As a child growing up in a poor family, getting to eat out was a major treat for me and my siblings. My overall favorite fast-food restaurant then and now is Wendy’s, as it offers: baked potatoes smothered in cheese, mystery chili, and my favorite as a child the chocolate frosty. Wendy’s has always had a dollar menu so even if we were scrounging up quarters out of the car seats, we could still afford at least one item. Today, Wendy’s remains one of the most affordable places to eat out as their dollar menu is still available. Wendy’s was founded by entrepreneur Dave Thomas. Wendy’s was named after his then eight year old daughter “Melinda Lou” who often mispronounced her own name as “Wenda.” He replaced the “a” with a “y” and Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers was born.
At Wendy’s inception, Dave Thomas was no stranger to cooking or the fast food industry. He had already spent many years preparing quick meals for 2000 soldiers per day while stationed overseas for the Army. Moreover, he had also worked for Kentucky Fried Chicken, where he helped Colonel Sanders increase sales at his franchise restaurants by introducing the “Chicken bucket.” Dave Thomas led an active role in his new restaurants and introduced many things to the fast-food industry such as branding options and opening the first drive-up window.
In the eighties, Mr. Thomas became the on air spokesperson for his restaurants starring in over 100 television commercials. By 1990, a survey showed that 90% of Americans could tell you who Dave Thomas was. I wonder how many of them could have correctly named the President in that poll? Wendy’s was ranked third most popular fast-food restaurant for most of the nineties. Sadly, Dave Thomas died in 2002 of liver cancer, but Wendy’s lives on and his daughter has now taken over the advertising reigns of the company. Today, even though there are a lot more Fast Food Restaurant choices, Wendy’s is still ranked fourth overall.
But it is still number one with me!
Hmnn, I think I may need to leave now and go buy a Frosty.
(1) A&E networks (2012) Dave Thomas biography. http://www.biography.com/people/dave-thomas-9542110
(2) Bellback, Jane (2012) Dave Thomas: the Man behind the Mission. Accessed July 16, 2012. http://adoptionvoicesmagazine.com/unsung-heroes/dave-thomas-the-man-behind-the-mission/
(3) Hiskey, Daven (2012) The founder of Wendy’s Helped Save KFC and was a High school dropout.http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2011/03/that-the-founder-of-wendys-helped-save-kfc-and-was-a-high-school-dropout/#Ahr4rSS5050fwboD.99