Wendy’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) are two of the major and successful fast-food chains in the world, and their existence is largely down to the entrepreneurial ventures of Dave Thomas. He founded Wendy’s and he is credited for assisting the growth of KFC. There is plenty to learn about Dave Thomas and his daughter, Wendy Thomas, and in this article, we look at what happened to both of them, as well as a look at their respective backgrounds.
Short Background On Dave Thomas And His Daughter, Wendy Thomas
Dave Thomas was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey on the 2nd of July 1932 to an unknown mother who gave him up for adoption. He was adopted by Rex and Auleva Thomas who raised him together until he was five years old when his adoptive mother, Auleva, died.
Dave Thomas began working in a restaurant at the age of 12, working at Regas Restaurant, his first job. He then worked in Hobby House Restaurant where he worked until he became an adult.
He established the first Wendy’s location on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio. The restaurant was established off the back of the experiences he got from working on the expansion of KFC alongside Col. Harland Sanders. The company has since grown to become the third-largest chain restaurant in the US, serving an average of 50 million people per month.
As for Dave Thomas’ daughter, Wendy Thomas, her real name is Melinda Lou Thomas-Morse and she was born on the 14th of September 1961. She is the fourth child born to her father and his wife, Loraine Thomas.
Wendy Thomas was born in Columbus, Ohio and she is a graduate of the University of Florida where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Consumer Behaviorism.
Dave Thomas Served In The US Army
Before Dave Thomas became the face of one of America’s biggest restaurant chains, he was a sergeant in the US Army. After turning 18, Dave volunteered himself for the US Army to serve in the Korean War. Based on his experience in the food industry, he trained at the Cook’s and Baker’s School at Fort Benning, Georgia and he was deployed to West Germany where he serviced 2000 soldiers as a mess sergeant, rising to the rank of staff sergeant before he was discharged.
He Worked Briefly With Arthur Treacher’s
While Dave Thomas is mostly known for his role in the establishment and growth of KFC and Wendy’s, he was also involved with the restaurant chain, Arthur Treacher’s. The chain never grew to the heights of the two chains, but that might be because Dave Thomas only spent a year with the chain before he left to establish Wendy’s.
Dave Appeared In More Than 800 Commercials For Wendy’s
One of the advice Dave Thomas gave to Colonel Sanders that transformed KFC into an American success story was asking the Colonel to appear in commercials for the restaurant chain, and it is one Dave Thomas took himself. Although the initial reaction to his commercials was less than stellar due to his lack of acting ability, it later proved to be a successful move and he went on to appear in 800 commercials for the chain, becoming a notable American personality in the process. Dave Thomas’ daughter, Melinda, has stepped into her father’s shoes in this role.
He dropped out of high school
Wendy’s founder did not have a traditional childhood in several ways, and one of those ways was dropping out of high school to work full-time at Hobby House Restaurant. He did, however, earn his GED in 1993. As part of his regret for dropping out of high school, he established the Dave Thomas Education Center which is geared towards offering GED classes to young adults.
He Battled With Carcinoid Neuroendocrine Tumor Until His Death
For ten years before he passed away on the 8th of January, 2002 in Florida, Dave Thomas struggled with Carcinoid Neuroendocrine tumor, which after years of struggles and medical help, eventually metastasized to his liver and caused his death. Dave Thomas was survived by his wife, Lorraine, and four children – Pam, Lori, Molly, and his daughter, the famous Melinda, who inspired the name Wendy’s.
His Daughter Couldn’t Pronounce Ls and Rs As A Child
Dave Thomas’ daughter, Melinda, struggled to pronounce the letters L and R as a child, and as a result, she got the nickname Wendy, which later inspired her father to name his restaurant chain after her.
She Is The Face Of The Company, Literally
Wendy might not occupy a management role in the corporate structure of Wendy’s but she is the face of the company, both as the logo and as the spokesperson. The picture for the logo was taken when she was eight years old.
Aside from being the literal face of the company, she is also its spokesperson and has followed in her father’s footsteps to appear in several commercials for the chain.
She Has Over 30 Restaurant Stores
Dave Thomas’ daughter, Melinda, or Wendy Thomas as she is more commonly known, owns or co-owns more than 30 Wendy Stores across the United States, with locations in Upper Arlington, Ohio where she resides and in Las Vegas.