Why Wendy’s Is The Only Chain Serving Baked Potatoes
53 Comments


The simple yet delicious baked potato is such
a staple of Wendy’s menu, it’s impossible to imagine the fast food favorite not serving
them. But, have you ever wondered why they started
in the first place, and why no other fast food joint has picked up on the popularity
of this hearty, and healthy, menu item? “What is this?!” First, let’s talk about why they make them. According to Lori Estrada, Wendy’s vice president
of culinary innovation, Wendy’s baked potato was basically developed as a healthy menu
option. During the ’80s, health-conscious individuals
were changing the way they ate after seeing eight US Senators die of heart disease-related
causes while in office over the course of two decades. And as Senate historian Don Ritchie said, “When you have colleagues who die prematurely,
that’s sort of a wake-up call.” South Dakota’s Senator George McGovern called
for a hearing on the links between what we eat and our overall health, and testimony
from “longevity guru” Nathan Pritikin fueled the establishment of dietary guidelines for
concerned Americans. First and foremost, citizens were now being
told that they needed to get fat out of their diet. Instead, the thinking went, an ideal diet
should be high in carbs. That was supposed to be things like fruits,
vegetables, and whole grains… and that brings us back to Wendy’s iconic ‘tater. “What we need is a few good taters.” “What’s taters, precious? What’s taters?!” “PO-TAY-TOES?!” Wendy’s wanted to come up with a fat-free
alternative for people looking to get healthier, because when the naturally fat-free potato
was turned into fries, they lost their health-food aura. However, baked, though, potatoes are pretty
healthy. Wendy’s basic baked potato is only 270 calories,
with the other more toppings-heavy options clocking in at between 310 and 460 calories. That’s not bad, though it doesn’t take into
account whatever weird toppings you’re going to add on your own. “I’m, uh, I’m going to dip this potato in
some crushed vicodin.” Wendy’s debuted their baked potatoes in 1983
and today, they sell an average of one million a week. That’s a shocking amount of spuds. If they’re so popular, you have to wonder,
why haven’t more fast food restaurants hopped on the bandwagon? Arby’s is the only one to come close to catching
on, offering a baked potato in their Canadian restaurants, and a handful of American locations. Wendy Estrada describes putting baked potatoes
on the menu as a “logistical nightmare” for any restaurant, especially considering they
do it the hard way: wrapped in foil and baked in the oven for an hour. When Wendy’s introduced them, they had to
outfit every single store with new convection ovens, which isn’t cheap. Even now, Estrada says, “It’s a challenge, operationally, to be able
to serve them, and have them ready for every customer who comes through our doors.” “Could I just have a Frosty and a baked potato?” “You have to come to the restaurant to order
food.” “Well, I’ll send someone to pick it up, just
have it ready.” “It’s ready now!” And the different types of baked potatoes
on the menu aren’t actually the only ones you can get. Anything Wendy’s normally put on burgers or
fries can also be added to your baked potato, and they’ll do it. That even includes special, limited-time sauces
typically found on their limited-time burgers. Ironically, and sadly, we now know the low-fat
diet of the 1980s and 90s didn’t work. When fat became the enemy and carbs became
America’s go-to food, the average person was suddenly adding something else to their diets:
refined carbohydrates and added sugar. We learned how to eat differently, but now,
that’s been linked to today’s rising problems of obesity and diabetes. Fortunately, Wendy’s baked potato is still
high on the list of healthy-ish options when it comes to grabbing some fast food for lunch. Estrada told Thrillist, “These baked potatoes are full of fiber, low
in fat, have a great mineral content… They can still be a healthy vehicle for toppings,
as they always were.” They’re delicious, too, so this is one choice
you can make that’s fairly guilt-free. And that’s something we can all appreciate. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Mashed videos about your favorite
fast food chains are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and hit
the bell so you don’t miss a single one.

53 thoughts on “Why Wendy’s Is The Only Chain Serving Baked Potatoes

  1. Wait, they still have those? I gave up years ago, every time I tried to get a potato all I got was "sorry, we're out". They're even worse than the mc d's ice cream machine.

  2. I always liked Wendy's, but yesterday I got their smokehouse burger and the meat tasted like what I would imagine dog food to taste like. I couldn't finish it. 🤢

  3. Wendy's in Fairbanks, Alaska chronically "run out" of potatoes because they don't want the bother of trying to guess how many to prepare. It's sad and discouraging.

  4. Convection ovens aren't cheap?!? That is hardly a reason not to do baked potatoes. Probably saturating the market would not work out for most fast food chains. They are good I can testify to that but Not Fast. Been many; many years I will have to try one again and see if they pass the muster.

  5. I guess they don't seem to count 1 Potato 2, a chain of restaurants found in the food courts of shopping malls which specializes in baked potatoes…

  6. I don't know who told you Wendy's was the only place serving potatoes but that's wrong. 3 or 4 chains here serve them in varieties.

  7. Can Mashable do a video about Veggie Grill. Fun fact: Director Kevin Smith says he eats there every day after surviving his heart attack.

  8. I have understood that eating a potato with its skin is like taking a multiple vitamin tablet. The spud lacks only one essential vitamin – and by golly at the moment I cannot remember which one it is … So, yeah. I eat taters at Wendy's.

  9. Yeah, I remember that Arby's was doing baked potatoes up until a few years ago, if I'm not mistaken, but…they couldn't compete with Wendy's in terms of quality of them, though.

  10. If you would like you I'd appreciate some subs to channel about my son and I exploring ,fishing and some underwater footage. Thanx in advance. I'll even say please.😉

  11. Burger King had once had baked potatoes as one of their sides for their BK Dinner Baskets that was introduced in 1993 but  BK Dinner Baskets was short lived and now the BK Dinner Basket are now discontinued as of today Burger King doesn't have baked potatoes at all.

  12. NOOOOOOOO That is not how they are cooked at all. I call b.s. because I once worked there and they didn't have a separate oven for them at all. They were in with the bacon if I remember and they had foil around them. You have to set a timer to take them out within a time limit but sometimes there was never any in there at all so we had to rush to get some in there, or sometimes no one had time in that busy place so no communication because everyone had poor communication (what's that?) so they would just sit and sit for hours.

  13. Anybody remember the movie Soul Plane with Kevin Hart John Witherspoon Snoop Dogg and when they were eating John Witherspoon set next to the lady and he stuck his finger in her baked potato I he thought it was a pussy he goes into the men's room saying stinky finger ever since then I can't eat baked potatoes anymore funny movie

  14. "Healthy potatoes" ????? No such thing. They are so high in carbs, you might as well eat several tsps of Sugar. They cause heart disease and Diabetes, not protect you from them. This kind of info, that spreads rampantly, and gives fat people an excuse to be fat, is why over 52% of Americans are either pre-diabetes or diabetic. A big cheeseburger is probably better for you than a potatoe loaded with stuff.

  15. We are obese as a nation because of high fat animal products not because of carbs. Please get educated and watch Forks Over Knives to learn more. Pritikin (referenced early in this video) tried to save us.

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