Dave Thomas Net Worth At Death
Dave Thomas had an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion at death. He is best known for founding Wendy’s hamburger restaurant chain. He became the company’s TV spokesman in 1989. He earned the majority of his income from Wendy’s.
Dave Thomas opened Wendy’s on November 15, 1969, after complaining that he couldn’t find a good hamburger in Columbus, Ohio. Wendy’s was named after Thomas’ 8-year-old daughter. Wendy’s quickly caught on and grew into a 1,000-store franchise in less than a decade. Thomas became the company’s television spokesman in 1989, with a series of hugely successful commercials.
To calculate the net worth of Dave Thomas, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as loans and personal debt, are included in total liabilities.
Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:
|Net Worth:||$4.2 billion|
|Monthly Salary:||$20 Million+|
|Annual Income:||$200 Million+|
|Source of Wealth:||Businessman|
Rex David Thomas was born on July 2, 1932, in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Thomas never met his birth mother and was adopted at the age of six months by a couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan. Thomas’ adoptive mother died when he was only five years old, and by the age of ten, he had also lost two stepmothers. He spent his summers in Maine with his adoptive grandmother, Minnie Thomas, his closest relative and a significant influence in his life.
When Thomas was still a child, his family (his father, Rex, had remarried) relocated to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he worked as a paperboy, golf caddy, and at a drugstore soda fountain counter. When Thomas was 15, he got his first job at a restaurant, and when his family decided to leave Fort Wayne to relocate, he refused, dropping out of school in the tenth grade and going to work full time.
Foray into Restaurant Business
During the Korean War, Thomas worked as the manager of an enlisted men’s club in the United States Army. When Thomas returned to Fort Wayne, he discovered that his former Hobby House restaurant manager, Phil Clauss, owned some of the early Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises. Clauss offered Thomas the opportunity to relocate to Columbus, Ohio, to turn around the failing restaurants. Colonel Sanders’ signature chicken had proven popular at the Hobby House, and Thomas believed he could sell it in Ohio. A few years later, in 1968, a 35-year-old Thomas sold the franchises back to the headquarters for $1.5 million.
First Wendy’s Opens
Thomas decided to open his own restaurant after complaining that he couldn’t find a good hamburger in Columbus. He opened the first Wendy’s restaurant on November 15, 1969, named after his 8-year-old daughter, Melinda Lou, also known as Wendy. She was the youngest of his five children from his marriage to Lorraine in 1956. Wendy’s, known for its square hamburgers and variety of toppings, quickly caught on and grew into a 1,000-store franchise in less than a decade.
In 1982, Thomas relinquished control of Wendy’s day-to-day operations. After some business mistakes hurt Wendy’s sales four years later, the company’s new president urged Thomas to take a more active role in the company. Thomas began visiting franchises to promote his hardworking, “mop-bucket” attitude. In 1989, he took on an even more important role as the company’s television spokesman in a series of phenomenally successful commercials.
Success as Pitchman
Thomas became a household name thanks to his folksy style and relaxed pitch for his restaurants. During the 1990s, when Thomas starred in every Wendy’s commercial that aired, a company survey found that 90 percent of Americans knew who Thomas was. After more than 800 commercials, it was clear that Thomas was one of the main reasons Wendy’s ranked third in the country (behind McDonald’s and Burger King), with over 6,000 franchises.
Throughout his life, Thomas worked to promote foster child adoption. He established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which advocated for the creation of an employee benefits program for adoptive parents, among other groundbreaking initiatives. President George W. Bush appointed him as a national adoption spokesman. In 1993, Thomas, who had always regretted not finishing high school, hired a tutor and passed the G.E.D. high-school equivalency exam.
The portly Thomas underwent quadruple bypass surgery in December 1996. Though he quickly returned to his busy schedule of commercial production, he began kidney dialysis in early 2001. Thomas died of liver cancer on January 8, 2002, at the age of 69, at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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