From its square burger patties to its freckled-face mascot, Wendy’s has always set itself apart from the fast-food competition. Most recently, the chain’s CEO, Kirk Tanner, hinted at another innovation: a surge pricing model. This idea probably sounded like a hit during executive meetings, but was a total miss when consumers began to speculate that they’d have to pay more for burgers during peak hours. 

Today, the chain is leaning further into its out-of-the-box approach with its latest announcement: Wendy’s sole location in Chubbuck, ID has officially become the fast-food chain’s first fully vegan shop. “Wendy’s could never quite get it right when it came to meatless offerings, so we embraced what we already know is popular with our customers,” Martin Stokes, Wendy’s Global Growth Managing Officer, tells VegNews. “We’re not just playing the field—when it comes to potatoes, we’ve got skin in the game.”

The menu at the Chubbuck location, as Stokes hints, is now entirely focused on Idaho’s favorite vegetable with a grand opening banner that reads: “We’re done with the beef. Here’s the potato.”

“Where’s the Beef?” meets “Here’s the Potato”

In 1984, Wendy’s released its “Where’s the Beef?” ad campaign that featured senior women asking the now iconic question after encountering a burger with more bun than beef—a poke at the offerings of Wendy’s competitors. Fast-forward 40 years and Wendy’s—which offers few plant-based options nationwide—is reversing course at its first vegan location, where it serves nothing but potatoes. That’s right—just potatoes. In fact, the only item on its menu board is a Plain Baked Potato, which Wendy’s borrowed from its regular menu for a choice that’s as bold as it is minimalist.

“Expanding our vegan offerings in this way doubles down on simplicity and sustainability,” Stokes says.“Vegans have long been confined to side dishes. With ‘Here’s the Potato,’ we’re putting them at the center of the plate.”

Initially, Wendy’s will allow customers to choose from three toppings (salt, pepper, and a combination of salt and pepper) and, for $2, the potato entrée can be upgraded to a meal with a side of medium fries.


The secret menu at vegan Wendy’s 

While the plain baked potato is the star at Chubbuck, more potato-based innovations are on the horizon for Wendy’s. “Think potato nuggets and wedges, but whatever you do, don’t call ‘em tater tots,” Oliver Boiley, a product developer at Wendy’s, tells VegNews.

What else might be on the vegan Wendy’s menu? We tried five items that Boiley developed for potential rollout if Wendy’s potato concept survives its first month in business:

  1. Baked Potato Plus: A Plain Baked Potato topped with another baked potato
  2. The Spicy Potato: Builds on top of the classic option with one packet of Tapatio hot sauce
  3. Breakfast Potato: The Plain Baked Potato but served only before 10am
  4. The Fully Loaded: Potato on potato on potato with an innovation that combines the plain baked potato with a crunchy layer of fries, all served atop a creamy smattering of mashed potatoes
  5. Chocolate Mashed Potato Frosty: Creamy—almost gluey—potatoes served inside the Wendy’s iconic Frosty cup

“This was actually Wendy’s idea,” Boiley reveals, referring to the iconic Melinda Lou “Wendy” Thomas-Morse, the restaurant’s namesake who, at 62 years old, adopted a plant-based diet of mostly potatoes herself.


Wendy’s for the rest of us

Outside of the Idaho outpost, Wendy’s US-based locations will continue to serve its regular menu. For customers looking for a vegan hack to replicate the offerings at the Chubbuck location, our top tip is to order a Premium bun along with French fries for a potato-forward burger with the same starchy charm. Or you can get the Plain Baked Potato. 

At its international locations, Wendy’s is launching an after-hours experience where its Plain Baked Potato gets the star treatment once again, this time with a topping of vegan caviar and a flute of champagne—a nod to the high-end dining experience at Caviar Kaspia, a celebrity hotspot in major cities such as Paris, London, and New York. Some customers who have dined at Wendy’s past 3am have already been pleasantly surprised. 

“We j’adore this experience at Wendy’s,” a Parisian customer tells VegNews. “It must be quite different in the United States where we hear it only offers frites and fries.”

Back home, Wendy’s is collaborating with Uber Eats on a Tubermobile. Similar to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, starting next week, the Tubermobile will cruise around Idaho to drop off free deliveries to customers who order at least $41 worth of potatoes from Wendy’s new vegan outlet. 

VegNews.WendysMikeMozartMike Mozart

As you may have guessed, Wendy’s is not opening a vegan, potato-only location. This is an April Fool’s joke from the editorial team at VegNews! However, you can check out our vegan guide to Wendy’s, or make your own potatoes shine with a must-have air fryer

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