Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s, was born in New Jersey to unmarried parents and adopted by another couple. He left home at the age of 15 and began working at the restaurant of a good friend’s father who became a surrogate father to Thomas himself.
While working at the restaurant, Thomas toured Colonel Sanders’ KFC restaurant and was asked to take over four of the KFC stores. It was at this time that Thomas made coupons and deals for the KFC restaurants he oversaw. He advised Colonel Sanders to create a signature KFC bucket, reduce the number of items on the menu, focus on a signature dish, and have Colonel Sanders appear in advertisements. It worked.
KFC really took off and Thomas sold his four KFCs back to Colonel Sanders and became a millionaire. It was after that when he decided to open a restaurant for himself, because he couldn’t find a decent hamburger joint where he lived. He named the place after his 8 year old daughter, Wendy, and within a decade more than a thousand of the chain restaurants were all around the U.S.