The company was founded in 1985 by husband and wife, Ted and Joyce Rice. Ted was a cameraman for KCTV Channel 5 and Joyce was a fifth-grade teacher. The first T.J. Cinnamons opened in the Ward Parkway Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri, in January 1985. At the time, the cinnamon rolls cost $1.25.
As of 1989 it had more than 230 outlets in the U.S. and Canada, including three shops in Western New York.
In 1996, T.J.Cinnamons was bought by Arby's, which was a subsidiary of Triarc Companies. In 2011, Triarc Companies (which is now known as The Wendy's Company) sold 81.5% of Arby's to Roark Capital Group, although the T.J. Cinnamons chain remained with the Wendy's Company. Many Arby's locations continue to feature T.J. Cinnamons despite Roark (though its subsidiary Focus Brands) owning its more well-known rival, Cinnabon.
- "The Founders of T.J. Cinnamons Are Really on a Roll Now That All America Hungers for Their Buns". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2020-08-06.
- Andrew F. Smith (2012). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 16. ISBN 9780313393938. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
- Plunkett Research Ltd (2006). Plunkett's Food Industry Almanac 2006. Plunkett Research Ltd. ISBN 9781593920524. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
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