One wonders if Ronald McDonald Jr. has the same problem.
Wendy Thomas-Morse, the daughter of Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, revealed in a recent interview that her father once apologized to her for naming his hamburger chain “Wendy’s.”
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Thomas-Morse, who was actually born Melinda Thomas but went by the nickname of “Wendy,” said her father expressed his remorse in a conversation they had before his death in 2002.
“It was the first time we’d ever had this conversation,” she said, in Q&A posted to the Wendy’s Square Deal blog last week.
“He said, ‘You know what? I’m sorry.’ I asked him what he meant. He explained, ‘I should’ve just named it after myself, because it put a lot of pressure on you.”’ I responded, ‘Yeah, it is a lot of pressure. I have to do the right thing.’”
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According to Thomas-Morse, her father knew upon founding the hamburger chain in 1969 that he needed a “character” to serve as the face of the brand.
“He said, ‘Wendy, pull your hair up in pigtails,’” she remembered. “So, I did. He got his camera and took pictures of me and my sister and said, ‘Yep, it’s going to be Wendy’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers.’”
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Thomas-Morse, who was one of five children, further revealed that she sometimes loved — and sometimes hated — the press events she was required to go to. She also claimed that the hairdo was a literal pain, as she’d have to sit for hours in front of a photographer with pipe cleaners keeping her pigtails in place.
Ultimately, however, Thomas-Morse said she was proud to learn about business from her father, whom she called a “master” of representing his brand in front of the media.
“I want to do the right thing by him, because he worked really hard to start this,” she said.
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Thomas-Morse’s interview comes as part of the blog’s “50 Years, 50 Stories” series in honor of the chain’s 50th anniversary. She has also appeared in more recent ad campaigns for the brand.