Whatever Happened To . . . The Wendy’s SuperBar?

Welcome to a new column here at One-Quest, Whatever Happened To . . . ? where we examine all those cool things from back when you were a kid that were totally awesome, but which you’ve probably since forgotten. This won’t necessarily be as nerdy as our other columns, but it should still be fun. If it doesn’t elicit at least a few ‘AWWWWWWW YEAHHHHS, I remember those, they were awesome!’, you had a very sheltered childhood.

Our First Whatever Happened to . . . entry is the Wendy’s Superbar. If you’re too young remember, there was once a time when in addition to Frosty’s and the best fast food fries (before they changed to the new recipe recently), Wendy’s dabbled in also being an Old Country Buffet, and they had a buffet bar called the ‘SuperBar’, pictured below.

wendys superbar
Gee honey, I can’t decide. Do I want a burger and fries, or tacos and spaghetti, and maybe a nice side salad? Thank god I don’t have to choose thanks to the awesome Wendy’s SuperBar!

 

The SuperBar was an unholy bastard of random food that you would not normally associate with Wendy’s. It was predominately a salad bar, with your standard salad bar fixings. But in addition to the salad station, which they called the ‘Garden Spot’, there was also a Pasta Station (creatively called ‘Pasta Pasta’) and a Mexican Station (‘Mexican Fiesta’). ‘Pasta Pasta’ was stocked with both rotini and spagetti pastas, and both a tomato and alfredo sauce, and you could load up on the garlic bread sticks. ‘Mexican Fiesta’ was a taco bar with refried beans, rice, and taco meat (which was basically just the overcooked hamburger meat they didn’t use in the chili), and you could choose between crunchy tacos, or they had one of those little tortilla warmer things filled up for making soft tacos. But the best part was by far the little dessert part, which was kinda shoved at the end of the ‘Garden Spot’, they always had two troughs full of chocolate and vanilla pudding.

I’m sure you’re saying to yourself ‘That sound’s awesome, why did they ever get rid of that?’. The truth is, they totally were awesome. My junior and senior high school was directly next to a Wendy’s (also a diner, a McDonald’s, and a liquor store, all of which say alot about the state of our public schooling and why we have fat drunk teenagers). After my first set of midterms in 7th grade, me and two friends went to the Wendy’s (all the cool kids went to the McDonald’s, but screw them, Wendy’s was cheaper, better food, and no lines. Also, I was not a ‘cool kid’) for the SuperBar. Since midterms were half days, and we were still young enough, we managed to get the kids lunch special for only $2.99. It was like half the price of the regular SuperBar, the only difference was they gave us a slightly smaller plate. We ended up staying there for like 6 hours, all through both the lunch and dinner rushes. We must have had them refill the taco meat like 4 times. We stayed down in the little glass sunroom (Why do all Wendy’s have those? It’s a odd architectural choice) and kept to ourselves, but three 12 year olds hopped up on taco meat, pasta sauce, and pudding tend to be loud and rowdy. We eventually got asked to leave because they didn’t give refills, so my one friend just started drinking all the half and halfs they put out for the coffee. It got all in his braces and looked gross, and we couldn’t stop laughing.

That’s why they got rid of it. It was a huge pain in the ass to keep up with. Not only did it attract rowdy teenagers, but just imagine that on a Saturday afternoon. All the breeders with their bottom feeding children, mouths all agape, sneezing in the pudding, just generally yelling and being indecisive while making a huge mess. ‘No mommy, I don’t want a salad, I want a happy meal! I hate you, that’s why I like Daddy better! He takes me to the playplace at McDonalds’.

While the idea of a buffet sounds great, particularly with hind site from our diabetes infested times (‘I want it all mixed up in a big bucket!’), it couldn’t have been too profitable. The SuperBar was filled with food items that were only used just in SuperBar. While they could re-purpose certain things from the SuperBar like lettuce, tomatoes, sour creme and beef, using those on burgers or chili, what would they do with spaghetti, or refried beans, or even the pudding at the end of the day? The only answer is they must have thrown them out. And regardless of how popular a item was, they needed to restock it every day. I can’t imagine there is much call for Alfredo on say a Tuesday afternoon, but they needed to keep the SuperBar full all the time and put it out anyway. But there was certain stuff that was perishable and needed to get replaced in a timely manner. I’m sure there were times when the SuperBar went unvisted all afternoon, but was completely stocked up and needed to get trashed out for the dinner service. Because of all this wasted food, and the loss of the economy of scale due to so many items in the SuperBar only having one use and not being able to purchase it in bulk, the SuperBar just didn’t make economic sense anymore and had to be discontinued.

So while it was great while it lasted, you can understand why Wendy’s had to discontinue the SuperBar. By going back to their core competencies (the value menu, and bacon), they were able to save a lot of money on supply cost, let alone manpower to clean and stock the SuperBar on a daily basis. While you can’t go to one now, you can relive their awesomeness with some old SuperBar commercials below. So that’s What Happened to the Wendy’s SuperBar.

is the proud owner of a life size replica Captain Kirk Chair. He is a hoarder of Comic Books, Transformers, and Star Trek action figures. He attended Space Camp as an adult. He has taken vacations to the closing of the Star Trek Experience and the final night Shuttle launch. He has been known to yell at his television when the kids can't put together the damn statue in the Shrine of the Silver Monkey. When not writing and copy editing for One-Quest, he is a Software Engineer for a major telcom.

You can Email John or follow John on Twitter @jrscott42 or Facebook

  • rsx

    Why we can’t have nice things. Thanks for the review, would have loved to been old enough back then.

  • joey

    That’s the first place I’d ever had alfredo sauce, in my youth. At first I was reluctant, because I didn’t want to try anything new, and white pasta sauce was just not normal to my eight year old brain, but Father talked me into trying it, and I gorged on it whenever I could. Since then I’ve had a lot of different alfredo sauces, but none have tasted the same. I’ll always miss it. I’m giong to try to look up the recipe right now (although I am absolutely not the cooking type).

  • fjordprefect

    I used to work the SuperBar at our local Wendy’s when I was in college back in 1990-91. And yes at the end of the night we threw away anything that couldn’t be kept fresh. So salad stuff would go into plastic containers and refrigerated while the noodles and stuff would end up in the trash. We did a lot to make sure food wasn’t wasted, though – chicken patties became chicken salad, burgers became chili, etc. And cleanliness was taken very seriously – I personally waged war on any fly that got near my bar, but if by some chance they got to any of the food, I’d replace it right away. So yeah, it probably became too expensive for Wendy’s to keep up the SuperBar much longer but it was really great while it lasted. Sure the Alfredo sauce came in powder packets, and the tortilla chips were really just broken up taco shells, but the bar was clean and the food was fresh. I really do miss it.

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