Dave was adopted when he was around six weeks old thus why out of his many charities, he was very committed to helping children. His adoptive mother died when he was five and he and his dad moved around a lot. He couldn't remember a time when he wasn't working but he got into the food business when he was twelve and did every job possible from bussing/cleaning tables, cooking, running the cash register, ordering supplies, waiting tables, washing dishes, etc. He was closing the restaurant and knew how to manage the books, by the time he was 15. Because he was working so much, school wasn't a priority and he never received his high school diploma. Around 23 years after he started Wendy's, he received his GED.
When the Korean War broke out in 1950, he was 18 years old and he volunteered to serve. Because of his expertise in the restaurant business, the military sent him to a special school where he learned to feed in masses. Dave ended up on a military base in West Germany where he was responsible for feeding over 2,000 soldiers a day. Can you imagine how talented he must've been at that young age to accomplish this? He achieved the rank of staff-sergeant in just three years, which is amazing.
After the war he became the head cook at a family owned restaurant (the Klauss family), in Fort Wayne, Indiana. One day a man by the name of Harlan Sanders came into town and convinced the Klauss' to buy into his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise. They ended up owning several. It was a great experience for Dave because the restaurant owners let him run that part of their business.
Dave ended up leaving the Klauss' restaurant business because Colonel Sanders wanted him to be his director of franchise operations. Dave's specialty was getting franchisee's up and running and to help restaurants that were struggling. Sanders had given Dave a few shares of KFC when he joined his company and then one day Dave told him he wanted to go out on his own and start a new kind of fast food restaurant to compete against McDonald's. Colonel Sanders bought Dave's shares for $1.5 million dollars ($11 million in today's dollars). He used this money to open his first Wendy's one year later; now there are over 6,000 restaurants.
Dave died in 2002 at the age of 69, from cancer. He was married to his wife, Lorraine for 47 years and they had five children. He's one of the greatest entrepreneurs and philanthropists in U.S. history.