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Dave Thomas is the founder of the hamburger chain Wendy's and was their TV spokesman starting in 1989.
Dave Thomas - Mini Biography (2:15)
Colonel Sanders - Mini Bio (2:11)
Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas found enormous success with his fast food chain, despite coming from humble beginnings.
Colonel Sanders is synonymous with Kentucky Fried Chicken. He created the recipe, franchised it, and earned worldwide fame.
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When Thomas was still a pre-teen, his family (his father, Rex, had remarried again) moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he worked at such jobs as a paperboy, golf caddy, and at a soda fountain counter in a drugstore. At 15, Thomas got his first job at a restaurant, and when his family decided to leave Fort Wayne to move again, he refused to leave, dropping out of school in the 10th grade and going to work full time.
Colonel Sanders's signature chicken had been a big hit for the Hobby House and Thomas thought he could sell it in Ohio. By 1968, a few short years later, a 35-year-old Thomas sold the franchises back to the headquarters for $1.5 million.
In 1982, Thomas gave up command of day-to-day operations at Wendy's. Four years later, after some business mistakes had hurt sales for Wendy's, the company's new president urged Thomas to take a more active role in the company. Thomas began to visit franchises and espouse his hardworking, so-called "mop-bucket attitude." In 1989, he took on an even more important role, as the television spokesman for the company in a series of fantastically successful commercials.
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