Ward's Restaurants have been a Mississippi tradition for over a quarter century. Ward's founders Edgar and Richard Ward opened their first Ward's restaurant in 1978 and began franchising in 1981. In the beginning their regular customers would ask them to "put a little chili" on the hamburgers and hot dogs. The chili cheeseburger (the Big One and Lil' One) and the Chili Dog resulted. These items, along with homemade root beer served in a frosted mug, became the signature items of the Ward's system. The menu has since expanded to include a full breakfast and biscuit line, an extended sandwich and combo meal line, salads, and desserts.