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Is there a Wendy’s in the UK?

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Hello, hamburger loving friends!

If you’ve come to this site wondering, “Is there a Wendy’s in the UK?” or maybe even, “Is there a Wendy’s in London?” then I have just the article you’re searching for.

Hey, sidenote! If you’re traveling to the UK or live in the UK, whether for a short period of time or as an expat, why don’t you join my Facebook group where you can ask questions, get advice or just look at pretty pictures of this part of the world! Just click here to request to join and I’ll add you!

You should also check out my ultimate course on visiting London with over 70 topics, including how to stay safe in the city, to help you make the most of your London trip here!

Well, first I have some products I think you could definitely use like a cheeseburger pillow and hamburger slippers, because, duh, priorities.

Or, if you want to surprise someone with a Wendy’s Gift Card – or, heck, treat yourself(!!) – click here.

But after that, I want you to know that I know that Wendy’s is the epitome of what it means to be an American.

When you see that red headed girl on top of that sign and the smell of fries and milkshakes starts wafting through the air, you know that you’re home.  So…

“Is there a Wendy’s in the UK?”

Sadly, the answer is – no, but there might be hope!

I’m going to give you the full rundown of Wendy’s in the UK and why I have hope that we might see some soon, but before I do, check out these other posts all about visiting and living in the UK.

Firstly, no matter your reason for being here, you need the best book on living in the UK for Americans ever written – the book is called “Girl Gone London: An American’s Guide to Surviving Life in the UK” and you should click here and check it out.

I also may have written it, so I’m biased.

But truly, if you’re coming to the UK as an expat, a study abroad student, or even a visitor, my guide to life in the UK contains both personal anecdotes and maybe too-honest experiences, as well as resources and advice on topics ranging from homesickness in the UK (or how not to rage book a flight to America like I did), driving in the UK, being a student in the UK, and more practical advice about bank accounts, buying houses, and more. 

It’s truly a one stop shop for all of the weirdness and wonderfulness (is that a word?) that comes along with life in the UK, and also there is plenty of opportunity to laugh at me as I share all of my expat fails so there’s that. 

Right, so, if you’re hoping to dip your fries into a Frosty and enjoy that classic square hamburger, you’re out of luck in London, England, or anywhere in the UK right now.

That being said, Wendy’s has a unique history in the UK.

If you go back to 2000, Wendy’s in London was a real possibility as the company looked to purchase properties and open franchises in England’s capital city.

But high property costs made Wendy’s pull completely out of the UK, and in its place were McDonald’s and other UK specific companies.

Wendy’s then went quiet on its plans to expand into the UK for almost 20 years.

Recessions hit the worldwide economy, the British public didn’t seem particularly interested in additional fast food hamburger restaurants, and it seemed like there was no hope for American expats craving the deliciousness that is a square hamburger patty.

This all changed, however, in July of 2017, when Wendy’s hosted a one-day pop-up event in London.

There was a limited menu of hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes, and the pop-up was only open for about 4 hours, but it was enough to make local business owners and London residents feel that maybe, someday, there might be a chance that Wendy’s in the UK wouldn’t be a question, but a fact.

It makes sense, really, as hamburger fast food places have started to become more popular in the UK, including American franchises like Five Guys.

The lines out the door at Five Guys in London when it first opened were insane, and it still draws plenty of crowds, from Americans overseas to Brits who have gotten a taste for it.

There haven’t been anymore signs of Wendy’s in the UK since then, but keep an eye out as there’s no telling when this fast food giant will make a reappearance.

Now, if you do find yourself in London or the UK, you’re going to want to read up on some of the other franchises and companies that you may or may not find here.

You need to be prepared, after all, and there’s no sadness like realizing you’ve flown 4,000 miles to a severe lack of Outback Steakhouse bread, am I right?

So to help you make your way around and know what to expect, here’s a list of the essentials.

Fast Food

The UK has…

Dominoes
McDonald’s
Burger King
-Pizza Hut
-KFC

The UK doesn’t have…

Arbys
Chick-Fil-A (if you like Chick-Fil-A, you should really check out this book about the building of the company)
White Castle

Sit-down restaurants

The UK has…

TGI Friday’s (if you’re a fan of TGI’s, check out this cookbook to make your own at home)
Chipotle

The UK doesn’t have…

Tijuana Flats
Carrabas
Outback Steakhouse (if you love Outback like I do, grab you and your friends a gift card for a great excuse to have a great evening!)

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Big Stores

The UK has…

Costco, though people say it isn’t as good of a value and not quite the same
Walmart-owned ASDA, which isn’t exactly the same as a Walmart but pretty close

The UK doesn’t have…

Macy’s (FYI, you should check out this book on the history of Macy’s – it’s a great read, with lots of photographs and illustrations to boot)
Nordstrom (grab yourself a Nordstrom Gift Card here for a great last-minute Christmas or Birthday present!)

The grocery store names are also different, with no overlap between the US and the UK.

You won’t find Publix (for Floridians), Giant (for you mid-Atlanticers!), Kroger (looking at you, southern states!) or any other popular grocery store in your area.

You also won’t find Walgreens or CVS, but instead a different brand name for drugstores including Superdrug and Boots.

And when you need a store with lots of “stuff,” you can go to “Argos,” where you essentially order things from a catalog and then they are brought to you.

Read more in my full guide comparing UK and US stores and restaurants.

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19 thoughts on “Is there a Wendy’s in the UK?”

  1. I stumbled upon a Wendy’s once in London. It might have been 99 or 00. It had a basement dining area. My buddy dropped his frosty on the way downstairs. He was devastated.

  2. Your list of American fast food in the UK left out Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC). As Harland Sanders invented the chicken pressure fryer which is used in nearly all chicken shacks in the world, not just KFC, I think his company deserves a mention. Much more deserving of a place than McDonald’s who simply stole an idea from White Castle and added thick milkshakes to the menu, and McD is on your list.

  3. I randomly found out that Boots is actually owned by Walgreens! I feel like Boots is a little more expensive but it can be super similar.

  4. I really miss Wendy’s, the food was far superior to any of its peers. I didn’t live in London at the time, but used to call in there when I was passing through.
    Aside from the branches they had in central London in Oxford Street, and Piccadilly Circus (probably why they balked at the rent back then being two of the most expensive areas), they had some odd locations. One was near where my grandmother lived in Belfast, situated in a quiet street.
    We visited there a few times when I took the family to Orlando. Still as good as I remember it.
    Hopefully, like the author suggests, they will give the UK another go.

  5. I worked for them as a manager around 87-88, they were by far the best burgers, freshly cooked and with Jackets that can make your mouth water , sadly they expanded too fast, I remembered opening Southampton, Bracknell and Slough, they simply picked locations out of desperation rather than what the town needed and these branches drained the profits faster than a sieve, and few years later they start to shut, lack of traffics plus high rent and rate, the Americans who came to manage the UK operation are some of the nicest people, I got to spent a lot of time with them at the HQ at Cambridge Circus as the restaurant is below (Now Shake Shake).
    Whenever I travel to the US, I always make it my number one stop, closely follow by Popeyes.
    Oh boy, I do miss them !!!

  6. There were a scattering of Wendy’s outlets in England in the mid 90’s. I used to go to the one near Leicester city attached to the local Cinema/Odeon park. As an expat Canadian I was excited to stumble upon this outlet. I even turned my English nephews/nieces on to Wendy’s. Alas, the chain never marketed/advertised itself and Brits simply didn’t know what Wendy’s was and how good it was. There was also one near Piccadilly in London. By the end of the 90’s they’d all disappeared. How utterly sad! They’re far better than MCDonalds of Burger King!!

    1. Can’t remember the exact year, but it would have been about ’82. There was one in Lewisham (South East London). Myself and my friends used to eat there all the time.

      Nothing like it before, nothing like it since. The best by far – all cooked fresh, rather than steam heating pre-cooked burgers.

      Would love them back.

      1. Thanks, Dave.

        My husband prefers Wendy’s over other fast food burger places. I am not sure on McDonald’s and Burger King’s cooking approaches, but he insists Wendy’s tastes better. Maybe that is why!

    2. Hi Steve,

      This is interesting, but also sad to know! As an American, I would love to see Wendy’s in the UK just to give me a little injection of back home!

  7. I have just done a Market Research survey that implies Wendy’s may be considering the UK. The survey had mocked prices in pounds.

    1. Hi Alan,

      Thanks for the information! This is interesting. Maybe they will make a comeback here. I certainly hope so!

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