White Shirts and Red Ties All Around


This past week the Wendy’s Family celebrated our 47th birthday and paid homage to our founder, Dave Thomas.

We call this week, Founder's Week, and on the last day we all come to work Dave’s Way: dressed in a white short-sleeve button-up shirt and a red tie.

Trust Me. It Makes Sense.

Back in the day, and at the height of his fame, Dave was one of the most recognizable figures around.  He garnered attention for his dedication to the cause of foster care adoption and his face was familiar because he starred in more than 800 Wendy’s commercials. He would rub shoulders with former Presidents of the United States one day and entertainment icons like BB King and Steven Spielberg the next.

By comparison, he was more well-known than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg.

But Dave’s home, and the place where he was most comfortable, was in the kitchen of a Wendy’s Restaurant.

Dave serving up burgers in the Wendy’s kitchen

With his trademark look Dave was a cultural icon, but at heart he was an honest, hardworking man who simply had a dream to start a restaurant where everyone would love his food.

He knew he would be opening a great place on November 15, 1969, but what he never could have dreamed was the incredible joy and opportunity he would ultimately provide to millions of people for generations to come. 

Dave built his restaurant company on a set of values that continue to resonate today.  He firmly believed that you should put quality in everything that you do.  And he founded a charity on the belief that if he could just help one child, it would all be worth it. 


Well, his charity has transformed the foster care system and to date has helped more than 6,000 children (and counting!) get adopted. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing THE Wendy Thomas earlier this week in front of our Restaurant Support Center employees, and she reminded us all why we help children in foster care:

"They’re not someone else’s responsibility, they’re our responsibility."

That’s why we, the Wendy’s Family, won’t stop raising funds and awareness for this cause until the more than 100,000 children waiting in foster care find their forever families – this is truly Dave’s greatest legacy.

During the interview, Wendy also reminded us that Dave had an enviable knack for tackling complicated issues.  He would analyze the problem and put together a simple solution.  Often, every restaurant-related question would be solved with one clear answer,

“take care of the customer.”

So this week, we took a moment to honor him by doing we felt would make him proud.  We celebrated our customers with events at our restaurants, we recognized our team members who have lived his values, we gave back to our communities with acts of service, and finally, we enjoyed a meal as a team. 

Simply put, Dave’s family, the Wendy’s family, gathered together across the nation in white shirts and red ties, to say….

Thank You, Dave!


Displaying 5 of comments
Load More

Get Notified

Sign up to get The Square Deal delivered right to your inbox.