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DAVE'S WAY by R. David Thomas

DAVE'S WAY

A New Approach to Old-Fashioned Success

By R. David Thomas

Pub Date: Sept. 25th, 1991
ISBN: 0-399-13678-9
Publisher: Putnam

 Dave, of course, is the founder of Wendy's International and is familiar to millions of TV viewers as the hamburger vendor's plain-spoken pitchman. In the text at hand, his way is to combine a modicum of aw-shucks autobiography with a full measure of by-the- numbers advisories on how to succeed in business. The resultant fare is longer on down-home appeal than genuine sustenance. An adopted child who had a knockabout boyhood in the Midwest and Southeast during WW II, Thomas knew early on that he wanted to make a career of the restaurant industry. After dropping out of high school, the author enlisted in the Army shortly after the start of the Korean War. Posted to West Germany, he had a chance to work at his trade as assistant manager of an enlisted men's club near Frankfurt. Back home again in Fort Wayne, Ind., Thomas resumed his old job. Given an opportunity to turn around four failing Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets in Columbus, Ohio, during the early 1960's, he never looked back. A millionaire at 37, the author went into business for himself, opening the first Wendy's on November 15, 1969. The chain has prospered, by Thomas's account, as a quick- service rather than a fast-food enterprise. Although he has much to say on quality, consistency, limited menus, personnel relations, philanthropy, perseverance, marketing, and allied subjects, Thomas stands largely mute on matters fiscal. What he does do is lard his anecdotal narrative with seemingly endless series of personalized pointers, e.g., ``Dave's Yardstick for Measuring People,'' ``Dave's Tips on Bumping Bellies with the Big Guys,'' and ``Dave's Rules for Making a Good Ad.'' Notwithstanding his just-folks image, he also settles some old beefs with, among others, McDonald's, Madison Avenue, and critics of red meat. For fans of the shoulder-to-the-wheel, nose-to-the-grindstone, eye-on-the-ball, and ear-to-the-ground approaches to commercial achievement. (Eight pages of photos--not seen.)