Dave Thomas

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Dave Thomas was born in New Jersey on July 2nd, nineteen thirty two.  His mother was unable to care for him, so he was put up for adoption and adopted by Rex and Auleva Thomas. Unfortunately, Auleva died when Dave was just five.  Rex was a construction worker and moved around a lot in search of work, so he left Dave with his Grandmother Minnie Sinclair for long periods.  Mr. Thomas  later noted that his grandmother taught him  to respect others and other valuable customer service type skills which he carried over into his business.  At 15, he was hired at the Hobby House Restaurant in Indiana; he really liked this job.  However, his dad  wanted to move  again. Dave asked to stay and was allowed to stay in Indiana, but he had to drop out of High School in order to support himself by working full time. Dave Thomas never returned to high school, but he did get a GED in 1993.

When he was about eighteen, the Korean War had started, and Mr. Thomas enlisted. He was initially sent to the Cooks and Baker school at Fort Banning.  Then he was stationed in Germany, to work as a mess sergeant and later rose in rank to staff sergeant. When he was discharged in 1953, he returned to work at the hobby house in Indiana where he met and married a waitress  named Lorraine Buskirk.   Hobby house had purchased 4 KFC franchises, and the owner Phillip Clauss asked Mr. Thomas to take over them, and make them profitable. Thus, Dave Thomas worked along side Colonel Sanders at times, and he was successful at making the KFC franchises profitable.  Moreover, he suggested that KFC use the revolving chicken bucket as their sign and suggested the Colonel star in his own commercials. Mr. Thomas later followed his own advice in this regard.

Dave Thomas was a philanthropist as well as a millionaire; he had a special place in his heart for adoption and set up the Dave Thomas Foundation for adoption. This foundation reduces the amount of paperwork involved with an adoption and greatly reduces the cost so more people get the chance to adopt. He also regretted dropping out of high school and later set up the Dave Thomas Education Center in Florida to help others get their GED.  And he also opened a school the Wellington School in Columbus, Ohio. Moreover, he supported several local hospitals and St. Jude’s Cancer Research Center.  Dave Thomas believed strongly in giving back to the community.

Wendy’s is successful because the food is different from other fast-food restaurants. Wendy’s is also more affordable than a lot of the other fast-food restaurants.  Mr. Thomas worked his way up and thus learned the proper way to: set up, trademark, brand and run a fast food chain, before opening one. That is likely why his legacy Wendy’s will remain open for everyone to enjoy for a very long time.

Lucinda Choules


A&E networks (2012) Dave Thomas biography. http://www.biography.com/people/dave-thomas-9542110

Hiskey, Daven (2012) The founder of Wendy’s Helped Save KFC and was a High school dropout.



1 Comment

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One response to “Dave Thomas

  1. I like how you included the slide show at the top of the post! I certainly admire Dave Thomas…I also have a heart for adoption, and advocate for special needs orphans through an organization called Reece’s Rainbow. Adoption is one of the reasons that I decided to get my masters degree. I am hoping that once I complete the program, I will eventually be promoted and make enough money to save for an international adoption!

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