’s safe to say when I got on the plane that evening, I was pretty excited to get started. To work. With. Wendy’s. So cool.

This week Fish and Wheat are headed north to Toronto for our immersion meeting with the Wendy’s Canada team. I’ve been told I need to practice saying “eh” and open my mind to the concept of poutine. You can expect a full recap on the Fish blog soon!