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Fast-Food Restaurant Logos and Their Hidden Meanings

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes articles that are interesting to her readers.

Logo: Definition

Logo is short for the word logotype. A logo is a graphic design, emblem, or symbol used to display an identification. Whenever people see a logo, they are reminded of what it represents.

Everything about the logo is important to promote what it represents. The color or colors, the shape, and the size are embedded within the mind of those who see it. Some logos have words as well as images. Graphic designers are trained to come up with the perfect logo to get instant recognition.

Fast-food restaurants know that red and yellow are particularly attention-getting colors. That’s because those colors are known to subconsciously trigger hunger and cause excitement. They invite customers to spend more and leave.

Some logos have hidden meanings that the public is not even aware of. For instance, when you see the golden arches, you automatically think of McDonald's, and you might end up there without having attended to do so.

Current Logos

The logos in this article are the current ones you see today even though some of them have been revised and upgraded over the years. Each one has an explanation with the hidden meaning revealed.

As you review the logo, notice their colors, shapes, and sizes. Pay attention to any images and the wording. All of those things are important to get customers into the restaurants.



When you look at the Chick-fil-A logo you probably have no doubt what the Georgia-based fast-food restaurant chain sells. The name is a wordplay based on the word fillet. The chain rates itself with a grade of an "A." The company has made changes over the years, but people who see the logo know which establishment it represents based on its shape, colors, and other identifying descriptions including the chicken head.

Tell the truth now. You didn't know what the "A" at the end meant, did you?



When the Mexican restaurant was named, people tried to talk the owner out of the naming it Chipotle. They said the name was hard to pronounce and no one knows the meaning of the word. For your information, it is a Spanish word that means "chili pepper." That's why there is a pepper included in the logo.

The logo is very simple with just three things:

  1. Chipotle: name of restaurant
  2. Mexican Grill: type of establishment
  3. Pepper: Image that represents the type of hot spicy food

Have you noticed the pepper, and did you know what it means?


Domino's Pizza

Most people played Dominoes when they were kids. What they might not know is how the domino pieces relate to pizza.

The one dot represents the original Domino's Pizza place. The original intent was to keep adding dots every time a new franchise opened. That idea was canned after the first two franchises opened. The owner realized that the highest number on dominoes is six. Today, there are over 10,000 Domino's Pizza stores nationwide.

You might not have noticed, but the bottom image is also a domino piece. However, it is turned over without any dots shown. Instead, the named is shown.

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Some major changes were made to Hardee's logo in 1999 after it was bought out by Carl’s Jr. It was at that time that Hardee's adopted its new parent company’s smiling star logo. The overall color scheme converted to bright red and yellow. It had been red and black in the past.

The new version was also given the tagline “Charbroiled Thickburgers” which takes the guesswork out of what Hardee's offers.



It is not hard to figure out what the KFC logo means. The fast food restaurant specializes in fried chicken in over 20,000 restaurants all around the world. The man pictured is Colonel Harland Sanders who was not a military official. He was commissioned the title by the governor of Kentucky because of his outstanding service in his community.

The KFC was changed from Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1991 to appeal to health-conscious customers who did not like seeing the word "fried" in the name even though that's exactly what they eat when they go to the "finger licking" restaurant.


Long John Silver's

Long John Silver’s unveiled a new logo two years ago for its more than 1,000 restaurant locations around the world. The updated logo lets customers know exactly what the chain sells. Up until then, most people thought the establishment sold only fish. As you can see from the new logo, Long John Silver's specializes in not only fish but chicken as well.

The previous logo that had been around for 47 years had only a small fish. The new logo has a larger fish with the tagline that chicken is also being sold at the restaurant.



McDonald's logo is probably the simplest one and the one that is easily recognized, especially by children. The two connecting arches look like an "M" and some think it is the initial for McDonald’s.

McDonald's soon discovered that the golden arches were easily seen from the freeway by motorists who stopped in for something to eat.

The red, yellow and white is the ideal combination. Red triggers stimulation, appetite, hunger, and it attracts attention. Yellow triggers the feelings of happiness and friendliness. The colors also promote speed for fast service, fast eating and back on the road again.


Pizza Hut

Did you know that Pizza Hut's logo is actually a hut? The red part is the roof. The name of the establishment comes between the roof and the floor. The logo has been changed five times over the years, but it has always kept the hut with its red roof.



Popeyes' logo has a combination of colors that are appealing and eye-catching. The wording lets the public know exactly what the fast-food restaurant serves. One thing that people should know is that there is no apostrophe like Hardee's, McDonald's and Wendy's.

The owner joked that he couldn't afford an apostrophe.



Starbucks is one of the world’s top coffee makers and retailers. The logo of the Seattle, Washington based company has been changed over the years. The original one had a symbol that was partially naked with breasts showing.

Since Seattle is a city known for its seaport origins, the company chose a symbol of the sea.



Subway has a simple logo, but it is a popular and recognizable one. However, most people do not see the two arrows in the word.

The first letter and the last letter have arrows. The arrows symbolize the entrance and exit out of the restaurant. Have you noticed them before?


Taco Bell

The bell in Taco Bell's logo is not by accident. Many people think the image has a hidden meaning, but it is an appropriate symbol for the founder's name, Glen Bell who launched his first Taco Bell on March 21, 1962.

Taco Bell serves more than 2 billion customers annually. The popular Mexican foods include tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and nachos in its 7,000 locations worldwide.



There shouldn't be a hidden message in Wendy's logo, but there is. Most people see a freckled face girl with red hair and probably think nothing of it. The red-headed, pigtailed mascot is based on founder Dave Thomas’s daughter, Melinda-Lou “Wendy” Thomas.

Wendy is the fourth of Thomas' five children. Her nickname was chosen because the name of his other three daughters, Pam, Lori and Molly, and a son, Kenny were not as appealing.

It might not have been intentional, but customers have pointed out the word "mom" in the girl's collar.



Whataburger has been known for many years for its distinct A-framed orange-and-white-stripe-roofed buildings. The first A-frame restaurant was built in Odessa, Texas, and is now a historical landmark.

Whataburger's logo is a combination of W's on top of one another to represent the first initial of the restaurant and the shape of its building.


Famous Companies Hidden Meanings


Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on June 28, 2018:

Dora, I enjoyed compiling the information about restaurant logos. I learned some interesting things. I had no idea why the restaurant is called Chick-fil-A and what the "A" on the end means.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 28, 2018:

Good information for some fun trivia on restaurant loges! Thank you.

Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on June 28, 2018:

Lawrence, I never noticed "Mom" written on Wendy's collar until it was pointed out to me. You are very perceptive!

Lawrence Lease from Alaska on June 27, 2018:

The Wendy's "Mom" always sticks out to me.

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