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Dave Thomas, Founder of Wendy's RestaurantDave 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.

Wendy's Corporate Logo

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 history."

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"

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