The History Of Wendy's Restaurant

Wendy's Restaurant is a popular eatery. Find out who and how it started.

Wendy's Restaurant was the dream of a man named Dave Thomas. Thomas was born in 1932 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He was adopted by a couple by the name of Rex and Auleva Thomas. Unfortunately, his adoptive mother Auleva died when he was just five years old. He spent the remainder of his young childhood moving around as his adoptive father looked for employment.

Though life was not looking kindly on the young Dave Thomas, he did have joys in his life. One of Dave's biggest joys was eating at family restaurants. He loved to see the families interacting with one another and having a good time. This would influence Dave heavily, as he was young when he made up his mind that he wanted to open his own restaurant.

The young man began working when he was just twelve years old, not even a teenager yet. Dave's first job was delivering groceries. After he was fired from that job, he became a soda jerk at Walgreens. But, he was fired again when his boss found out he was not sixteen years old. Undaunted, Dave Thomas got yet another job at The Regas Restaurant.



When Dave was fifteen years old, his family had moved again, and he found himself working at the Hobby House Restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His family moved again, but Dave stayed behind in Fort Wayne where he lived by himself in a room at the local YMCA. He quit high school so that he could work fulltime and continue to pursue his dream.

When Dave Thomas turned eighteen years old, he joined the Army. After the service, he went back to the Hobby House Restaurant. It was there that he net the woman he would marry, a waitress named Lorraine. He and Lorraine were married in 1954.

Two years later, Dave and his boss at that time, a man by the name of Phil Clauss, opened The Ranch House Restaurant. It was there that Dave met the enterprising Colonel Harland Sanders. Sanders was the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Clauss purchased a franchise from the Colonel, and, Dave Thomas was now selling chicken. Finally, in 1962, Clauss offered Dave the deal of a lifetime. Clauss told Dave that if he could bring four Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants out of their financial woes, then he would give Dave a whopping forty-five per cent of the business. Since he loved challenges, Dave went right to work on reaching his goal.

One of the first things Dave Thomas did was to reduce the menu down to a few choices. The main focus now became chicken. He used advertising techniques, too. Finally, the four restaurants picked-up business and they went on to become money makers. Dave started four more restaurants, also.

In 1968, Dave Thomas was thirty-five years old. He was also a millionaire. Clauss had sold the restaurants back to the corporate Kentucky Fried Chicken and made over a million dollars from the sale.

The following year, after years of hard work and perserverence, Dave's life-long dream came true when he opened his very first Wendy's Old-Fashioned Hamburger Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. The name was was his youngest daughter's nickname. Her real name was Melinda Lou, but her older siblings nicknamed her "Wendy".

Today, Wendy's has grown into more than five thousand restaurants in the United States and thirty-four countries. And the name "Dave Thomas" can be equated with the terms "success."

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