The Wendy’s Superbar was a thing of beauty! Debuting in 1988, it offered all the food you could eat for an absurdly low price of $2.99 per person. This would be a good deal for just a salad bar, but Wendy’s Superbar was so much more: pasta, Mexican tacos and nachos, even pudding for dessert! If you were a starving college student or underpaid radio DJ (as I was), Wendy’s Superbar buffet was your go-to place for lunch and/or dinner. It truly was a fast food highlight of the late 1980s and 1990s.
So, why did the Superbar disappear? Most people think it was due to inflation, but that was not much of an issue in the 90s. Basically, the Superbar was high maintenance and it cost Wendy’s a decent amount in labor to keep it up and running. People would make a mess, especially during peak times. Perishable items were left out in the open where they could and did spoil. And of course, you had the cheaters who ruin everything. Families and groups would come in, one would order the Superbar, and the others would just have drinks or maybe the cheapest burger. Then, the Superbar guy would “share” his meal with everyone else. I first noticed it disappearing from some locations in the mid-1990s. By 1998, all Wendy’s restaurants had discontinued their famous $2.99 all you can eat buffet.
Can we bring back the Superbar? Please? At today’s prices, it would probably cost around $7.99, an amount that I would gladly pay. Still, given the high costs of operation and many people’s aversion to buffets post-COVID, that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. It sure was great while it lasted, though!