Wendy’s is among the top three fast-food chains in the United States. The company has built a reputation on its fresh and never-frozen squared burger patties and frosty ice cream.
Wendy’s started as a simple dream of Dave Thomas. Born in New Jersey, Dave grew up as an adopted son of humble beginnings. He was an industrious boy with good values and respect for others. At the age of twelve, Dave had already gotten his first job at a restaurant. He would later be let go after a dispute with his manager. He found another job at the Hobby House in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dave dropped out of high school at age 15 to work full-time and support himself.
Dave’s boss, Paul Clauss, acquired four failing KFC stores and challenged Dave to transform them into stable and profitable ventures. Dave’s immediate action was to overhaul the then KFC complicated menu into simple meals and focus on the chicken. He introduced the chicken buckets to keep the chicken hot and suggested that Sanders appear in the KFC commercials. With these improvements, business was booming and Dave had successfully revived the four KFC stores.
Paul Clauss granted him a 45% share in the four KFC stores with the simple menu strategy being implemented in all other KFC stores. Dave sold all his KFC shares back to Sanders for $1.5 million. He started his own fast-food restaurant in 1969 and named it after his daughter Wendy. With simplicity and innovation as the cornerstone, he devised the first-ever drive-through window, a concept that almost all other fast foods would later copy.
Dave ceased overseeing Wendy’s daily operation in 1982 but started to appear in all their commercials, making him the company’s face until he passed on in 2002.