Dave with Wendy's food and ingredients

The Early Years

“A family can count on each other, and that’s something that can’t be bought or sold. All the small stuff is swept aside when an obstacle is faced. It brings out the best of us. That old saying is true, we’re stronger when we stand together. I’m very grateful and proud to be part of the Thomas family.”

“In 1940, at the age of eight, I dreamed that I would one day own the best restaurant in the world. All of the customers would love my food, and all of my employees would do everything they were supposed to do. But, most important, everyone would think I was a good boss, and every day when I walked into the restaurant, people would be glad to see me.”

“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.”


Dave’s Introduced to the Restaurant Industry

“From the very beginning, 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.”

“They were wonderful people, and some of the happiest times were spent with them. I gave them a token amount of money for rent, and they gave me something money can’t buy – a sense of belonging.”

“I don’t consider myself a great leader, but if I really thought about it, I’d say I’ve followed my own advice. I do what I say I’m going to do. I’ve been lucky over the years to have a great team of people to work with. I learned from my mentors that 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.”


Founding Wendy’s

“When I started Wendy’s in 1969, ‘Quality is Our Recipe’ was our motto. Our focus on quality hasn’t changed, and it never will. Wendy’s offers customers the highest quality food and freshest ingredients, made-to-order sandwiches, and fast, courteous service. When you like a restaurant’s food and are treated well, you’ll go back again. We have to earn our customers’ loyalty every day, and exceed their expectations on every visit. That’s our mission and our focus and, in my opinion, that’s what generates loyal customers.”

“People ask me about the secret of my success, and I tell them there’s no secret. You have to have persistence, a burning desire to succeed, and a passion for the business. These things kept me motivated and focused on what I wanted to accomplish. It sounds simple, and it really is. I believed in my dream of opening a hamburger restaurant, and I was willing to put in the time and make the commitment to succeed.”


Graduating High School

“One of my biggest mistakes led to one of my greatest accomplishments. I dropped out of school when I was 15, so I could work full time. That was the biggest mistake I ever made. I was ashamed to be known as a ‘drop-out.’ One day while talking to high school students about getting a good education, a student asked how I could tell them to stay in school when I dropped out. So after 45 years, I went back to school, studied for and got my GED. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it, and it’s something I’m very proud of. I was ‘adopted’ by the senior class of Coconut Creek High School near my home in Ft. Lauderdale. They voted me Most Likely to Succeed, and elected my wife Lorraine and me Prom Queen and King.”

“Profit is not a dirty word. We all talk about achieving our dreams and accomplishing our goals. But let’s not forget that making a profit gets us there. Profit in business means expansion, growth and opportunities. It also means you can share your profit with your management team and the community. Profit means success, and success means sharing with others.”

“Honesty and integrity are the foundation upon which every successful person stands. Dishonest people don’t make it in the long run. Throughout your life, you’ll have the opportunity to cut corners and take some short cuts. Don’t do it! If you lose your integrity, you’ve lost everything you set out to gain. Earn and appreciate the trust of the people you work with and respect. You earn your reputation by the things you do every day. And at the end of the day, all a man has is his integrity.”

“Everyone has a responsibility to support their community. My rule of thumb is: support the community that supports you. Find a cause that means something to you and support it with your time, energy and money. For me, that cause is adoption, but you should find something that’s important to you. Giving back is the right thing to do.”


A Champion for Children in Foster Care

“Every child deserves a permanent home and loving family. Having a family means there are people who care about you and who will always be there for you. Adoption is a great way to create or add to a family. There are so many children in America waiting to be adopted.”

“America is the greatest country in the world. Everyone has an equal chance and opportunity to succeed. You can be anything you want to be within the laws of God and man.”