Girl of My Heart… And Heritage

Who do you know whose entrepreneurial legacy began at the age of eight?

David Thomas, founder and CEO of Wendy’s. When he was just eight, he dreamed he would run the best restaurant in the world.

Before his death at age 69, he did everything he could to bring that dream to life.

One source says Dave will be remembered as “one of the best Christian business owners in history.”

Pretty amazing for a man who never knew his birth mom. He was adopted at six weeks old by Rex and Auleva Thomas. His adopted mom then died when he was five.

Maybe that’s how the seed that would grow into Wendy’s was first planted?

“While [his adoptive father] didn’t spend much fatherly time with Dave, they often ate together at restaurants – mainly small neighborhood cafes that made good hamburgers. For Dave, eating out was a special event. It was the one time he felt like he had his father all to himself. And Dave enjoyed watching families sitting together, sharing a meal.”

Maybe that’s also how the seed for Dave’s passionate avocation was planted?

“… the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption — a national, nonprofit public charity dedicated exclusively to finding permanent homes and loving families for the more than 150,000 children waiting in North America’s foster care systems.”


Our destiny is found in our story. Dave’s story is about burgers (named after daughter, Wendy) and babies needing names (through adoptive families).

Dave’s closest relationship was with his grandmother, who strongly shaped his values. Where did those square hamburgers come from? His grandmother’s repeated admonition to “never cut corners” in life?

I could tell you about Wendy’s financial picture. The third largest hamburger chain in the world, with 6288 franchises and 337 company-owned stores. Annual sales declining from $2.49 billion in 2013 to $1.44 billion in 2017.

Dave was long gone by then, dying of cancer in 2002.  But the company still does things “Dave’s Way.” So maybe the best thing I can share here is a collection of values Dave held most dear.

Vision: “I believed in my dream… and I was willing to put in the time and make the commitment to succeed.”

Excellence: “We have to earn our customers’ loyalty every day, and exceed their expectations on every visit. That’s our mission and our focus.”

Perseverance: “Don’t give up. It’s easy to throw in the towel when things aren’t going your way.  Nothing good comes without hard work. Be willing to invest the time and energy to achieve your goals.”

Humility: “I never thought of myself as anybody special. And whatever I’ve accomplished throughout my life, when I look in the mirror, I still see myself as a hamburger cook.”

Integrity: “If you say you’re going to do something, do it. When people believe in you and you treat them with respect, they’ll follow you.”

Generosity: “Profit means success, and success means sharing with others.”

What say you… besides “Where’s the Beef?”  🙂

Please post your comments below.

Diana Furr, a.k.a., Abba’s Girl

This blog may have raised questions for you. If you’d like to connect, engage, or get further help from me, you can… EMAIL me at [email protected]; CALL me at 863-446-1660; or request a complimentary initial CONSULT with me at

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