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  • Originally called Wimpy Grills, the Wimpy brand was created in the 1934 by Eddie Gold. The name was inspired by the character of J. Wellington Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons created by E. C. Segar. According to a 1978 Chicago Tribune article, Gold’s company Wimpy Grills Inc. of Chicago had a maximum of 25 locations in the United States at its height but only seven locations remained at the time of his death in 1977.

    In 1954, Gold sold a license to J. Lyons and Co to use the Wimpy name in the United Kingdom. Later in 1957, Wimpy Grills Inc. of Chicago formed a joint company with J. Lyons and Co called Wimpy’s International to operate Wimpy Grills in the rest of the world. The joint company eventually grew to 1,500 locations and Gold later sold his share to Lyons prior to his death.

    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.[5] 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 1970 the business had expanded to over a thousand restaurants in 23 countries.[5]

    In 1977, the business was acquired by United Biscuits. According to the Chicago Tribune, when Gold died in 1978, the chain vanished within the United States because no one had purchased the rights and trademark to the Wimpy name from Gold’s estate.[1] 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 outlets have decreased in numbers in the UK, they are still found in many cities, and at seafront/seasonal locations, such as Clacton-on-Sea, Clarence Pier in Southsea, Porthcawl Beach, Brean Leisure Park in Somerset and in two locations in Ryde on the Isle of Wight.

    Wimpy is the only major fast food chain that offers Quorn burgers on the menu.

    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 has been re-branding and refreshing all its restaurants; the operation commenced on 22 October 2007, with the launch of the new format at the Benfleet, Essex, branch. The opening day of the relaunch featured Geoffrey Hayes of the Rainbow television series, dressed as Mr Wimpy. 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

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    Price Range: NA
    Cuisine: Fast Food
    Style: Fast Food Restaurant
    Ambience: Relaxed
    WiFi: Yes/1
    Smoking: -
    Accept Credit Cards: Yes/1
    Kids Friendly: Yes/1
    Delivery: -
    Drive-Through: Yes/1
    100% Local: -
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