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Bob Meyer

Beyond The Limits Of Cash or Credit

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His Barter Currency�Chicken!

What do ambitious entrepreneurs do when they have little or no money? They use what they have to get what they need. Which is exactly what Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy�s restaurants, did when he was just starting out.

Fresh out of the army, the 21-year-old Thomas went to work at a struggling Ohio restaurant, Hobby Houses in Columbus. The frustrated owner felt his situation was hopeless, and made an uncommon barter offer to the hard-working young man�meet certain financial goals and I�ll trade you 40% ownership in my four money-losing stores. Where others saw problems Thomas saw opportunity, and snapped up the owners offer.

The year was 1953, and Thomas felt the major under-appreciated asset was the recent agreement the owner had made with a little known Col. Harland Sanders, who founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. He immediately pared down the 100 item menu, focusing on selling the specially prepared fried chicken. He even changed the name from Hobby Ranch House to Col. Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Because he had no money with which to advertise, the astute Thomas began making barter arrangements for needed promotion of the restaurant. He used his chicken as currency to acquire the bartered advertising.

Years later, Thomas became famous after deciding to open up a restaurant that served only fresh ground beef. Today his Wendy�s restaurant chain totals 6,700 units.