Special Report

The Wendy’s Capital of America

Wendy’s is the world’s third-largest hamburger fast food chain, after Burger King and McDonald’s, with almost 6,000 outlets in North America. As well as burgers it’s known for the Frosty, a soft-serve ice cream treat, and it’s the only major fast food chain that has chili on the menu as a regular side dish. (These are the best burgers you can get at a fast food restaurant.)

24/7 Tempo has ranked the chain’s presence in all 50 states to identify the Wendy’s capitals of America. To determine the ranking, we reviewed data collected by NiceRx, a patient assistance program and medication access company, using numbers for total fast-food restaurants taken from the U.S. Census Bureau and tracking the nation’s ten most popular chains as determined by ScrapeHero.com. (Population figures are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.) 

We then ranked the states by their per capita Wendy’s population per 100,000 residents, lowest to highest. Ties were broken using the total number of Wendy’s restaurants in the state.The results revealed that  West Virginia is the No. 1 Wendy’s capital of America, with 3.9 outlets per 100,000 people. It ranks very high for almost all fast-food chains, in fact. It’s also one of the poorest states and scores badly when it comes to health outcomes. (It ranks No. 2, as an example, on the list of states where children are struggling with obesity.)

Click here to see the Wendy’s capitals of America

Behind West Virginia comes Wendy’s home state, Ohio, with 3.5 outlets. The company was founded in Columbus in 1969 and moved its headquarters to nearby Dublin in 2006. There are a total of 409 Wendy’s in Ohio. 

Vermont is the state with the smallest number of Wendy’s, both in total numbers (there are four) and per capita (which works out to 0.6 outlets per 100,000 people). The state is famously inhospitable to large chains in general, preferring to encourage smaller businesses instead. Montpelier boasts that it’s the only state capital without a McDonald’s — and it doesn’t have a Wendy’s either.