Dave Thomas - The founder of Wendy's, the
successful chain of fast-food restaurants begun in 1969. Dave named the stores
after his 8-year-old daughter Wendy, so the restaurant would sound like a family
business. Thomas funded his franchise operation with the money earned from
selling four KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) restaurants in 1968. He learned the
fast-food business from one of the best, Harland "Colonel" Sanders, the founder
of KFC. In 1997, Dave Thomas presided over the grand opening of the 5,000th
Wendy's restaurant in Pickerington, Ohio, near Columbus.
Dave Thomas was born on July 2, 1932 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was given up for adoption and
raised by a couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Over the years, Thomas has raised
millions of dollars for adoption causes and has pushed for legislation to make
adoption easier and more affordable.
Dave's cute, pudgy persona doubled as the company's commercial mascot in all the restaurant's advertising spots beginning
in early 1989 and continued for over 13 years in 800+ commercials. The image of
Wendy on the company logo is based on Thomas's daughter, Wendy.
As for his involvement in the TV ads, Thomas said in a 1991 interview "As long as it works,
I'll continue to do the commercials, When it's not working any longer, then I'm
Dave Thomas, the creator of the No. 3 hamburger chain in America, died at his
home in Florida on Tuesday January 8, 2002 after a long battle with liver
cancer. He was 69. Thomas had been undergoing dialysis for a kidney problem
since early 2001, and had quadruple heart bypass surgery in December 1996.
Wendy's restaurant is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio.
See also - "Clara Peller"