Wendy’s Franchisee James Bodenstedt, President and CEO of MUY! Hamburgers, and his team have made giving back a priority both professionally and personally, donating time and funds to non-profit organizations such as the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The MUY! Hamburgers team continually excels in fundraisers and in-restaurant campaigns that benefit the Foundation, and James has pledged an additional $200,000 annual donation. They are also dedicated to investing in the success of their employees by demonstrating the importance of teamwork and leading by example.
“If you’ve gotten yourself in a good position, physically and emotionally, then you are prepared to be able to help others,” James shared.
Just like our founder, Dave Thomas, James knew from the time he was a teenager that he wanted to run his own restaurant company. From the time he was 16 years old, he carried a briefcase to school instead of a backpack and set himself on the path to success. Today, James owns one of the largest franchise restaurant companies in the United States and he uses his success to lift up others.
We are so grateful to James and his team for their commitment to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. We asked James to share why he is so focused on helping us find forever families for children in foster care.
How did you first learn about the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption?
As a consumer I was familiar with the passion and personal story of Dave Thomas and the Wendy’s brand; however, when our organization started looking into the Wendy’s brand on a franchise level, we learned about the cause and the incredible impact that the Foundation has made over the last 25 years. We knew we wanted to be a part of that. Thanks to the work of the Foundation nearly 7,000 children who were in foster care are now with a family that loves them, and that is amazing!
What motivated you to support the work of the Foundation?
Every child deserves a chance to have a family. It seems so basic, yet the reality is there are children in foster care who do not have a family-support structure. The Foundation provides the opportunity for this chance and positively impacts the direction of a child’s life. Children who are adopted from foster care and placed with permanent families are given a support system; therefore, allowing them a better chance to succeed at life. We should all have that chance. And giving back to organizations like the Foundation is good for the community and it strengthens team morale.
What do you find most inspiring about the work that the Foundation does?
The children it serves. I so enjoy hearing about the young people who have been in foster care, sometimes for up to 8-10 years, finally finding a family. This family offers a whole new world of opportunity. Every child has potential; we have the opportunity to help the children in foster care find theirs.
What information would you like to share about your team at MUY! Hamburgers when it comes to supporting the Foundation?
MUY! Hamburgers is honored and excited to be part of such an amazing program. Our teams, along with the consumers in our communities, are supportive of this cause. It’s the hard work of our crew members and the generosity of our consumers that enable MUY! Hamburgers to lead with donation collections through canisters and in-restaurant campaigns, such as National Adoption Night and Frosty Key Tags, and I’m excited to be able to mimic that enthusiasm for the Foundation with an additional annual donation. At MUY!, we believe in giving back to the communities in which we serve and it is our desire to assist the Foundation in their work to truly make a difference.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of others, so I feel a sense of responsibility to give back,” James continued. “Mostly I think we need to give opportunities for others to succeed.”
Photo 1 Caption: James Bodenstedt and members of his executive team.
Photo 2 Caption: Members of the MUY! Hamburgers team.