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Happy Founder’s Day to Wendy’s! Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of a One Of A Kind Collaboration

By , November 15th, 2013

Wendy's 45th Anniversary Commemorative Artwork in the new Dave Thomas Center

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.

Wendy's 45th Anniversary Commemorative Artwork

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.

Closeup of "Dave's Way" from the commemorative artwork  Closeup of Wendy's logo from the commemorative artwork

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!

Dave Thomas and his wife view the original artwork at its unveiling in 1994

Dave Thomas and his wife view the original artwork at its unveiling in 1994

Kitty with the Wendy's wall of memorabilia in 1994

Kitty with the Wendy’s wall of memorabilia in 1994



 Later, after the art’s presentation during Founder’s Week 1994, Dave Thomas wrote us, “I know Wendy’s employees, franchise owners and guests will admire the collage for many, many years to come.”   As Wendy’s approaches a 45th anniversary celebration, we’re pleased to know that’s what continues to happen.

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!

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