Wendy’s celebrates 50th birthday, legacy of Dave Thomas in Central Ohio

Local News

DUBLIN, OH (WCMH)– You would never guess by their snappy social media presence that Wendy’s has been around for half a century.

“We need to stay relevant for the next generation of consumers,” said Wendy’s President and CEO Todd Penegor. “Today, we talk a lot about being fresh, never frozen and full customization, made to order. A lot of our traditional customers know that about Wendy’s, but the next generation doesn’t so we need to find new avenues to connect to them.”

We have 3.4 million Twitter followers, and we continue to have a lot of fun engaging in the next generation of consumer and really talking about our difference in our food versus the competition. 

Todd Penegor, Wendy’s President and CEO

The fast-food chain opened its first restaurant on November 15, 1969, in downtown Columbus. Today, there are more than 6,700 Wendy’s restaurants around the world.

Many Ohioans remember the original Wendy’s opened by Dave Thomas on East Broad Street. Many families from across the state would make a day of exploring the original COSI that opened five years prior, then, heading to Wendy’s across the street to eat.

Courtesy: Wendy’s

RELATED: COSI celebrating 55 years in Central Ohio

Thomas became a global star after starring in his first Wendy’s commercial in 1989, but his lasting legacy is the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

“Our signature cause has been the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption from day 1,” Penegor added.

We’re blessed. We’ve got over 1,000 kids now in Ohio that have been adopted, and we found them forever families, which is very special. 

Todd Penegor, Wendy’s President and CEO

Friday at a 50th birthday celebration at Wendy’s flagship restaurant in Dublin, Thomas’ daughter and Wendy’s namesake, Wendy Thomas and Governor Mike Dewine spoke about the foundation’s impact.

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