Can You Have a Beard at Wendy’s? (Facial Hair Policies in 2022)

“Where’s the beef?” may be the iconic phrase coined by Wendy’s in the 1980s, but employees demand to know “Where’s the beard?” Does facial hair have a place behind the Wendy’s counter? Until recently the answer was an emphatic “No!” Now, the fast food giant is more liberal and casual in its appearance code.

Before 2018, Wendy’s employees were not permitted to wear beards. However, the company’s beard policy has come more in line with its competitors and they are now allowed. Currently, employees may have beards as long as they are clean, well-groomed, and professional.

Curious about Wendy’s beard status? Read on!

Are Wendy’s employees allowed to have facial hair, beards, or mustaches?

There’s no denying that facial hair has gained in popularity over the past decade. As a result, many food establishments have softened their once rigid “no beard” stance. Wendy’s is no exception.

Wendy’s employees are now allowed to have facial hair including beards and mustaches as long as they are kept clean and well-maintained. 

Wendy’s has a history of hiring only a clean-shaven crew. As recently as 4 years ago, employee discussion boards were divided on the subject of Wendy’s beard acceptance. Some restaurants gave them the okay, while others still required frequent razor use.

One frustrated 2017 job seeker even started a petition urging Wendy’s to change their policy. While this specific attempt didn’t garner much support online, about a year later the facial hair landscape began to change.

Do you have to shave your beard to work at Wendy’s?

In the past, you simply weren’t hired if you had a beard or refused to shave it off. Showing up at work with even a 5 o’clock shadow often meant a reprimand.

You do not have to shave your beard to work at Wendy’s today. Beard length is up to the discretion of management and may require a beard net.

Fun Fact: At the same time the “Where’s the beef?” commercial with 80-year-old Clara Peller and two other ladies aired, they aired an alternate ad with the same tagline. The second ad featured a trio of older men, including a bald guy. It was a bust, so the infamous ladies took the prime spot.

Can you have a beard when working with food?

You would never knowingly order a Baconator with a side of wiry hair. More hair, more contamination chances, right? Most health regulators don’t see it that way. As long as it’s restrained or covered, hair is given the go.

You can have a beard when working with food. Food safety authorities recommend a beard stay covered during food preparation.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) publishes a set of food safety standards called the Food Code. Restaurants use the guidelines to write their own policies. 

Uncovered beards in food prep areas are considered minor violations, but a history of repeat offenses could result in more than a slap on the wrist.

Do you have to wear a beard net at Wendy’s?

Beard covers. Beard nets. Beard snoods. Whatever you call them, they serve one purpose – to keep stray beard hairs out of the food.

You may have to wear a beard net at Wendy’s if you cook or prepare food. While food safety guidelines recommend one, they may not be required in some restaurants.

Some employees report beard nets and hair nets or caps are required at their locations, while others say the beard net isn’t enforced. Other workers say a beard has to be long before a net is expected to be worn, but it seems this length is somewhat arbitrary.

Official Wendy’s facial hair policy in 2022

Around 2018, Wendy’s stance on facial hair seemed to change without a lot of fanfare. While uniform styles were becoming more relaxed (black jeans were allowed now – gasp!), facial hair was becoming commonplace.

Wendy’s 2022 facial hair policy does allow for beards. Hair must remain clean, neat, and professional. Beards should not interfere with any safety equipment like goggles or masks. 

The change seemed to happen in 2018 by means of a vague tweet on national compliment day. “Your facial hair is actually great. Grow it back and be proud of who you are.”  This seemed to play into their new recruiting message “We love people. All kinds of people…At Wendy’s, you can bring your whole self to work.”

Currently, on their “careers” page, you can see an employee with dark facial hair actually calling attention to his impressive beard by stroking it. Progress!

Can you be fired for growing a beard at Wendy’s?

In the past, you had to make the difficult choice – whiskers or Wendy’s?

Since Wendy’s grooming policy now allows for beards, you cannot be fired for growing one. However, if your beard appears dirty or unkempt, you could be reprimanded or eventually fired if the situation isn’t resolved.

Before 2018, it was possible to be fired for not shaving off your beard. A Twitter commenter on the above-mentioned facial hair tweet responded with “And yet y’all let me go cause I have a beard lol.” Apparently, the changes were too late for him. 

Other would-be hires were turned away after being told a clean-shaven face was necessary for employment.

Does facial hair policy vary at different Wendy’s locations?

There are over 6,500 Wendy’s locations in the U.S. Is it possible for all of them to be on the same bearded page? 

Facial hair policy can vary at different Wendy’s locations due to interpretation of guidelines. While short beards should be accepted, the length could be dictated by franchise owners or managers.

While the vast majority of commenters on employment forums say their location is beard friendly, there are a few outliers that still say a beard is discouraged. 

Are there exemptions for beards and mustaches at Wendy’s?

What if your religious beliefs require a beard? Or what if you have a skin condition that makes shaving a literal pain? Do you have any recourse? Wendy’s does listen to such cases and tries to offer solutions.

Exemptions for beards and mustaches may be granted at Wendy’s for religious, cultural, or medical reasons. To be in compliance with anti-discrimination and disability laws exemptions can be granted as long as they do not cause an “undue hardship” to operations.

The answer to both of these situations could simply be a beard net while working.

Religious or cultural beliefs

Religious discrimination is a big no-no for employers. This includes making allowances for facial hair when it is required by one’s religious faith or culture. Employers must offer accommodations where possible to do so.

Wendy’s will consider facial hair exemptions for religious or cultural reasons on a case-by-case basis. If allowances are made, beard covers may be required to prevent food contamination.

Providing the opportunity to wear hair coverings in these instances can avoid costly, newsworthy attention and ensure “reasonable accommodation” compliance.

Medical reasons

Pseudofolliculitis barbae is a skin condition marked by painful bumps on the face. These bumps are irritated by shaving and can even become inflamed and infected. Everyday shaving just isn’t an option in severe cases. 

Wendy’s will consider facial hair exemptions for medical reasons with proper medical documentation. Beard cover rules will remain in effect and facial hair will still need to be kept to professional, food service standards.

The change in beard policy will reduce the need for special exemptions and protect even the most sensitive of skin.

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