Celebrity Franchise Players
We all know from the photos in celebrity magazines that famous people walk their dogs, go to the gym, attend their kids' Little League games and get pulled over for speeding exactly like us regular folk who don't make $20 million on every movie or record deal. Many of them try to make a killing in franchising, too--frequently turning to fast food, a resilient investment even in harsh economic times. Here are five celebs putting their money where mouths are.
The venerable American Bandstand host and longtime New Year's Rockin' Eve ringleader first tuned in to the Krispy Kreme brand during the 1960s, while traveling in the South with his Caravan of Stars rock 'n' roll road shows. When the chain went national in the 1990s, Clark lobbied unsuccessfully to purchase a New York City location--but in 2002 he and his business partners were granted the rights to develop 25 Krispy Kreme locations in Great Britain. Day-old doughnuts are apparently not an option for the World's Oldest Teenager.
The Baseball Hall of Famer swapped his jaw-dropping bat for a mouth-watering chicken leg in 1995, when his 755 Restaurant Corp. opened a pair of Church's Chicken franchises in Atlanta. 755 (so named for the record-breaking number of homers Hammerin' Hank hit during his 23-year career) now owns five Church's locations across the southeastern United States, as well as 20 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and two Krispy Kreme units.
Success: It tastes like chicken.
Golf superstar Mickelson took a swing at entrepreneurial glory when he quietly joined a group of investors awarded the Orange County, Calif., rights to the fast-growing Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchise, the first of which opened in August. Mickelson's involvement in Five Guys became public days after he slyly trumpeted the chain as "hands down the best burger I've ever had" during the 2010 Players Championship. Weeks later, he pulled the opposite of a good PR move when he turned vegetarian in an attempt to ease his psoriatic arthritis.
Basketball is a team sport, but business is all about having it your way. Just ask NBA veteran Butler, small forward with the Dallas Mavericks and sole proprietor of six Burger King locations across the country. Butler worked at BK as a teen, saying he knows the business "from the janitorial spot all the way through the management side." Burger King also feeds Butler's unusual habit of chewing drinking straws during games: He would gnaw as many as a dozen a night before the league banned the practice in early 2010, citing safety concerns. "I don't do 7-Eleven straws or anything," Butler once explained. "McDonald's, Burger King, that's it."
Fun fact: Straws are actually tastier and more nutritious than most fast-food fare.
Hip-hop superstar West expanded from beats to eats in mid-2008, when his KW Foods signed on to construct a series of Fatburger locations across his native Chicago. As of press time, only two of the proposed 10 Fatburger units have opened, however. There's apparently no truth to the rumors that the delays are a result of West's insistence on renaming the chain "Phatburger"--or that he interrupted pop singer Taylor Swift's own plans to partner with the burger chain.