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Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas

David Rex "Dave" Thomas was an American businessman and philanthropist. Thomas was the founder and chief executive officer of Wendy's, a fast-food restaurant chain specializing in hamburgers.

 

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Tommy Sims

Tommy Sims

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"Although Dave was widely popular, he was never very comfortable as a celebrity. He kept reminding us he was simply a hamburger cook," Schuessler said. "He was a humble man who was very comfortable in an apron behind a grill or in a business suit in a board room."

Article: Wendy's founder Dave Thom...
Source: CBC News

Since 1989, the folksy Thomas featured prominently in the burger chain's television advertising campaigns. He would eventually star in more than 800 commericals.

Article: Wendy's founder Dave Thom...
Source: CBC News
Tommy Sims

Tommy Sims

21 Knowledge Cards 

Dave Thomas is a fastfood icon and his face is well-known by many. Choosing to appear in over 800 commercials showed the consumer that they are not buying from some unseen entity, but from a friendly business man. 

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Thomas's adoptive mother died when he was only 5 years old, and as a result, he spent much of his childhood moving from state to state with his father. During those years, he enjoyed his summers in Michigan with his adoptive grandmother, Minnie Sinclair, whom he credits on the Wendy’s website as one of the major stabilizing forces in his life.

Article: 15 Celebs Who Were Adopte...
Source: Child Adoption at WomansD...

Until his death in January 2002, Thomas made folksy humorous commercials stressing the difference between Wendy's and its leading competitors. The campaign worked. By 2002 Wendy's had five hundred franchise stores for a total of more than six thousand restaurants worldwide.

Article: Thomas, David R. ("Dave")
Source: Scribner Encyclopedia of ...

To make his restaurants even more inviting, Thomas created a relaxed, homey atmosphere with carpeting, Tiffany-style lamps over the tables, and Bentwood chairs. As a final touch, Thomas used the face of a little freckled, red-haired girl in ponytails as the logo for his new business. This image was the likeness of his eight-year-old daughter, Melinda Lou, nicknamed Wendy.

Article: Thomas, David R. ("Dave")
Source: Scribner Encyclopedia of ...

David Thomas (“Dave”),   (born July 2, 1932, Atlantic City, N.J.—died Jan. 8, 2002, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), American businessman who , was the founder (1969) of the Wendy’s fast-food restaurants and built the company into the world’s third largest hamburger chain, with more than 6,000 locations; to the general public, however, he was the folksy, avuncular Wendy’s pitchman in more than 800 TV commercials. An adoptee himself, Thomas sought to help find homes and families for children without them and created the nonprofit Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Article: David Thomas
Source: Britannica Online Encyclo...

Thomas began to visit franchises and espouse his hardworking, so-called "mop-bucket attitude." In 1989, he took on an even more important role, as the television spokesman for the company in a series of fantastically successful commercials.

Article: Dave Thomas biography
Source: Dave Thomas Biography
Tommy Sims

Tommy Sims

21 Knowledge Cards 

Dave was a hardworker and didn't want to be a behind the scenes boss. His work ethic made him a great leader and a successful spokesperson for Wendy's.

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After complaining that he couldn't find a good hamburger in Columbus, Ohio, Dave Thomas opened his own restaurant on November 15, 1969: Wendy's, named for his eight-year-old daughter. Wendy's quickly caught on and within less than a decade grew into a franchise of 1,000 stores.

Article: Dave Thomas biography
Source: Dave Thomas Biography

To help with his family's finances, Thomas began working at the age of 12 as a counter boy at Walgreen's Drug Store in Knoxville, Tennessee. He spent his offhours eating in cheap restaurants with his father, an activity that would influence his career choice.

Article: Thomas, Dave
Source: Business Leader Profiles ...

Serving in the Army during the Korean War, Thomas attended the army's Cook and Baker's School and became the youngest soldier ever to manage an enlisted-men's club. In Germany Thomas was a cook and staff sergeant feeding up to 2,000 people a day.

Article: Thomas, Dave
Source: Business Leader Profiles ...
Tommy Sims

Tommy Sims

21 Knowledge Cards 

Dave's love for cooking for others fostered during his time in the army. He used his culinary skills to at war because he knew he would be able to help his country while continuing to do what he loved.

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