It’s Founder’s Day at Wendy’s International, honoring Dave Thomas. Lawrence and I remember well that it was 20 years ago when Denny Lynch, Wendy’s International Senior V.P., Corporate Communications and Kitty Munger, Director of Communications, first traveled from Dublin, OH to One Of A Kind to see examples of 3-dimensional commemorative art. Dave Thomas was Chairman, Jim Near was President/CEO and Wendy’s 25th anniversary was approaching.
So began a creative collaboration that endures today, memorialized by Wendy’s 3-dimensional commemorative artwork, just updated a 3rd time and installed in the new Dave Thomas Conference Center, located at Wendy’s Dublin headquarters.
The initial commission was 3-dimensional lobby art celebrating the first 25 years of Wendy’s International. Denny and Kitty wanted an original, meaningful way to showcase their history, people, innovations, growth, ads, memorabilia and accomplishments in Wendy’s lobby, as well as personalized tributes for Dave Thomas and Jim Near. We brainstormed with Denny and Kitty on iconic images and 3D items to go into each collage–and what wonderful treasures they had! Into the lobby art—9 feet x 9 feet x 8”, Lawrence was able to incorporate a piece of the first hamburger grill, ’70’s beads, a retro tabletop design and the back of a bentwood chair–symbolic of early Wendy’s restaurants. Dave Thomas’ vision, values and leadership, of course, were the big story. He was indeed one-of-a-kind.
Lawrence created the overall design to suggest the Wendy’s hamburger (square: “We Don’t Cut Corners”…), with compass points to commemorate Wendy’s growth, Wendy’s Values and the names of CEOs and franchisees. From Denny came the original idea: “Why don’t we put lots of Wendy’s commemorative lapel pins on the ‘bun’ portion of the art–like sesame seeds?” It worked beautifully!
Recently returning to Wendy’s headquarters to update and install the art, Lawrence and I were glad to see that, among the exciting changes, the Founder’s Values are still at the heart of Wendy’s. And at the entrance door you can’t miss the longtime slogan: “Quality is Our Recipe.” For sure!