Welcome Back 1998! Coca-Cola Announces the Return of Surge

Surge, the popular citrus soda of the 1990s, is back, according to Coca-Cola

We can’t believe it’s back!

Ah, the 1990s: a time of inflatable furniture, brown M&Ms, and Surge soda. Well, you may not be able to snack (uncomfortably) on brown M&Ms on your giant plastic sofa, but at least you’ll be able to drink Surge again! That’s right: Coca-Cola has announced the return of the ever-popular, Mountain Dew-like citrus soda, Surge. Surge was popular years ago, but was discontinued in 2002 after a decline in sales.

Following an online petition called “The Surge Movement,” Coca-Cola announced that they will create a limited release of Surge sold in 12-packs of 16-ounce cans printed with the original graphics for $14 each. The catch is that you can only get your beloved citrus soda of bygone years on Amazon, but Coca-Cola may have plans to expand the release, depending on customer reaction.

“This will be a great learning experience for us and a refreshing opportunity for fans,” Wendy Clark, Coca Cola’s president of North America Marketing, said in a statement.

For the latest happenings in the food and drink world, visit our Food News page.

Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi


Coca-Cola, or Coke, is a carbonated soft drink manufactured by The Coca-Cola Company. Originally marketed as a temperance drink and intended as a patent medicine, it was invented in the late 19th century by John Stith Pemberton and was bought out by businessman Asa Griggs Candler, whose marketing tactics led Coca-Cola to its dominance of the world soft-drink market throughout the 20th century. [1] The drink's name refers to two of its original ingredients: coca leaves, and kola nuts (a source of caffeine). The current formula of Coca-Cola remains a trade secret however, a variety of reported recipes and experimental recreations have been published.

The Coca-Cola Company produces concentrate, which is then sold to licensed Coca-Cola bottlers throughout the world. The bottlers, who hold exclusive territory contracts with the company, produce the finished product in cans and bottles from the concentrate, in combination with filtered water and sweeteners. A typical 12-US-fluid-ounce (350 ml) can contains 38 grams (1.3 oz) of sugar (usually in the form of high-fructose corn syrup). The bottlers then sell, distribute, and merchandise Coca-Cola to retail stores, restaurants, and vending machines throughout the world. The Coca-Cola Company also sells concentrate for soda fountains of major restaurants and foodservice distributors.

The Coca-Cola Company has on occasion introduced other cola drinks under the Coke name. The most common of these is Diet Coke, along with others including Caffeine-Free Coca-Cola, Diet Coke Caffeine-Free, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla, and special versions with lemon, lime, and coffee. Coca-Cola was called Coca-Cola Classic from July 1985 to 2009, to distinguish it from "New Coke". Based on Interbrand's "best global brand" study of 2015, Coca-Cola was the world's third most valuable brand, after Apple and Google. [2] In 2013, Coke products were sold in over 200 countries worldwide, with consumers drinking more than 1.8 billion company beverage servings each day. [3] Coca-Cola ranked No. 87 in the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue. [4]

Coca Cola Brand Failure

Think of a brand success story, and you may well think of Coca-Cola. Indeed, with nearly 1 billion Coca-Cola drinks sold every single day, it is the world’s most recognized brand.

Yet in 1985 the Coca-Cola Company decided to terminate its most popular soft drink and replace it with a formula it would market as New Coke. New coke was a Coca cola brand failure story. To understand why this potentially disastrous decision was made, it is necessary to appreciate what was happening in the soft drinks marketplace. In particular, we must take a closer look at the growing competition between Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola in the years and even decades prior to the launch of New Coke.

The relationship between the arch-rivals had not been a healthy one. Although marketing experts have believed for a long time that the competi­tion between the two companies had made consumers more cola-conscious, the firms themselves rarely saw it like that. Indeed, the Coca-Cola company had even fought Pepsi-Cola in a legal battle over the use of the word ‘cola’ in its name, and lost.

Outside the courts though, Coca-Cola had always been ahead. Shortly after World War II, Time magazine was already celebrating Coke’s ‘peaceful near-conquest of the world.’ In the late 1950s, Coke outsold Pepsi by a ratio of more than five to one. However, during the next decade Pepsi repositioned itself as a youth brand.

This strategy was a risky one as it meant sacrificing its older customers to Coca-Cola, but ultimately it proved successful. By narrowing its focus, Pepsi was able to position its brand against the old and classic image of its competitor. As it became increasingly seen as ‘the drink of youth’ Pepsi managed to narrow the gap.

In the 1970s, Coke’s chief rival raised the stakes even further by intro­ducing the Pepsi Challenge — testing consumers blind on the difference between its own brand and ‘the real thing’. To the horror of Coca-Cola’s long­standing company president, Robert Woodruff, most of those who partici­pated preferred Pepsi’s sweeter formula.

In the 1980s Pepsi continued its offensive, taking the Pepsi Challenge around the globe and heralding the arrival of the ‘Pepsi Generation’. It also signed up celebrities likely to appeal to its target market such as Don Johnson and Michael Jackson (this tactic has survived into the new millennium, with figures like Britney Spears and Robbie Williams providing more recent endorsements).

By the time Roberto Goizueta became chairman in 1981, Coke’s number one status was starting to look vulnerable. It was losing market share not only to Pepsi but also to some of the drinks produced by the Coca-Cola company itself, such as Fanta and Sprite. In particular the runaway success of Diet Coke was a double-edged sword, as it helped to shrink the sugar cola market. In 1983, the year Diet Coke moved into the number three position behind standard Coke and Pepsi, Coke’s market share had slipped to an all-time low of just under 24 per cent.

Something clearly had to be done to secure Coke’s supremacy. Goizueta’s first response to the ‘Pepsi Challenge’ phenomenon was to launch an advertising campaign in 1984, praising Coke for being less sweet than Pepsi. The television ads were fronted by Bill Cosby, at that time one of the most familiar faces on the planet, and clearly someone who was too old to be part of the Pepsi Generation.

The impact of such efforts to set Coca-Cola apart from its rival was limited. Coke’s share of the market remained the same while Pepsi was catching up. Another worry was that when shoppers had the choice, such as in their local supermarket, they tended to plump for Pepsi. It was only Coke’s more effective distribution which kept it ahead. For instance, there were still considerably more vending machines selling Coke than Pepsi.

Even so, there was no getting away from the fact that despite the prolifera­tion of soft drink brands, Pepsi was winning new customers. Having already lost on taste, the last thing Coca-Cola could afford was to lose its number one status.

The problem, as Coca-Cola perceived it, came down to the product itself. As the Pepsi Challenge had highlighted millions of times over, Coke could always be defeated when it came down to taste. This seemed to be confirmed by the success of Diet Coke which was closer to Pepsi in terms of flavour.

So in what must have been seen as a logical step, Coca-Cola started working on a new formula. A year later they had arrived at New Coke. Having produced its new formula, the Atlanta-based company conducted 200,000 taste tests to see how it fared. The results were overwhelming. Not only did it taste better than the original, but people preferred it to Pepsi-Cola as well.

However, if Coca-Cola was to stay ahead of Pepsi-Cola it couldn’t have two directly competing products on the shelves at the same time. It therefore decided to scrap the original Coca-Cola and introduced New Coke in its place.

The trouble was that the Coca-Cola company had severely underestimated the power of its first brand. As soon as the decision was announced, a large percentage of the US population immediately decided to boycott the new product. On 23 April 1985 New Coke was introduced and a few days later the production of original Coke was stopped. This joint decision has since been referred to as ‘the biggest marketing blunder of all time’. Sales of New Coke were low and public outrage was high at the fact that the original was no longer available.

It soon became clear that Coca-Cola had little choice but to bring back its original brand and formula. ‘We have heard you,’ said Goizueta at a press conference on 11 July 1985. He then left it to the company’s chief operating officer Donald Keough to announce the return of the product.

The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people. The passion for original Coca-Cola — and that is the word for it, passion — was something that caught us by surprise. It is a wonderful American mystery, a lovely American enigma, and you cannot measure it any more than you can measure love, pride or patriotism.

In other words, Coca-Cola had learnt that marketing is about much more than the product itself. The majority of the tests had been carried out blind, and therefore taste was the only factor under assessment. The company had finally taken Pepsi’s bait and, in doing so, conceded its key brand asset: originality.

When Coca-Cola was launched in the 1880s it was the only product in the market. As such, it invented a new category and the brand name became the name of the product itself. Throughout most of the last century, Coca-Cola capitalized on its ‘original’ status in various advertising campaigns. In 1942, magazine adverts appeared across the United States declaring: ‘The only thing like Coca-Cola is Coca-Cola itself. It’s the real thing.’

By launching New Coke, Coca-Cola was therefore contradicting its previous marketing efforts. Its central product hadn’t been called new since the very first advert appeared in the Atlanta Journal in 1886, billing Coca-Cola as ‘The New Pop Soda Fountain Drink, containing the properties of the wonderful Coca-plant and the famous Cola nuts.’

In 1985, a century after the product launched, the last word people associated with Coca-Cola was ‘new’. This was the company with more allusions to US heritage than any other. Fifty years previously, the Pulitzer Prize winning editor of a Kansas newspaper, William Allen White had referred to the soft drink as the ‘sublimated essence of all America stands for — a decent thing, honestly made, universally distributed, conscientiously improved with the years.’ Coca-Cola had even been involved with the history of US space travel, famously greeting Apollo astronauts with a sign reading ‘Welcome back to earth, home of Coca-Cola.’

To confine the brand’s significance to a question of taste was therefore completely misguided. As with many big brands, the representation was more significant than the thing represented, and if any soft drink represented ‘new’ it was Pepsi, not Coca-Cola (even though Pepsi is a mere decade younger).

If you tell the world you have the ‘real thing’ you cannot then come up with a ‘new real thing’. To borrow the comparison of marketing guru Al Ries it’s ‘like introducing a New God’. This contradictory marketing message was accentuated by the fact that, since 1982, Coke’s strap line had been ‘Coke is it’. Now it was telling consumers that they had got it wrong, as if they had discovered Coke wasn’t it, but rather New Coke was instead.

So despite the tremendous amount of hype which surrounded the launch of New Coke (one estimate puts the value of New Coke’s free publicity at over US $10 million), it was destined to fail. Although Coca-Cola’s market researchers knew enough about branding to understand that consumers would go with their brand preference if the taste tests weren’t blind, they failed to make the connection that these brand preferences would still exist once the product was launched.

Pepsi was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first to recognize Coca-Cola’s mistake. Within weeks of the launch, it ran a TV ad with an old man sitting on a park bench, staring at the can in his hand. ‘They changed my Coke,’ he said, clearly distressed. ‘I can’t believe it.’

However, when Coca-Cola relaunched its original coke, redubbed ‘Classic Coke’ for the US market, the media interest swung back in the brand’s favour. It was considered a significant enough event to warrant a newsflash on ABC News and other US networks. Within months Coke had returned to the number one spot and New Coke had all but faded away.

Ironically, through the brand failure of New Coke loyalty to ‘the real thing’ intensified. In fact, certain conspiracy theorists have even gone so far as to say the whole thing had been planned as a deliberate marketing ploy to reaffirm public affection for Coca-Cola. After all, what better way to make someone appreciate the value of your global brand than to withdraw it completely?

Of course, Coca-Cola has denied that this was the company’s intention. ‘Some critics will say Coca-Cola made a marketing mistake, some cynics will say that we planned the whole thing,’ said Donald Keough at the time. ‘The truth is we are not that dumb, and we are not that smart.’ But viewed in the context of its competition with Pepsi, the decision to launch New Coke was understandable. For years, Pepsi’s key weapon had been the taste of its product. By launching New Coke, the Coca-Cola company clearly hoped to weaken its main rival’s marketing offensive.

So what was Pepsi’s verdict on the whole episode? In his book, The Other Guy Blinked, Pepsi’s CEO Roger Enrico believes the error of New Coke proved to be a valuable lesson for Coca-Cola. ‘I think, by the end of their nightmare, they figured out who they really are. Caretakers. They can’t change the taste of their flagship brand. They can’t change its imagery. All they can do is defend the heritage they nearly abandoned in 1985.’

Strange soft drinks

There had been a few stabs at clear colas before Novak's concoction, but nothing widespread. The weirdest was probably White Coke, a clear version of Coca-Cola specially produced for Russian Marshal Georgy Zhukov, who reportedly wanted the flavor of the iconic American drink without all that imperialist baggage. White Coke came in a clear bottle topped with a red-star-festooned cap, according to Mark Pendergrast, author of "For God, Country and Coca-Cola" (Scribner's, 1993).

Global politics also played into the invention of a clear(ish) soda in World War II Germany. Fanta, which now comes in many fruit flavors, was originally produced in Nazi Germany when the Coca-Cola branch there couldn't import Coca-Cola syrup. The original Fanta looked like ginger ale and included bottom-of-the-barrel ingredients such as whey left over from making cheese, according to "Secret Formula: How Brilliant Marketing and Relentless Salesmanship Made Coca-Cola the Best-Known Product in the World" (Harper Paperbacks, 1995).

Crystal Pepsi did well when it first came out in 1992, gaining about 1 percent of market share &mdash a huge and very lucrative proportion at the time, Donovan said. But then Coke fought back. The company released Tab Clear in an effort to "knock the wheels out of Crystal Pepsi," he said. In an interview published in 2011 in the book "Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry," the chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola at the time of Tab Clear's release called it a "kamikaze" strategy. The idea was to market Tab Clear as a diet beverage and smear Crystal Pepsi as one by association.

"Tab Clear destroyed itself and Crystal Pepsi in the process," Donovan said.

Those excited about Crystal Pepsi's return can thank Kevin Strahle, a competitive eater and YouTube star, who was once a sales representative for PepsiCo. Strahle launched an online campaign to bring back Crystal Pepsi after buying a yellowed 20-year-old bottle, drinking it on camera and promptly vomiting it up. Pepsi responded in 2015 with a letter promising that Strahle and his followers would be "happy with what's in store." (The rerelease may also have been influenced by Coca-Cola's decision in 2015 to reintroduce its favorite from the �s, Surge.)

Whether the novelty of Crystal Pepsi's return will do much for the company's bottom line remains to be seen, but there's one way to gauge its success.

"If we see Tab Clear coming back," Donovan said, "then we know that Pepsi is doing well."

E.T. helped boost Reese's Pieces

Can a candy be good enough to travel across the universe for? Well, in the case of Reese's Pieces, that seems to be the case — at least in the movies. Product placement can be incredibly powerful in movies and TV and one of the most successful examples of this is when the alien in E.T. was seen gobbling up Reese's Pieces. Before the movie was released, the candy's sales were sagging, but they skyrocketed after E.T. came out. Before we expand on that though, we need to look at the candy that missed out on the blockbuster promotion.

During production of the movie, Amblin Productions went to Mars, Inc. about a possible tie-in between M&Ms and the film. Mars said "thanks, but no thanks." So why would a candy giant pass on having their product featured in a movie by Steven Spielberg? Well, the possible reasons range from the company thinking the movie would be a flop to not wanting its product associated with a space alien shacking up with a human family.

It was an incredibly dumb move on Mars' part, because then-Hershey's vice-president of new-business development, Jack Dowd, jumped at the chance and Hershey's agreed to spend $1 million over a six-week period promoting E.T.

The movie went on to be a huge hit of course, and within weeks, sales of Reese's Pieces were out of this world and rose 85 percent.

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Brand portfolio

This is a list of variants of Coca-Cola introduced around the world. In addition to the caffeine-free version of the original, additional fruit flavors have been included over the years. Not included here are versions of Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero variant versions of those no-calorie colas can be found at their respective articles.

Australia, American Samoa, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Denmark, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Korea, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Réunion, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, United Kingdom, United States, and West Bank-Gaza

Logo design

The Coca-Cola logo was created by John Pemberton's bookkeeper, Frank Mason Robinson, in 1885. [ 80 ] Robinson came up with the name and chose the logo's distinctive cursive script. The writing style used, known as Spencerian script, was developed in the mid-19th century and was the dominant form of formal handwriting in the United States during that period.

Robinson also played a significant role in early Coca-Cola advertising. His promotional suggestions to Pemberton included giving away thousands of free drink coupons and plastering the city of Atlanta with publicity banners and streetcar signs. [ 81 ]

Contour bottle design

The Coca-Cola bottle, called the "contour bottle" within the company, was created by bottle designer Earl R. Dean. In 1915, the Coca-Cola Company launched a competition among its bottle suppliers to create a new bottle for their beverage that would distinguish it from other beverage bottles, "a bottle which a person could recognize even if they felt it in the dark, and so shaped that, even if broken, a person could tell at a glance what it was." [ 82 ]

Chapman J. Root, president of the Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, turned the project over to members of his supervisory staff, including company auditor T. Clyde Edwards, plant superintendent Alexander Samuelsson, and Earl R. Dean, bottle designer and supervisor of the bottle molding room. Root and his subordinates decided to base the bottle's design on one of the soda's two ingredients, the coca leaf or the kola nut, but were unaware of what either ingredient looked like. Dean and Edwards went to the Emeline Fairbanks Memorial Library and were unable to find any information about coca or kola. Instead, Dean was inspired by a picture of the gourd-shaped cocoa pod in the Encyclopædia Britannica. Dean made a rough sketch of the pod and returned to the plant to show Root. He explained to Root how he could transform the shape of the pod into a bottle. Root gave Dean his approval. [ 82 ]

Faced with the upcoming scheduled maintenance of the mold-making machinery, over the next 24 hours Dean sketched out a concept drawing which was approved by Root the next morning. Dean then proceeded to create a bottle mold and produced a small number of bottles before the glass-molding machinery was turned off. [ 83 ]

Chapman Root approved the prototype bottle and a design patent was issued on the bottle in November 1915. The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts. Dean resolved this issue by decreasing the bottle's middle diameter. During the 1916 bottler's convention, Dean's contour bottle was chosen over other entries and was on the market the same year. By 1920, the contour bottle became the standard for the Coca-Cola Company. A revised version was also patented in 1923. Because the Patent Office releases the Patent Gazette on Tuesday, the bottle was patented on December 25, 1923, and was nicknamed the "Christmas bottle." Today, the contour Coca-Cola bottle is one of the most recognized packages on the planet. "even in the dark!". [ 32 ]

As a reward for his efforts, Dean was offered a choice between a $500 bonus or a lifetime job at the Root Glass Company. He chose the lifetime job and kept it until the Owens-Illinois Glass Company bought out the Root Glass Company in the mid-1930s. Dean went on to work in other Midwestern glass factories. [ citation needed ]

One alternative depiction has Raymond Loewy as the inventor of the unique design, but, while Loewy did serve as a designer of Coke cans and bottles in later years, he was in the French Army the year the bottle was invented and did not emigrate to the United States until 1919. Others have attributed inspiration for the design not to the cocoa pod, but to a Victorian hooped dress. [ 84 ]

In 1944, Associate Justice Roger J. Traynor of the Supreme Court of California took advantage of a case involving a waitress injured by an exploding Coca-Cola bottle to articulate the doctrine of strict liability for defective products. Traynor's concurring opinion in Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. is widely recognized as a landmark case in U.S. law today. [ 85 ]

In 2007, the company's logo on cans and bottles changed. The cans and bottles retained the red color and familiar typeface, but the design was simplified, leaving only the logo and a plain white swirl (the "dynamic ribbon"). [ citation needed ]


Earl R. Dean's original 1915 concept drawing of the contour Coca-Cola bottle

The prototype never made it to production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts.

Final production version with slimmer middle section.

Designer bottles

Karl Lagerfeld is the latest designer to have created a collection of aluminum bottles for Coca-Cola. Lagerfeld is not the first fashion designer to create a special version of the famous Coca-Cola Contour bottle. A number of other limited edition bottles by fashion designers for Coca Cola Light soda have been created in the last few years.

In 2009, in Italy, Coca-Cola Light had a Tribute to Fashion to celebrate 100 years of the recognizable contour bottle. Well known Italian designers Alberta Ferretti, Blumarine, Etro, Fendi, Marni, Missoni, Moschino, and Versace each designed limited edition bottles. [ 86 ]

'90s classic Surge returns to store shelves

ATLANTA &mdash '90s kids rejoice: Your favorite citrus-flavored, highly-caffeinated soda is back.

After years of frenzied fans writing, email, tweeting, Facebooking – any way they could to get in touch with Coca-Cola – The Atlanta-based company has officially brought back Surge. And it's available on store shelves along the east coast today.

Scott Williamson, VP of Brand and Business Communications for Coca-Cola North America, released this statement to WSB-TV:

"We were pleased with the excitement and demand for SURGE during the initial launch. We continue to explore the possibilities of SURGE and beginning this month, we are expanding availability to more locations in the Midwest and Southeast – in select retailers only. Fans should visit SURGE.com for specific locations in those areas."

Surge was produced from 1996 until 2003.

In 2014, Coca-Cola released a limited supply of Surge through Amazon.com, and well, it was a hit.

Coke says the resurgence of Surge is due in part to three people: Evan Carr, Sean Sheridan and Matt Winans who began the "Surge Movement." They began a social media campaign which reached hundreds of thousands of people and even pooled enough money to buy a billboard in 2013 hoping to catch the eye of Coke executives.

It said: "Dear Coke, we couldn't buy SURGE, so we bought this billboard instead." The billboard was about a half mile from Coke's headquarters.

Eventually, the three fans’ creativity and passionate pleas caught the

. Coke’s Associate Vice President of Sparkling Flavors, Racquel Mason says the entire experience has been inspiring.

“They’ve inspired us,” Mason said. “More than 128,000 people, a dozen years after a brand left the market saying, ‘Please bring it back!’ That’s the best compliment any brand could hope for.”.

Coke says it is the first time it is relying solely on social and digital media for getting the word out for Surge. The brand will forego all traditional forms of advertising, including TV and out of home, allowing excitement to build online.

Welcome Back 1998! Coca-Cola Announces the Return of Surge - Recipes

The beginning of a journey – on November 15, 1969, Dave Thomas opened his very first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio at 257 East Broad Street. In no time, the quick-service chain became known for its square beef patties, made from fresh beef, and iconic Frosty ® desserts.

First Pick-Up Window

Wendy’s introduced the first modern drive through to the world what Dave Thomas coined the “Pick-Up Window”. This innovation was so revolutionary that customers needed instructions on how to talk through the speaker to place an order. Originally called the “drive-in window,” Dave wanted to change the name from something that could attract cruisers and joyriders.

First Canadian Restaurant Opens

Wendy’s brought the beef to Canada when it opened the first international Wendy’s restaurant in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Wendy’s Goes Public

Wendy’s had its initial public stock offering on the NASDAQ exchange, issuing one million shares of common stock at $28 per share.

First Wendy’s Commercial Aired

Lights, camera, action! Wendy’s took its advertising to the small screen, making a name as the first quick-service chain with less than 1,000 restaurants to launch a national advertising campaign.

1,000th Wendy’s Restaurant Opens

The 1,000 th Wendy’s restaurant opened in Springfield, Tennessee and broke records for being the company’s 1,000 th restaurant in just 100 months.

Introducing the Salad Bar

Among all the fresh beef, Wendy’s added the salad bar to its menu to diversify the options for those who wanted to go green with their meals. Wendy’s salad bar was a hit in the 70’s and 80’s, but as Wendy’s restaurants became more operationally efficient and customers desired more portable salad offerings, salad bars were phased out in 2006.

2,000th Wendy’s Restaurant Opens

1980 marked the milestone of 2,000 Wendy’s restaurants…and counting.

Wendy’s Joins NYSE

Wendy’s stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange, using the trading symbol “WEN”.

Baked Potatoes Added to the Menu

Baked potatoes joined the menu in 1983. The Wendy’s baked potato saw success in the 80’s as the ever-memorable “hot-stuffed” and has stood the test of time as a tried and true favorite for customers seeking a lighter side or as a destination to accompany their chili.

“Where’s the Beef®?” Commercial Aired

Clara Peller became an overnight sensation when she inspected a fluffy hamburger bun that lacked in the beef department and exclaimed, “Where’s the Beef?”. The tagline became so popular that the advertisement led to a 31% boost in Wendy’s annual revenue, and even sparked a merchandise line for fans.

3,000th Wendy’s Restaurant Opens

The French Quarter in New Orleans was the location of this milestone – the 3,000th restaurant. You can guess by now that there’s more to come.

Dave’s First TV Commercial

Dave Thomas starred in his first commercial in 1989, and quickly became a nationwide household name. After the first national campaign, Dave went on to appear in more than 800 commercials through the years.

Super Value Menu Launched

Wendy’s was the first to introduce the concept of a Super Value Menu and it took off with nine items available for 99¢ every day. The menu offerings rotated based on what customers were craving.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich Debuted

Wendy’s nutrition policy was expanding, and so was the menu. The grilled chicken sandwich made its first appearance in 1990 as a lighter, lower calorie offering for customers seeking a non-fried chicken protein option.

Wendy’s Embraces Adoption

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush asked Dave Thomas to serve as spokesperson for the national adoption initiative, “Adoption Works…For Everyone.” Wendy’s embraced adoption as its national charitable cause, and in the years since has committed millions of dollars to raise awareness for children in foster care and foster care adoption.

Fresh-Made Salads To-Go

Salad on the run, anyone? Born from Wendy’s successful and iconic salad bar, Wendy’s turned customers’ attention to new, fresh-made salads they could get to-go: Grilled Chicken, Taco Caesar, Deluxe Garden, and Side Salads were the first salad offerings featured.

Dave Thomas Established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption®

Our founder, Dave Thomas, was adopted as a child, and created the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (DTFA) because he believed every child deserves a permanent, loving home. The DTFA is the only public, non-profit charity in the United States that is focused only on foster care adoption.

Wendy’s 3Tour Challenge Debuts

To benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Wendy’s hosted the 3Tour Challenge – An annual golf tournament that continued through 2013, raising more than 11.6 million in net proceeds in over two decades. The 3Tour Challenge was the only professional golf tournament that professionals from the PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour went head-to-head for the 3Tour title.

4,000th Wendy’s Restaurant Opens

The 4,000th Wendy’s opened in Bentonville, Arkansas, and was one of 250 Wendy’s restaurants opened in 1992.

Wendy’s Turns 25

Wendy’s celebrated its milestone 25th birthday with the best present ever – all-time record systemwide sales of $4.2 billion in 1994.

Wendy’s High School Heisman® Program Kicks Off

In 1993, Dave Thomas received his high school equivalency certificate and shared with 2,500 graduating seniors that he felt his biggest mistake was not finishing high school. Created to honor those who value education, and in partnership with the Heisman Trophy Trust ® , Wendy’s established the Wendy’s High School Heisman program to celebrate high-school senior athletes who went above and beyond in learning, performing, and leading on and off the field. Twenty-five years and hundreds of thousands of exceptional high school scholar-athletes later, the program honored its final class of students in December 2018.

Wendy’s Acquires Tim Hortons®

Would you like a side of donuts with your hamburger? In December 1995, Wendy’s completed its acquisition of Tim Hortons, a Canadian restaurant chain that features coffee and fresh baked goods.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich Launch

In 1995, Wendy’s was the first major fast food restaurant chain to introduce a spicy chicken sandwich to its menu. Fans loved the spicy kick of the chicken complimented by mayo, lettuce, tomato and a toasted bun so much, it was announced that it would be offered as a full-time menu option in 1996.

5,000th Wendy’s Restaurant Opens

The 5,000th Wendy’s restaurant opened in Columbus, Ohio as a Wendy’s/Tim Hortons combination unit.

U.S. Postage Stamp Celebrates Adoption

The U.S. Postal Service released a stamp to celebrate the joys of adoption, to raise awareness about the cause, and to thank those who had opened their homes to adopt children in foster care. Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, was a participant in the official stamp dedication ceremony.

Animal Welfare Council

In 2001, Wendy’s established an auditing program to monitor, verify and evaluate proper animal handling among our U.S. and Canadian suppliers. This effort was based on extensive research conducted by experts in animal behavior science.

6,000th Wendy’s Restaurant Opens

Wendy’s took another step towards international growth when it opened the 6,000th restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. The two-story restaurant was built to hold 224 customers.

Founder Dave Thomas Passes Away

At the age of 69, Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas passed away. Dave developed a passion for the quick service restaurant industry at a young age and devoted much of his life to growing the Wendy’s business and supporting foster care adoption.

Wendy’s Opens Culinary Innovation Center

Wendy’s opened its Culinary Innovation Center at its corporate headquarters, located in Dublin, Ohio. Later named the Brolick Innovation Center after former Wendy’s President & CEO Emil Brolick, the innovation center was built to provide a creative space for culinary ideas to come to life and for customers to participate in research-based taste test panels to support prospective menu items.

Halloween Coupon Books

It’s no trick that Wendy’s started offering their Halloween-themed Frosty ® Coupon Books as a treat in 2003. These coupon books are now called Boo! Books™ and have raised nearly $40 million for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® is Established

Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK) is the signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The DTFA awards grants to adoption agencies to hire adoption professionals, who work every day to make “unadoptable” unacceptable. Since 2004, more than 8,000 children have been placed in loving homes through WWK.

Wendy’s Kids’ Meal® is Introduced

In 2004, Wendy’s rolled out kid-friendly offerings for its youngest customers called Wendy’s Kids’ Meal. At launch and for no extra charge, Mom and Dad could swap out French fries for mandarin oranges and grab some milk for their kiddos instead of a soda. In the later 2000’s, Wendy’s began to show milk and apple slices as the featured beverage and side pairing in its Kids’ Meals.

Combo Choices Announced

The new Wendy’s Combo Choices Menu proved that sides could be more than just French fries, and allowed customers to choose a baked potato, small chili, or one of two side salads instead of French fries.

Tim Hortons Goes Public

Wendy’s completed its initial public offering of Tim Hortons in March 2006, and later completed its spin-off of the Canadian restaurant chain as a separate public company in September 2006.

No More Trans Fat

Trans Fat went out of style in the North American restaurants when Wendy’s switched to a nonhydrogenated cooking oil – with zero grams of trans fat – for French fries and breaded chicken.

Wendy’s adds Vanilla Frosty

Wendy’s upped its game in the dessert department when the company expanded its iconic chocolate Frosty flavor to vanilla. Speaking of upping the game, did you know you can request a pack of pecans to add a savory twist to your Frosty? If that’s not really your thing, feel free to stick to dipping your fries in your Frosty flavor of choice.

52 Weeks of Burgers: Mad Mack's Burger Co.

The Mad Mack is the signature house burger, loaded with nearly a pound of beef, bacon, queso, cheese and onion rings with two grilled cheese sandwiches that act as the buns.

The chalupa burger at Mad Mack's Burger Co.

The interior space of Mad Mack's Burger Co.

The Southwest burger at Mad Mack's Burger Co. is loaded with a thick layer of creamy guacamole and bacon.

The chili and cheese dog at Mad Mack's Burger Co.

Mad Mack's Burger Co. is located at 2933 Roosevelt Ave. on the South Side.

All-American burger with cheddar cheese at Mad Mack's Burger Co.

The hand-breaded onion rings at Mad Mack's Burger Co.

The Mad Mack is the signature house burger, loaded with nearly a pound of beef, bacon, queso, cheese and onion rings with two grilled cheese sandwiches that act as the buns.

The menu at Mad Mack's Burger Co.

The menu at Mad Mack's Burger Co.

Rating: Worth a drive

After nearly 20 years of owning and operating a steak and seafood restaurant in Pleasanton named Whiffletree&rsquos, Shanda and Rick Kern decided to go into the San Antonio burger business in 2015, citing an opportunity near Roosevelt Avenue and Southcross they couldn&rsquot refuse.

&ldquoWe always wanted to do something where we focused on burgers, and it was a sign to go ahead with the plan when we found out the building was available,&rdquo Shanda Kern said.

And just like that, Mad Mack&rsquos Burger Co. (named after two of their nieces, not the post-apocalyptic Mel Gibson character) was born.

Whatever your definition of a classic burger joint is, this place fills it, provided you are able to get past the faded signs and distressed look of the building. The checkerboard floor tile and burger baskets, Coca-Cola decor and straightforward menu that doesn&rsquot veer off into strange directions is as simple as it gets.

They don&rsquot have a freezer at Mad Mack&rsquos, so the daily burger grind is prepared fresh and that can sometimes lead to sellouts. The standard burger comes with a hand-pounded 1/3-pound patty (although I suspect it&rsquos made with a heavy hand and closer to a half-pound), placed hot on kaiser rolls baked fresh offsite.

Location: 2933 Roosevelt Ave.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 12 to 7 p.m. Saturdays

Get more of your burger fix: Read all 52 Weeks of Burgers reports so far

Best Burger: I tend to love the spectacle of big eats challenges, but rarely engage in taking them on myself. That said, the signature Mad Mack ($8.99) comes with nearly a pound of beef, bacon strips, onion rings and layers of melted cheese. And the buns are actually of a pair of buttery grilled cheese sandwiches. Forget a toothpick this had to be held together with a wooden dowel.

I asked what the best approach to eating it was, and was told to smash it down and do whatever it takes to get all the flavors in with a single bite. Hercules himself may not have been able to pull it off, but I did . barely.

It was messy. It was the definition of American excess.

Other burgers: Choosing the best burger was tough, because there were two other close contenders in the chalupa burger ($6.49) and the Southwest ($6.99). The chalupa is the Mad Mack&rsquos take on the classic San Antonio refried bean burger, and it sneaks in a full-blown corn tortilla under a burger patty topped with queso, tomatoes and jalapeños. If burgers and nachos married, this would be the offspring.

As for the Southwest, it was given a thick layer of silky smooth guacamole that was so good, it rivals that of the best Mexican restaurants in town.

The traditional all-American burger ($5.49), topped with a thin slice of cheddar, worked, too, but it trailed way back in the field with these competitors.

Fried sides: There&rsquos no sog in the house fries ($1.99), fried crisp enough to stand at full attention, and they come well coated in traditional seasoning salt that takes it old school.

The delicious hand-breaded yellow onion rings ($3.99) are cut thick, and were so sweet, they could be advertised as a dessert option. They come coated with a light batter that reminded me of a powdery soft state fair funnel cake.

Maverick: They sell a lot of fried fish at Mad Mack&rsquos, but it sadly was unavailable during my visit. The chili cheese dog ($6.99) was a welcome pivot, with chili made fresh daily generously topping a nicely grilled, 10-inch dog with plenty of snap and smoky flavor. It&rsquos one of the best dogs you&rsquoll find.

Chuck Blount is a food writer and columnist covering all things grilled and smoked in the San Antonio area. Find his Chuck's Food Shack columns on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com, or read his other coverage on our free site, mySA.com. | [email protected] | Twitter: @chuck_blount | Instagram: @bbqdiver

Chuck Blount is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years in the field. His weekly poker column is internationally syndicated and has appeared weekly since 2005. In addition to writing duties, he is also an assistant sports editor.

Prior to the Express-News, he was a sportswriter for the Idaho Falls Post-Register, covering Idaho State athletics and high schools. He is a 1998 University of Iowa graduate.

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