Born, Melinda Lou Thomas Morse on September 14, 1961, Wendy is the daughter and fourth child of Wendy’s restaurant chain founder Dave Thomas.
As a young girl, Melinda Lou was known as “Wenda”, rather than “Wendy”. When her dad started a new hamburger chain in Columbus, Ohio, her name was used as the basis for the new chain’s name, “Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers”, and a drawing of her used as the company mascot.
As an adult, she owned several Wendy’s restaurants near Dallas until 1999. After Dave Thomas died in 2002, Wendy and her siblings bought restaurants in the Columbus area; Wendy herself eventually owned 30.