Dave Thomas Founder of Wendy’s

Published on January 2, 2002

Dave Thomas (1939-2002) Founder of Wendy’s

Dave Thomas’s life story proves that anybody can achieve Titan status if they are willing to do whatever is necessary to succeed.

First of all, Dave’s background did not put him on a path to guaranteed success. He was adopted as a baby and lost his adoptive mother at age 5 and two stepmothers before age 10. His was very close with his grandmother, who repeatedly instilled in him the value of not “cutting corners.” Hence, the creation of the square Wendy’s Hamburger.

His successful business track record can be traced to the following attributes:

1. Pro-Activeness— After meeting Col. Harland Sanders in a barbecue restaurant he was working in, he was inspired to buy his own franchise. Six years later, he returned to Columbus and rescued 4 failing KFC restaurants, only to resell them back to the founder in 1968 for $1.5 Million. He was a millionaire at age 35!

2. Salesmanship- After opening Wendy’s, Dave Thomas decided in 1989 to sell the brand himself by starring in his own commercials. The commercials were hugely successful and he has become one of the most recognizable corporate spokesman of all time. He never relinquished the responsibility of sales.

3. Community Service- Dave didn’t just take. He gave and gave and gave back to his community. He is best known for the work he did as a leading champion for the adoption of foster children.

4. Perseverance- If there is one thing Dave regrets, it was not finishing high school, even though he did pass the GED exam in 1993.

Dave Thomas, our Titan Profile of The Month, is a classic example when it comes to the old saying: “It is not what life throws at you that counts; it is what you do with it.” Dave Thomas lived life as a true Titan. His influence will continue to serve us all through his lasting legacy. We will miss you, Dave Thomas.

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