“Sir this is a Wendy’s”: Meaning & origin + 3 examples of how to use the expression

The phrase “sir this is a Wendy’s” is a popular meme among online internet circles. It’s used as both a punchline to jokes and as a way to call out other people for being inappropriate for the current venue, both seriously and in jest. If you’re wondering exactly what it means or feeling left out, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

What does “sir this is a Wendy’s” Mean?

“sir this is a Wendy’s” means ‘wow that’s really inappropriate.’ It’s a reference to a popular twitter joke in which the speaker begins a formal, intimate, or otherwise inappropriate conversation and is interrupted by a fast-food worker, implying that the speaker has been attempting to do something totally ridiculous in a Wendy’s restaurant.

While it’s commonly used as a punchline to social media jokes, “sir this is a Wendy’s” is also used in conversations, especially on internet platforms. If a person begins to change the tone of a conversation (perhaps by alluding to sexual ideas, bringing up serious topics in a non-serious conversation, or otherwise acting in a way that’s not consistent with the venue or previous tone) then another person might call out the shift by saying “sir this is a Wendy’s.” Depending on the context, this might be an attempt to lighten a serious reminder to keep the conversation within normal boundaries. Often, however, it’s simply a joke meant to lampshade the shift in tone or topic.

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What is the origin of “sir this is a Wendy’s”

There’s some debate over the exact origin of “sir this is a Wendy’s.” Many sources claim that it’s a spin-off of the nearly identical “sir this is an Arby’s” meme, which differs only by the fictitious fast food restaurant at the end of the phrase. A 2011 twitter post by user @ethanhunter is often cited as the first known instance of the Arby’s flavor of the meme. There’s some argument about this origin, however, as episode 14 of season 4 of The Office (US) features a joke where the character Michael calls a Wendy’s in search of a date. The setup is nearly identical to the twitter joke — a confused individual attempts to initiate an intimate conversation in a fast-food restaurant, with the only differences being that the conversation takes place over the phone and the punchline is “dude, this is a Wendy’s” and not “sir.” This episode aired in April of 2008, meaning it comfortably preceded the twitter post by more than two years.

Regardless of the exact origin, the “sir this is an Arby’s” meme began to take off between 2013 and 2018. The Wendy’s version of the phrase became notably popular around 2015 and has grown more prevalent since 2018. It’s most commonly used on social media sites such as twitter and Reddit.

Why has “sir this is a Wendy’s” become so popular?

“sir this is a Wendy’s” has two core uses: first, as a funny joke, and second as social and political commentary. Even purely comedic uses of the meme format where the speaker is apologizing profusely for inappropriate actions, trying to buy a house, or trying to get married can be said to critique the way our society separates important, meaningful interactions and the places we commonly spend time. The joke pokes fun at the social status of the speaker — the speaker is often attempting to do something noble or significant, but they choose to (or are forced to) perform this action in a fast-food restaurant. This enhances the humor and makes it very sharable and relatable to almost everyone.

In addition to any implied commentary from purely comedic uses of the meme, many social media users subtweet things that public figures (including judges, CEOs, and politicians) and respond with “sir this is a Wendy’s.” On the surface, this raises the comical idea of important figures attempting to make speeches or give press conferences in a fast-food restaurant, but it also raises the not-so-subtle implication that the things they’re saying are partially or wholly inappropriate. These tweets are shared by both people who find them funny and people who think the subtweeted quote is ridiculous, giving them more viral reach.

Examples of How To Use “sir this is a Wendy’s”

Alluding to an accidental sexual implication:

“Hey, it’s pretty windy outside. Be careful. You might get blown.” – A

“Sir this is a Wendy’s” – B

 

The original meme format on twitter:

“… and thus, we shall seize the means of production and overthrow the rich.”

“sir this is a Wendy’s”

 

Calling out purposeful inappropriate conversation:

“Hey, have you guys all registered to vote? I’m working for the campaign of candidate X, and…” – A, in voice chat for a multiplayer game

“sir this is a Wendy’s” – B, another participant of the voice chat