The 1970s Wimpy menu was unearthed as the UK’s quintessential burger restaurant

Before McDonald’s and Burger King reigned supreme, Wimpy has dominated the UK fast food scene.

Wimpy was the pioneer of common burgers, giving diners across the country – including many residents of Surrey, where the brand is still present – their first taste of American cuisine.

Its popularity began to wane with the arrival of the big name chains two decades later, but for many people the memories remain.

Read more: Inside the toy section of William Harvey’s store in Guildford in 1972

Hailing from Bloomington, USA in 1932, it took 22 more years for the Wimpy logo to cross the Atlantic with the very first British burger-based meal served at its flagship location at Lyons Corner House in London in the 1950s.

In 1970, the Wimpy brand was a global powerhouse with more than 1,000 points of sale in 23 countries around the world.

Having said that, it was in the UK that it really left its mark on consumers.

A recently unearthed menu from the 1970s, when the chain was at the height of its popularity, recalls what the place had to offer, Live Chronicles.

1972 Wimpy Restaurant Menu Shows Drastic Price Change From Today

The Wimpy Grill, Shanty Brunch, and Delta Grill were all available for 36p, while a Wimpy Special Grill would have cost you 42p.

At the top of the range was the delicious Wimpy International plate which included a steak and all the trimmings and cost only 54p.

If you were just looking for one of the classic burgers, choices ranged from Wimpy Burger, priced at 16p, Wimpy Cheeseburger at 21p, and Wimpy Kingsize, priced at 31p.

One menu item people would particularly remember was the Wimpy Bender – a wonderfully spicy sausage wrapped around half a tomato – which could be purchased for 16 1/2 p (that’s right, we go back to the days). half-sentences).

Advertisement showing the famous Wimpy Bender with French fries.
Advertisement showing the famous Wimpy Bender with French fries

It may be somewhat surprising to find that a Wimpy Salad costs almost double the amount of Wimpy Cheeseburger and Eggburger.

There were also some great options for those of us with a sweet tooth; a Brown Derby (a donut with ice cream and fudge flakes) was priced at 17p and the Knickerbocker Glory could have been yours for 25p.

Meanwhile, a Whippsy – the brand’s own milkshake that was famously thick – cost 17p.

Add 8p for a bottle of coke, and you could easily be fully fed for less than half a pound.

Of course, while those prices seem ridiculously low, it should be taken into account that at the start of the decade the average weekly wage was around £ 32 while a loaf of bread cost only 9p.

Customers enjoying a hamburger at Wimpy Restaurant in London's West End in 1980
Customers enjoying a hamburger at lunchtime at Wimpy’s in 1980

Wimpy was also the perfect place to throw a birthday party – it had almost 400 branches across the UK before the future giants McDonald’s and Burger King emerged in the mid-1970s, which created Wimpy no competition. just couldn’t. to be in competition with.

Mostly, McDonald’s sold its food over the counter. Wimpy, who employed the traditional table service, was forced to change tactics before finally conceding defeat to the new neighborhood kids.

While across the country many outlets were forced to close (many of which became Burger Kings due to being under the same management at the time), 64 outlets remain in England, including two in Surrey.

These can be found at Addlestone and Dorking.

Wimpy Restaurant at Station Road, Addlestone
Wimpy Restaurant at Station Road, Addlestone

Nostalgia plays a big role in the relevance of the Wimpy brand; in fact, a recent investment program saw many franchised restaurants switch to the company’s new “shift” design, which builds on the brand’s strong heritage and nostalgic traditions, while also offering new colors, bright furnishings and uniforms.

That doesn’t mean they’re stuck in the past though – more than half of its restaurants now offer home delivery services through apps like Just Eat.

Do you have any memories of Wimpy restaurants? Let us know in the comments.

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