|Born||Melinda Lou Thomas
September 14, 1961
|Residence||Upper Arlington, OH|
|Other names||Melinda Lou "Wendy" Morse|
|Alma mater||University of Florida|
|Known for||Namesake of Wendy's hamburger chain|
|Home town||Columbus, Ohio|
Gary Floto (until his death)
|Parent(s)||Lorraine & Dave Thomas|
Melinda Lou "Wendy" Morse (née Thomas, born September 14, 1961) is the daughter and fourth child of American businessman Dave Thomas, the founder of the fast food brand Wendy's. Morse is best known for being the namesake and mascot of the brand. She uses the name Wendy Thomas in her role as a spokesperson for Wendy's.
Importance to Wendy's
As a child Morse was unable to pronounce her L's and R's, struggling with her own name Melinda, and so became known by her nickname Wendy (with the pen-pin merger). Then 8-year old Wendy would eventually become the namesake behind the name of her father's restaurant Wendy's Old Fashioned Hamburgers, or just "Wendy's" for short. In addition to being the namesake, her likeness was used as the Wendy's logo in the form of a young girl with red braids.
As an adult, Morse graduated from the University of Florida in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in consumerism. She owned several Wendy's restaurants near Dallas, Texas until 1999. After the death of her father Dave Thomas in 2002, Morse and her siblings bought restaurants in the Columbus, Ohio area. As of September 2010[update], Morse herself owned or co-owned more than 30 Wendy's stores. In November 2010, she began appearing in Wendy's ads on camera for the first time. (Her voice was featured in a 1989 ad giving her father advice from off-camera.) The 2010 ads aired first in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mobile, Alabama, and Virginia Beach, Virginia, test markets before being rolled out nationally.
Since April 2012, she is starring in a series of ads for Wendy's called That's Wendy's Way, reinforcing the quality values in ingredients, preparation and service her father established. She also appeared in the 'Dave's Hot 'N Juicy Cheeseburger' commercial produced by Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group.
- Kirkland, Gary (April 30, 2007). "Fast food Gator: Wendy Thomas is proud of her UF connection". Gainesville Sun. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- "After 20 Years of Fame, Wendy Thomas Still Relishes Being on a Roll". People. January 15, 1990. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "The family way figures big in commercial campaigns". The Milwaukee Journal. Los Angeles Times News Service. September 24, 1989. pp. 1D, 6D. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "Dave Thomas: Made to Order". Biography on CNBC. December 8, 1998. CNBC. http://classic.cnbc.com/id/32462661/. Re-run on January 31, 2010.
- Englert, Gianna. "Woman on Top: Melinda Lou 'Wendy' Thomas". Capitalist Chicks. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- Lukovitz, Karlene (November 9, 2010). "Grown-Up Wendy Stars In Wendy's TV Spots". Marketing Daily. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
- Kiefaber, David (November 12, 2010). "Wendy Thomas starring in first Wendy's ads". Adweek. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- Finnegan, Amanda (November 5, 2010). "Las Vegas to serve as test market for Wendy’s burger line; Ad campaign next week will feature daughter of founder Dave Thomas". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- Morrison, Maureen (November 12, 2010). "Real Wendy Takes Star Turn in Wendy's Advertising". Advertising Age. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
- "New Advertising Campaign Reveals Why “Wendy’s Way” has High Quality Ingredients, Fresh Preparation". The Wendy's Company (Press release). April 27, 2012. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Morrison, Maureen (April 27, 2012). "Why Wendy's Needs Two Redheads to Push Burgers". Advertising Age. Retrieved July 11, 2014.
- Elliott, Stuart (September 25, 2011). "After 27 Years, an Answer to the Question, ‘Where’s the Beef?’". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2014.