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Wimpy
Type Wholly owned subsidiary
Founded Coventry Street, London (1954)
Founder(s) J. Lyons and Co
Industry Restaurants
Products Fast Food
(hamburgers • chicken • french fries)
Parent Famous Brands
Website UK website, South African Website

Wimpy is the brand name of a chain of fast-food hamburger restaurants based in the United Kingdom. It is well known for its burger known as the Bender, which is actually a frankfurter sausage and not a hamburger patty .

The restaurants were originally called Wimpy Bars and many people still refer to them by this name, despite the fact that the name “Wimpy Bar” was dropped in favour of “Wimpy” many years ago. The current owners of the Wimpy brand operate in several countries under the name of Wimpy International.

Contents

History

A branch of Wimpy in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

The Wimpy brand was created in the 1950s. The name was inspired by the character of J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons created by E. C. Segar. Eddie Gold was running 12 restaurants by the early 1950s, when the concept of fast food came to the attention of the directors of J. Lyons and Co. Lyons licensed the brand for use in the United Kingdom and in 1954 the first "Wimpy Bar" Lyons was established at the Lyons Corner House in Coventry Street, London. Originally the bar was a special fast-food section within the more traditional Corner House restaurants, but the success soon led to the establishment of separate Wimpy restaurants serving only hamburger based meals. By the early 1970s the business had expanded to over a thousand restaurants in 23 countries.

In 1977, the business was acquired by United Biscuits. By the late 1980s, Wimpy was beginning to lose ground to McDonald’s, who had opened their first UK restaurant in 1974, and so the new management of Wimpy began to streamline the business by converting some of the traditional table service restaurants to counter service. In 1989, the business was sold to Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo). Grand Metropolitan had acquired Burger King the previous year and they began to convert the “counter service” restaurants to Burger King restaurants. In 1990, the remaining 220 “table service” restaurants were purchased by a management buy-out backed by 3i. A second management buy-out occurred in 2002.

Although Wimpy has decreased in numbers in the United Kingdom, it is still found in some towns and cities, at RoadChef motorway services and at the Dundee Megabowl bowling alley[1]. The branches at the Roadchef and Megabowl locations typically have a counter service as opposed to a table service format. There is also a Wimpy at Dunmail Park Shopping Centre in Workington, Cumbria, serving the multiplex cinema located there as well as shoppers.

On 27 February 2007, Famous Brands, which owns the Wimpy franchise in South Africa, announced that it had acquired Wimpy UK. Having acquired the brand, Famous Brands has re-branded Wimpy in the UK to bring it in line with Wimpy South Africa. The "new" logo is actually one used by Wimpy UK from the 1960s until the 1980s.

Wimpy is currently re-branding and refreshing all its restaurants, an operation which commenced on 22nd October 2007 with the launch of the new format at the Benfleet, Essex branch. Wimpy features new décor, seating and signage and a return to the original Wimpy colours of red and white. Supporting the new look is an improved menu and a significant marketing campaign.[2]

International

South Africa branches

Wimpy opened in South Africa in Durban in 1967. The business was sold to Bakers SA Ltd in the late 1970s and later to the Steers Holdings Group.

Other Countries

In 1976, Wimpy opened their first restaurant in Bogotá, Colombia. There are also branches trading as Wimpy in Germany where they preceded the U.S.based chains, Kuwait, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Beirut, Lebanon, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Now owned by Famous Brands who recently completed a takeover of Wimpy within the UK.

Egypt and Morocco branches

Wimpy used to have many branches in Egypt and Morocco, it was the first international burger restaurant in Egypt and the second in Morocco, but it closed its business by 1998 in both countries.

New Zealand branches

Wimpy had branches in New Zealand including Hamilton and Nelson but have now closed except for one Rotorua store.

Ireland branches

There are a few outlets in Ireland, most combined with petrol stations. It has an outlet in Urlingford, County Kilkenny, Ireland, which is the location of the rest stop for buses between Dublin and Cork; and one in Celbridge, County Kildare. Most are located in Petrogas (Applegreen) petrol stations, as they hold the master franchise. [3]

Kuwait Branches

Wimpy opened in Al-duiya in Kuwait in the 1970's.

U.S.A

Wimpy's opened in 1969 in Dallas, Texas and has served the area west of Dallas and Oak Cliff . Wimpy's celebrated 40 years of service on August 24, 2009.

Mr Wimpy

During the 1980s, advertising for the Wimpy chain featured a cartoon character called Mr Wimpy. He was almost entirely hidden under a large hat, and only a nose and a smile were visible. His physical appearance was a visual pun, as his costume was the red dress uniform of the Beefeaters at the Tower Of London, playing on the beef-oriented nature of the chain's menu. In certain branches, a member of staff would dress up in a Mr Wimpy costume for pre-arranged children's parties. Mr Wimpy also appeared in an official computer game by Ocean software, released in 1984 on the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other formats.

Although the Wimpy chain's name was originally inspired by the the Wimpy cartoon character in Popeye, the chain's own Mr Wimpy bore no resemblance to Popeye's Wimpy.

Notes

External links


Wimpy
Type Wholly owned subsidiary
Founded Coventry Street, London (1954)
Founder(s) J. Lyons and Co
Industry Restaurants
Products Fast Food
(hamburgersTemplate:•chickenTemplate:•french fries)
Parent Famous Brands
Website UK website, South African Website

Wimpy is the brand name of a chain of fast-food hamburger restaurants based in the United Kingdom. The restaurants were originally called Wimpy Bars and many people still refer to them by this name, despite the fact that the name “Wimpy Bar” was dropped in favour of “Wimpy” many years ago. The current owners of the Wimpy brand operate in several countries under the name of Wimpy International.

Contents

History

The Wimpy brand was created in the 1950s. The name was inspired by the character of J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons created by Elzie Crisler Segar. Eddie Gold was running 12 restaurants by the early 1950s, when the concept of fast food came to the attention of the directors of J. Lyons and Co. Lyons licensed the brand for use in the United Kingdom and in 1954 the first “Wimpy Bar” Lyons was established at the Lyons Corner House in Coventry Street, London. Originally the bar was a special fast-food section within the more traditional Corner House restaurants, but the success soon led to the establishment of separate Wimpy restaurants serving only hamburger based meals. By the early 1970s the business had expanded to over a thousand restaurants in 23 countries.

In 1977, the business was acquired by United Biscuits. Wimpy was beginning to lose ground to McDonald’s, who had opened their first UK restaurant in 1974 and so the new management of Wimpy began to streamline the business by converting some of the traditional “table service” restaurants to the “counter service” operation style of McDonald’s. In 1989, the business was sold to Grand Metropolitan (now Diageo). Grand Metropolitan had acquired Burger King the previous year and they began to convert the “counter service” restaurants to Burger King restaurants. In 1990, the remaining 220 “table service” restaurants were purchased by a management buy-out backed by 3i. A second management buy-out occurred in 2002.

Although Wimpy has decreased in numbers in the United Kingdom, it is still found in some towns and cities, at RoadChef motorway services and at the Dundee Megabowl bowling alley [1]. The branches at the Roadchef and Megabowl locations typically have a counter service as opposed to a table service format.

On 27 February 2007, Famous Brands, who owns the Wimpy franchise in South Africa, announced that it had acquired Wimpy UK. Having acquired the brand Famous Brands has re-branded Wimpy in the UK to bring it in line with Wimpy South Africa. The ‘new’ logo is actually one used by Wimpy UK from the 1960s until the 1980s. [2]

Wimpy are currently re-branding and refreshing all its restaurants, which commenced on 22nd October 2007 with the launch of the new format at the Benfleet, Essex branch. Wimpy features new décor, seating and signage and a return to the original Wimpy colours of red and white. Supporting the new look is an improved menu and a significant marketing campaign [3].

International

South Africa branches

Wimpy opened in South Africa in Durban in 1967. The business was sold to Bakers SA Ltd in the late 1970s and later to the Steers Holdings Group. In 1976, Wimpy opened their first restaurant in Bogotá, Colombia. There are also branches trading as Wimpy in Germany where they preceded the U.S.based chains, Kuwait, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Kenya and Beirut, Lebanon, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Egypt and Morocco branches

Wimpy used to have many branches in Egypt and Morocco, it was the first international burger restaurant in Egypt and the second in Morocco, but it closed its business by 1998 in both countries.

New Zealand branches

Wimpy had branches in New Zealand including Hamilton but have now closed except for one Rotorua store.

Ireland branches

There are a few outlets in Ireland, most combined with petrol stations. It has an outlet in Urlingford, County Kilkenny, Ireland, which is the location of the rest stop for buses between Dublin and Cork; and one in Celbridge, County Kildare. Most are located in Petrogas (Applegreen) petrol stations, as they hold the master franchise. [1]

Kuwait

Wimpy opened in Al-duiya in Kuwait in the 1970's. well known for the cheeseburger.

Mr Wimpy

During the 1980s, advertising for the Wimpy chain featured a cartoon character called Mr Wimpy. He was almost entirely hidden under a large hat, and only a nose and a smile were visible. His physical appearance was a visual pun, as his costume was the red dress uniform of the Beefeaters at the Tower Of London, playing on the beef-oriented nature of the chain's menu. In certain branches, a member of staff would dress up in a Mr Wimpy costume for pre-arranged children's parties. Mr Wimpy also appeared in an official computer game by Ocean software, released in 1984 on the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other formats.

Although the Wimpy chain's name was originally inspired by the the Wimpy cartoon character in Popeye, the chain's own Mr Wimpy bore no resemblance to Popeye's Wimpy.

Notes

  1. "Information on Wimpy's Franchise",Caterer Search. Retrieved on 2008-01-29.

External links


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