“I realized what a great opportunity it would be to build a business with my family and pass it on to generations.”
Most celebrities spare no expense when it comes to fine dining but it turns out that there are quite a few who like to keep it more casual. Instead of ordering hors d’oeuvres at five star restaurants, some celebs prefer to enjoy a burger and fries from the drive-thru. And there are even a number of famous faces who take things a step further by making an investment into their favorite fast food establishment — or actually opening their own spot!
Stars like Kevin Hart and Mark Wahlberg have all made the move into the fast food industry and have fans lining up to get a taste of meals!
Find out which celebs are in the fast food business…
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Kevin Hart recently announced that he’s set to open his own vegan fast food restaurant, Hart House. The plant-based menu is filled with fast food staples like burgers, fries and shakes — but all done sustainably and free from antibiotics, hormones, artificial colors, preservatives and corn syrup.
“I founded Hart House to create a good experience that combines the joy of coming together over food, with the power of purpose. Our amazing chefs and team members have crafted a 100% plant-based menu that delivers ‘can’t-believe-it’ flavor in every bite. I know you’re going to love it,” Kevin said in a statement.
2. Mark & Donnie Wahlberg
In 2015, Mark and Donnie Wahlberg teamed up with their brother Paul to open the first Wahlburgers location, serving stacked burgers, sandwiches and a variety of sides. It’s since become a worldwide sensation with over 50 locations around the globe.
“I think when Paul originally came to me and talked about doing this concept after we had opened [restaurant] Alma Nove, I wasn’t really into the idea. [But] I realized what a great opportunity it would be to build a business with my family and pass it on to generations…That is the hope and the dream,” Mark shared.
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Rick Ross was such a fan of Wingstop that he decided to become an owner of his own franchise. He quickly expanded his Wingstop empire and at one point reportedly owned 25 franchise locations. He recently even got his son involved, gifting him with his own franchise when he turned 16.
“I just love Wingstop…The energy in here is always fun. It’s always youthful. Not only that, you know they got my favorite lemon pepper wings in the world, so it’s just a natural attraction,” Rick told Forbes.
Venus Williams may be best known for her skills on the tennis court but she’s also an entrepreneur. The athlete owns several Jamba Juice franchise locations, including stores in the Washington D.C. area.
“I share Jamba’s mission to inspire and simplify healthy living and promote a healthy active lifestyle and I am pleased to know this location will have a positive impact on the local community through not only our products, but also through various programs and fundraisers,” Venus said in a statement.
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Since retiring from the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal has made significant investments into the food industry — including ownership of 155 Five Guys restaurants. While he eventually sold his franchises, he now owns several Auntie Anne’s Pretzels locations as well as a Krispy Kreme store. He most recently joined the board of directors at Papa John’s and invested in nine locations near Atlanta.
“I’m a big fan of Papa John’s. I love that they are committed to making pizza with high-quality ingredients – something I got to see firsthand when I made my own pizza called the Shaq-eroni earlier this year as part of the Shaq’s Fun House Event in Atlanta. Beyond the taste, the leadership team was able to help me understand what truly makes the Papa John’s family so special – great people; fresh ingredients; and the vision for the brand going forward,” Shaq said in a statement.
Danny Trejo is the proud owner of Trejo’s Tacos, a fast-casual taco shop that has several locations across Los Angeles. He says the secret to his success as a restaurant owner is simply making food that tastes good and keeps people coming back.
“It’s good food. There’s no secret. Your people will come to your restaurant if you’re a celebrity one time to get a picture or an autograph. But if the food’s not good, they’re not coming back,” Danny told KCRW.
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Scarlett Johansson was once the owner of a gourmet popcorn shop in Paris called Yummy Pop. The actress and her ex-husband Romain Dauriac opened the store in 2016, sharing a variety of flavors of the snack. At the time of its opening, Scarlett said it was a “dream” to bring her “favorite American snack” to her “favorite European City.” Unfortunately, Yummy Pop has since closed its doors.
Back in 2008, Kanye West’s food company KW Foods, LLC opened several Fatburger locations. He received special permission from the west coast based company to bring the franchise across the country. It’s unclear if Kanye is still affiliated with the locations, but several of the original 10 stores are still open.
Chris Brown has been a Burger King franchise owner for almost a decade, at one point purchasing 14 of their locations. Although he’s never elaborated on his franchising efforts, he did once express he was a big fan of burgers — especially after getting out of jail.
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Magic Johnson was an owner of over 100 Starbucks locations from 1998 to 2010 through his company Magic Johnson Enterprises. The retired NBA star struck a “game-changing” deal with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to open the coffee shops in low-income neighborhoods.
“When you think about African Americans now — over $1 trillion spending power — Latinos, over $1 trillion spending power, and moving even higher — there was nobody really building businesses and going after their disposable income. So my company was able to provide jobs and access to these retailers who were not coming in before, but now they hit a home run when we partnered and they came into the inner city,” he shared.
Peyton Manning was once the owner of 31 Papa John’s locations across the United States. He was involved with the franchises for 6 years before eventually selling his stake when the company relinquished its role as the official pizza of the NFL. Despite selling his shares, he remained with the company as spokesperson and brand ambassador.
In 2012, LeBron James became a part-owner in pizza spot Blaze Pizza after he invested $1 million, earning him a 10% stake in the company. It ended up being a worthwhile investment because several years later, his $1 million had become over $25 million.