In 1976, DeNean was approached by John Wold about investing in Wendy’s fast food restaurants. They formed a corporation, Wold-Stafford, Inc, with The Stafford Trust owning 75% and John Wold owning the remaining 25%, and acquired a new Wendy’s franchise for Tifton, Georgia. After success in Tifton, they opened another Wendy’s in Americus, Georgia and they sought to expand further. After talking to South Georgia Foods, Inc. about a merger to acquire more Wendy’s locations, Wold-Stafford, Inc. bought out John Wold’s share of the company and decided not to merge with South Georgia Foods. On July 12, 1978, Wold-Stafford, Inc. officially changed its name to Stafford Foods, Inc.
The company expanded with more Georgia locations in Cordele, Moultrie and Douglas, and Fitzgerald. In 1986, Mr. Stafford was presented the Wendy’s Award, Wendy’s International’s most prestigious award. Four stores in the southern region were initially selected, with the Wendy’s store in Americus, Georgia being one of them. On December 15, 1986, the store was announced as the Winner of the 1986 National SPARC to Excellence contest, based on timely service, outstanding quality of product and proper staffing, as observed by officers of Wendy’s International, Inc. on unannounced visits.