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Hamburgers are now a special order item at Wendy's

Stopped by Wendy's this week for an "old fashion" hamburger. Much to my surprise, their menu board no longer shows a hamburger. When questioned, I was told I'd have to buy a cheeseburger and request they hold the cheese. Bye Bye......

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  1. I've seen other fast food joints do this, except when you order a hamburger, they generally just punch it in themselves as a cheeseburger minus cheese. When most people are looking for specialty burgers, it's easier/more compact to have a single "original" burger listed. They could easily put hamburger on the menu and have people request the cheese on it.

      1. Didn't it used to be that everything (well, at least the single/double/triple, etc) was listed plain and you had to add cheese? Or is that a Wendy's Canada thing? I'm sure they have looked at how many people order without cheese and have gone with the majority.

        1. Cheeseburgers seem to be the norm these days, I've had to ask them for a cheeseburger without cheese which is completely idiotic (same at McD's). The advantage is that they have to make it up fresh right then. My mom didn't like onions and got her burger freshly made by asking for one without, too.

          5 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            "Freshly made" is a relative term these days when it comes to fast food. At McD in particular, the burgers are par-fried and microwaved anyway, so the best you'll get will be a burger that was more recently microwaved. Up until about 1995, you could do a special order (or "Grill" as they called it), and actually get a burger right off the grill. /end rant

            1. re: Steve Green

              This is why I blame McDonalds for everything that sucks in fast food burgers today. They became great at getting customers served in a minute or so, and others have followed. Burger King used to flame grill to order, and Wendy's had hot, fresh burgers, but now the American palate is dumbed down to faster is better at the expense of taste.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                Just as a note... the burgers at Wendy's are still grilled fresh to order.

                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  I think they are assembled fresh to order, but, dating myself here, they are not the same fresh grilled to order they were twenty five years ago, hot and juicy as advertised back then.

                  1. re: James Cristinian

                    That is a key distinction -- assembled-to-order vs made-to-order. I found out the difference when I had a burger at Sonic a while back. They had said the burgers were made-to-order, but they were clearly just assembled with precooked patties. Gross.

          2. I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that if you order "a hamburger", the person taking your order will say "do you want cheese?" to which you reply, "No thank you."

            It really is that easy.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Boston_Otter

              I'm a not very polite grumpy old man and would have said: " If I wanted a cheeseburger I would have asked for it". I don't suffer fools or foolish questions very well.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Asking if you want cheese on a hamburger isn't a foolish question. Wendy's has been pretty straightforward about explaining that they've found that most people prefer cheese on their burger, so they've simply made it the default. It's extremely simple to ask for "no cheese", whether you're at McDonalds, Wendys, or Five Guys.

                1. re: Boston_Otter

                  Except, a hamburger doesn't have cheese. Cheeseburgers have cheese. Well, assuming that yellow, gooey cheese-like product they pass off as cheese can be considered as cheese.

                  Along that line, it has always annoyed me when the clerk would ask "do you want cheese on that?". Hello - did I order a cheeseburger?

                  1. re: Clams047

                    Exactly! Most places still offer the basic 'hamburger' on their menu. Even after I tell the clerk exactly what I want, they still manage screw it up mainly because they don't speak english well enough.

                    1. re: Clams047

                      Ok...I am going to come to the defense of the people who work at these burger joints. I would bet anything that they are forced to ask these questions as part of the job and are threatened with such things as the district manager coming by or secret shoppers or whatever and punishment when they don't comply with the script. I worked at Starbucks in college and was threatened with this sort of thing...believe me, I felt obnoxious when I had to ask customers ridiculous questions that most of the time I already knew the answer to - "no" or "no thanks"

                      1. re: Fromageball

                        Yes, at my local Whataburger, it is always, "Do you want cheese on that, or would you like a fried pie?" I know they have a job to do, and are probably subjected to tons of abuse, so I am always polite, and respond no thank you to all questions. Maybe it's because I've worked retail so long, but I am always polite to those in service industries.

                    2. re: Boston_Otter

                      Boston Otter, "It's extremely easy to ask for "no cheese," true enough, but the problem is actually getting no cheese. Back when I ate fast food regularly, it was next to impossible to get a quarter pounder without cheese, despite asking for no cheese three different times every time I ordered it, about an 80 percent failure rate. Wendy's was better but still terrbile, making an unwanted cheeseburger about 40 percent of the time. The wife and I do a Whatabuger every couple of months no problem, now if they would use actual hot jalapenos, another topic.

                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        if you want it "your way," i'd ignore the advertising and go to a regular (i.e.NOT fast food) restaurant.
                        fast food restaurants, by their nature, must have what is essentially an assembly line in place.
                        assembly lines don't do well with custom orders.. . . .

                        (as well as avoiding fast food restaurants, also avoid gjelina and father's office)

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          All I ask for is no cheese. Burgrer King can do it, so can Whataburger, but what's wrong with McDonalds and Wendy's. It shouldn't be too difficult, but it is. It really doesn't matter, I don't eat their crap anymore, just an occasional Whataburger, not crap.

                      2. re: Boston_Otter

                        Speaking of Five Guys, are they made to order? One just opened near by, Hear the FF are quite good.

                            1. re: Mother of four

                              Yes, you can even watch them cooking the burgers right behind the cashier.

                              1. re: Mother of four

                                Five Guys does not allow their grillmen to make burgers in advance, In fact the secret shopper's report specificalkly asks if any patties have been put on the grill ahead of orders to be geld ready to assemble when ordered.

                        1. Could it just be a way to jack up the price of a hamburger, i.e. did they lower the price of your cheeseburger with no cheese? Otherwise, I think most fast food places have a price ($x) for hamburgers and then a price ($x + 10 - 25 cents) for cheeseburgers. But now they get to charge you a cheeseburger price for a hamburger... Just a thought.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: FattyDumplin

                            Exactly - alienate a few customers who don't appreciate being ripped off, but increase the average check size for the masses. I wonder what they would do if one asked for the cheese to be served on the side (after all, they are charging for the cheese whether it's ordered or not).

                            1. re: Clams047

                              I can;y answer for Wendy's, but our local Subway refuses to give the cheese on the side. My daughter doesn't eat cheese, and if we go to Subway, I'd like her cheese for my sandwich. hey won't put it on my sandwich instead and won't put it on the side either.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                That isn't universal. All the Subways near me put my lactose intolerant child's cheese on another of our subs, no questions asked and without problem.

                                1. re: CanadaGirl

                                  Different franchise owners, different rules for their employees.

                          2. This is the hidden price increase. You now have to pay the cheeseburger price to get a hamburger. More and more places are selling loaded items only and you have to tell them what to omit.

                            You will lose your reference price for hamburgers, and if they raised the cheeseburger price when switching over, you would not have noticed it because you normally don't order cheeseburgers.

                            1. I hate cheeseburgers. One time Dairy Queen had a special 2 cheeseburgers for $2. I asked the guy behind the counter if I could have 2 hamburgers instead. I think he had to check with a manager but in the end I got them.

                              Why wasn't that an automatic YES???

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: pdxgastro

                                I had a similar experience at Arby's several years ago. They had $0.99 Cheddar Melts. I don't like them and at the time they didn't have a value menu. I had to order $0.99 Cheddar Melts without cheese in order to avoid paying the $2 or $3 for a regular sandwich.

                              2. This doesn't strike me as a big deal, just an inevitable step in the evolution of burger expectations and options. Like it or not, cheese has become so ubiquitous that it is now regarded as a standard topping on a burger. If you don't want cheese, you have to ask them to hold it just as you would for the lettuce, pickles, tomato, ketchup, etc. And just like when you hold other standard toppings, passing on the cheese doesn't entitles you to a reduction in the item's price.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Arthur

                                  Like it or not, cheese has become so ubiquitous that it is now regarded as a standard topping on a burger.

                                  If the term "hamburger" = burger with cheese

                                  Then what does the term "cheeseburger" = ?

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    The term "cheeseburger" may be headed for the scrap heap.

                                2. I'm sure a great deal of research and computer processing went into their decision to make cheeseburgers the default. Those extra seconds of asking "Would you like cheese with that?" add up when you're talking about volume in billions. I have less problem with their calling a cheeseburger a "burger" than I do with their calling their burgers "burgers" to start with, but that's another issue. While a stopwatch would disqualify Whataburger from being called "fast" food, I still think they are the best, unbelievable really, for a chain, but they sell their fantastic burgers on the shoddiest wimpy buns possible. The thing is often flat and mangled by the time you unwrapped it. This sounds extreme, but I take'em home and surgically transplant the Whataburger insides to a kaiser roll of my own. Heavenly.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: gregsamsa

                                    Have you let them know? Here's a way you could: You should shoot a YouTube right in the restaurant (Whataburger's a sit-down, right?). Take apart the hamburger showing how bad the bread is. Then whip out your kaiser roll and transfer it. Then email a link to their HQ. That might make them sit up and take notice.

                                    1. re: pdxgastro

                                      You know, that is a damn good idea.

                                      Thank you!

                                      1. re: gregsamsa

                                        Of course you will have to post it here too! :o)

                                  2. I feel the same way. I was at a Sonic tonight and they are doing the same thing. They only had a cheeseburger combo and you don't have to take the cheese, but you still pay for it.

                                    1. Reminds me of a time I went into McD's and ordered "a cheeseburger with just pickles, nothing else." I got a hamburger with no cheese and pickles. When I complained, I got a cheeseburger with pickles, but I was told that my original burger had been correct. Later, at a different McD's, I again asked for a cheeseburger with pickles only, and was asked "so, no cheese then?" Yeah, and no hamburger patty too...

                                      1. My experience with Wendy's is that it doesn't matter if you order a hamburger, or ask them to hold the cheese - they will give you cheese no matter what. I always have to double check my order before I drive off, but that doesn't happen much anymore, since I'm pretty much through with them.

                                        Wendy's quality took a sharp nosedive after the death of Dave Thomas, and now the awful salty fries and thick weird buns have almost completely driven me away.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                          That always used to happen to me as well. Given the price increase and the quality nosedive, I've given up on Wendys. Fortunately, there's enough Roy Rogers, Five Guys, and mom & pops that it's not much of a loss. Given what I'd pay for a Wendys Triple, I can get a freshly made pljeskavica on fresh bread at the local Bosnian carryout.

                                        2. I agree that Wendy's has taken a nosedive. My cousin loves their spicy chicken sandwiches, so when she visits I have to take her to Wendy's for that. Their cheeseburgers are strictly offlimits to me. So, I have to go there once a year.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: minkgirl

                                            Wendy's burgers were always my fast food burger of choice but since the "upgrade" I simply don't like them anymore. The burgers are too salty, the buns are too bready, and the pickles are just wrong. Let's not even start on the fries.

                                            However, I still think they have the best fast food salad and since I'm actively trying to lose weight now, those make a nice change up and make me feel as if I'm cheating worse than I really am.

                                            1. re: rockycat

                                              +1, +1, +1. Marry me. Seriously it's like you're inside my head.

                                          2. Wish we had more more mom and pop places near where I live. My hometown only has sonic, subway, papa john's and pizza hut for chains. There is a good mom pop place in the next town north, Burger 'Fixins'. I have given up on Sonic and Wendy's. I'm going to check Burger King and see if they still sell hamburgers. I believe Whataburger still serves hamburgers.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: minkgirl

                                              Wendys, McDonalds, Burger King, and Whataburger all sell hamburgers, yes.

                                            2. No, all the Wendy's where I have sell only cheeseburgers and it's the same with Sonic. You have to order and cheeseburger and ask them to leave off the cheese. And you get to pay the cheeseburger price. Thank goodness, we still have a Whataburger.

                                              1. Sorry, my reply should have been all the Wendy's where I "live" serve only cheeseburgers. If you want a burger, you have to order a cheeseburger and ask them to leave off the cheese. "Ridiculous"!!!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: minkgirl

                                                  I'm going to be the devil's advocate and ask how is this different from asking for a hamburger and asking them to leave off the lettuce, tomatoes and/or onions?
                                                  You're still paying for THOSE even if they're left off.

                                                2. Well, traditionally, cheese has been added to a hamburger for an extra cost. As far back as I can remember, nobody ever charged extra for pickles, lettuce, tomato or onion. So, it is different for cheese. These places have always charged more for a cheeseburger.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: minkgirl

                                                    But did the prices of burgers (secretly) go up when they started added more toppings to the point where it's accepted that burgers cost 30-60 cents more because they've added tomatoes etc?

                                                  2. I don't know. I just know I am done with Wendy's cheeseburgers or hamburgers. There are too many other fast food places that serve better "hamburgers" for less money. Also, done with Sonic, if they are not going to serve "hamburgers". I have contacted both companies and Wendy's has not responded. Sonic has referred my email to a local Sonic which is ridiculous because the local Sonic had nothing to do with the decision.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: minkgirl

                                                      Oh, well as to whether Wendy's burgers are as good know as they were a few short years ago (they most definitly are NOT) is an entirely different conversation!

                                                    2. I think it is worth mentioning that cheese on a burger serves to mask the deficiencies in the flavor of the meat. This could be why the cheese is being pushed.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                        That is probably true. I don't care for cheese food which is what they probably use. I really don't even like real cheese on a burger. I do like Cabot cheese that is made in Vermont if it is served cold with apples or crackers. They would never go to the expense of putting real cheese on a sandwich. I think I will try Wendy's chili and skip their cheeseburgers.

                                                        1. re: Tripeler

                                                          The dairy industry is also heavily subsidized, so it's cheaper to add cheese than increase the portion of the burger.

                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                            It has more to do with the addictive qualities of cheese.

                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                              I always thought the burger was there to mask the flavor of the cheese.

                                                              Who would've thunk it was just the opposite!

                                                              1. re: Tripeler

                                                                I'm sure that you are correct about masking the flavor of the meat. I can make a hamburger that is 100% better than any hamburger that can be bought in any fast food restaurant. We call it a Wimpy's burger and if you want cheese, you must ask for it. Wimpy as in Popeye.

                                                              2. I always prefer my burger to have cheese.

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: causeimhungry

                                                                  What a ripoff. They don't even use real cheese.

                                                                    1. re: Boston_Otter

                                                                      Yep - it's real pasteurized processed cheese product.

                                                                      1. re: Clams047

                                                                        McDonalds uses "American cheese" which is the equivalent of processed cheese. Not to be confused with "processed cheese FOOD" which is a different product.

                                                                        "Pasteurized process cheese," which is made from one or more cheeses (excluding certain cheeses such as cream cheese and cottage cheese but including American cheese), and which may contain one or more specified "optional ingredients" (includes both dairy and nondairy items). Moisture and fat content percentage requirements vary according to standards for constituent cheeses, but in most cases fat content must be >47%.

                                                                        "Pasteurized process cheese food," which is made from not less than 51% by final weight of one or more "optional cheese ingredients" (similar to the cheeses available for Pasteurized process cheese) mixed with one or more "optional dairy ingredients" (milk, whey, etc.), and which may contain one or more specified "optional ingredients" (nondairy). Moisture must be <44%, and fat content >23%.

                                                                  1. Thanks, I could not have said it better. I avoid "cheese food".

                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                        Depends on how you kill the burger and cut the cheese.

                                                                      2. You've got to be kidding. What is the point of that?

                                                                        1. Yep! Dave is rolling in his grave! Went to Wendy's a few minutes ago and ordered a Wendy's burger after searching the menu for several minutes, Got home and was ready to dig in to the delicous burger, CHEESE!!!!! Called them to ask what went on a Wendy's burger. Yes, they do add cheese and you have to tell them no cheese. Obviously ordering a hamburger is not possible anymore. To get a hamburger, you must order a hamburger .with no cheese! GRRRRRR!!

                                                                          1. Yet another marketing ploy to get more money and not give you what you want. So, order a cheeseburger but hold the cheese? But you still have to PAY for the cheese, I would imagine. So much for ethical behavior on the part of a hamburger franchise icon.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: DelishDi

                                                                              Only a matter of time before they put bacon, honey mustard chipotle garlic aoli, and gold leaf on their burgers, and charge you to take it off.

                                                                            2. Tasty enough, but not worth $5.