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Wendy's Founder Dave Thomas Dies <b></b>

Dublin, Ohio-Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy'sOld-Fashioned Hamburgers chain, died of liver cancer Tuesday at theage of 69.

Thomas became a household name when he began pitching hisburgers and fries in television commercials in 1989. Industryanalysts and company officials said Thomas' more than 800 adshelped Wendy's rebound from a difficult period in the mid'80s when earnings sank.

Thomas worked in the restaurant industry from the age of 12,first as a counterman and eventually as a Kentucky Fried Chickenfranchisee. He started Wendy's in Columbus, Ohio, in 1969, ayear after selling his six KFC franchises back to the company for$1.5 million. Thomas named the restaurant after his daughterMelinda Lou, nicknamed Wendy by her siblings.

Today there are 6,000 Wendy's restaurants worldwide. In1996, the company acquired Canadian-based Tim Hortons, a coffee andfresh-baked goods chain that has grown to more than 2,000 stores.The chains have combined sales of more than $8 billion.-Associated Press

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