Wendy's immortalized itself in pop culture as part of the TV scene back in the 1980's thanks to its "Where's the beef?" ad campaign. The fast food chain's commercials hit the small screen in a big way, to the point that even people who weren't alive when the slogan debuted in 1984 are familiar. While the "Where's the beef?" word-of-mouth has kept Wendy's as part of pop culture beyond its popular Twitter account, the commercial's lasting impact is backfiring now that Wendy's is... well, running out of burgers, and there are plenty of jokes to go with the shortage. "Where's the beef?" indeed!
News of the beef shortage began to circulate on the internet with customers discovering that Wendy's is having some issues with their meat suppliers in the face of meatpacking plants shutting down, and apparently there's no such thing as "too soon" for the "Where's the beef?" jokes to get going:
Considering Wendy's has long promoted its "fresh, never frozen beef" (which of course is served as square patties), it may be a popular fast food destination for burgers. Customers heading to certain Wendy's for a Baconator or barbecue cheeseburger will be out of luck, if their local Wendy's is one of those affected. But hey, at least there's chicken!
"Bacon" may be one sandwich's middle name, according to the sign, but chicken sandwiches may be the only option for bacon for the foreseeable future. This restaurant's announcement of the beef shortage seems all but designed for a "Where's the beef?" reference, though! Seriously, whoever made that sign pretty much posted the punchline of a "Where's the beef?" joke.
At least the situation has given folks on social media an excuse to bring back clips of one of the original "Where's the beef?" commercials. These women became famous in 1984 for getting a burger that wasn't from Wendy's and therefore just didn't have enough meat. What would 2020 Wendy's say to them now?
The "Where's the beef?" resurgence has added to a blast from the past, in one person's case! Between the popularity of the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance and now the Wendy's commercial, it may as well be 1984 again.
As for the fast food chain itself, Wendy's is focusing its social media food promotions on chicken, which apparently there is no shortage of despite running low on beef. There are plenty of chicken options, and there are always the sides as well. If you're craving fries and a Frosty, Wendy's can still be the place to be!
Now, if you somehow missed the "Where's the beef?" ads back in the day or just plain weren't alive in 1984 to experience the commercials for yourself, take a look!
All of this said, not all Wendy's locations are reportedly out of beef. According to a study by Stephens Inc. (via CNBC), about 18% of Wendy's restaurants have run out of beef. While that does equal out to almost one fifth and that's not an insignificant number, there's no need to despair that your local Wendy's is definitely putting its customers on a chicken diet.
Apparently, shortages have especially impacted Wendy's locations in Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, and New York. The good news is that even as this fast food chain may run short on burgers, at least TV isn't running out of content! You can find your options (likely without any "Where's the beef?" commercials airing during breaks) on our summer 2020 premiere schedule.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).