Fact Check

Did You Know Wendy's Offered a 'SuperBar' All-You-Can-Eat Buffet from 1988 to 1998?

One TikTok post from January 2022 claimed to show a 1988 news report about the buffet, with patrons saying they “loved it."

Published Sep 15, 2023

 (@gdom2020/TikTok)
Image Via @gdom2020/TikTok
Claim:
Wendy’s fast food chain featured an all-you-can-eat buffet called the "SuperBar" from 1988 to 1998, which served Mexican food, pasta, salad, and fruit. 

For years, a claim has constantly circulated online that Wendy's, the U.S. fast food chain known mainly for its burgers, offered a buffet called the "SuperBar" from 1988 to 1998. The SuperBar featured Mexican food, pasta, salad, and fruit. 

"TIL that from 1988 to 1998, Wendy's had a buffet called the SuperBar which served Mexican food, pasta, salad, and fruit," a Reddit post claimed on Sep. 4, 2023.

TIL that from 1988 to 1998, Wendy's had a buffet called the Superbar which served Mexican food, pasta, salad, and fruit.
byu/Forward-Answer-4407 intodayilearned

 

We also found social media posts across platforms like Facebook, YouTube, X (formerly known as Twitter), and TikTok repeating the claim. On TikTok, we found such posts going back to at least 2020. One TikTok post from January 2022 purported to show a 1988 news report about the buffet, with patrons saying they "loved it":

@tikittytalk #nostalgic #nostalgia #nostalgiacore #retro #throwback #vintage #oldschool #flashback #memories #corememories #1980s #80s #80sthrowback #wendys #fastfood #food #buffet #superbar #news #newsreport #tv #fyp #xyzbca #GenshinImpact34 #discontinued ♬ original sound - alicia

The SuperBar was indeed a real Wendy's buffet that operated from 1988 to 1998. We reached out to Wendy's to learn more about the SuperBar and will update this fact-check if we hear back.

The Christian Science Monitor wrote that Wendy's SuperBar buffet was launched in 1988. The Washington Post, another reputable news source, mentioned the buffet in a November 1989 article.

Reputable food publications like Food & Wine and Eater have also written about Wendy's SuperBar buffet. Eater's article confirmed the SuperBar served Mexican food, pasta, and salad:

First, there was the Garden Spot, which "no one cared about," a traditional salad bar with a tub of chocolate pudding at its helm, "which always had streams of salad dressing and shredded cheese floating on top." Next up was the Pasta Pasta section, with "noodles, alfredo and tomato sauce…[as well as] garlic bread made from the repurposed hamburger buns with butter and garlic smeared on them." Obviously, the crown jewel of the Superbar was the Mexican Fiesta, with its "vats of ground beef, nacho cheese, sour cream." The Fiesta shared custody of additional toppings with the salad bar. It was $2.99 for the dining experience. 

The Christian Science Monitor wrote that fruit was also served within the Garden Spot section of Wendy's SuperBar buffet.

Even Wendy's President & Chief Executive Officer Todd Penegor claimed to have previously eaten at a SuperBar buffet. We found Penegor graduated with a B.A. in Accounting in 1987 from Michigan State University (MSU). He later graduated with an MBA in 1989 from the university as well. He wrote in a blog post found on Wendy's website in 2018 (bold ours for emphasis):

Over the years and in between college fun – including plenty of MSU football games – I'd visit my small hometown on break, and of course head to Wendy's. Whenever I visited, it always felt like home. I'll never forget the two General Managers at the time, Gene and Bruce. I'd make my way to the salad bar, and eventually the Super Bar, sit in the solarium and eat lunch or dinner, which Gene and Bruce would cover.

When we reached out to Wendy's, we asked about the blog post as well. We'll update this fact check if we hear back.

The SuperBar buffets were eventually phased out from Wendy's restaurants in 1998. The Christian Science Monitor wrote about the discontinuation, as well as how some people wish for Wendy's to bring the buffet back:

But keeping a buffet stocked and clean is hard work, especially coupled with the task of serving Wendy's traditional over-the-counter menu.

As multiple reputable news and food publications confirmed that Wendy's once had an all-you-can-eat buffet called the SuperBar, and Wendy's CEO & President once wrote about eating there in a blog post for the company, we rate this claim True.

Sources

Carrigan, M. M. "Fast-Food Buffets Are a Thing of the Past. Some Doubt They Ever Even Existed." Eater, 29 Sept. 2020, https://www.eater.com/2020/9/29/21493824/fast-food-buffets-mcdonalds-taco-bell-magical-mysterious-history.

Milton, Travis. "The Fettuccine Alfredo at the Wendy's Superbar Turned Me into a Chef." Food & Wine, https://www.foodandwine.com/chefs/im-a-chef-because-of-the-wendys-superbar. Accessed 15 Sept. 2023.

Penegor, Todd. "When Family Comes Full Circle." Wendy's, 22 June 2018, https://www.wendys.com/blog/when-family-comes-full-circle.

Potts, Mark. "WENDY'S CHAIRMAN STEPS ASIDE." Washington Post, 22 Nov. 1989. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1989/11/22/wendys-chairman-steps-aside/7bf63b40-a761-45fa-82c4-a28330c47170/.

Velasco, Schuyler. "10 Fast Foods That Have Disappeared." Christian Science Monitor. Christian Science Monitor, https://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2013/0821/10-fast-foods-that-have-disappeared/Superbar. Accessed 15 Sept. 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.

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