How popular restaurant chains got their names


When a certain sandwich shop first opened, it was called Pete's Super Submarines

(WYTV) – How did your favorite chain restaurant get its name?

Samuel Truett Cathy created the simplest of sandwiches — chicken and two pickles on a bun — in 1967. That started Chick-fil-A — “chick” for chicken and “fil-a” as in a great cut of meat, fillet, just spelled differently.

Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. Wendy was the nickname of one of his children, Melinda, but he experimented with all five of his kids’ names before settling on Wendy.

In 1954, brothers Dick and Mac McDonald had a small but successful burger joint in San Bernardino, California. Then Ray Kroc bought the restaurant and kept the name because it was a nice-sounding all-American name — better than his own.

In 1960, brothers Jim and Tom Monaghan bought a Ypsilanti, Michigan pizza shop called DomiNick’s. The original owner said the brothers could not keep the name so a delivery driver named Jim Kennedy came up with Domino’s Pizza.

Steve Ells came up with the name Chipotle. Others close to him said it was obscure or too hard to pronounce, but he stuck with it. Chipotle is the Mexican name for a smoked, dried jalapeño chili pepper.

In 1965, Frank DeLuca and his friend, Peter Buck, opened Pete’s Super Submarines in Bridgeport, Connecticut. They changed the name to Pete’s Subway a few years later to reflect their goal of spreading like a subway train across the country — 32 locations in 10 years. Then it became simply Subway, the biggest fast food chain in the country.

When Starbucks co-founder Gordon Bowker was brainstorming name ideas with some friends, they found an old map that included a town called Starbo. That reminded Bowker of a character in the novel Moby Dick — Starbuck. So it became Starbucks, but they also considered calling their coffee houses Pequod — the name of the ship in Moby Dick.

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