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From Franchisor to a Competitor's Franchisee: How a Hooters Owner Bounced Back

This story appears in the July 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Robert H. Brooks handed over the reins of the Hooters franchise to his son Coby in 2003. But when the elder Brooks died three years later, it set off a protracted lawsuit over his estate and the ownership of the Atlanta-based brand. In 2011, Coby Brooks was forced to sell Hooters to a private equity firm, and soon after he was let go.

Mark Hill
Franchisor-turned- franchisee Coby Brooks.

A few days later, Brooks had an idea. He called Randy Dewitt, founder of Twin Peaks, the Dallas-based sports-lodge-theme restaurant chain and fast-growing competitor of Hooters. “I knew I didn’t want to quit working, and I knew the restaurant business really well,” Brooks says. “So I asked him if he would give me a shot at being a franchisee. He asked if I had a noncompete clause. I told him no.”

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