The company was founded in 1985 by Ted and Joyce Rice. He was a cameraman for KCTV Channel 5 and she was an elementary school 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.
The company was bought by Arby's in 1996. By 2011, Wendy's sold 81.5% of Arby's to Roark Capital Group. The T.J. Cinnamons chain remained with the Wendy's Company, though its pastries are still sold in Arby's stores (owing to Wendy's retaining a 18.5% stake in the restaurant chain's parent company, Inspire Brands). Many Arby's locations continue to feature T.J. Cinnamons despite Roark (though its subsidiary Focus Brands) owning its more well-known rival, Cinnabon.
- 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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