- Some athletes retire and go into business. These 13 athletes now find success in the food and beverage industry.
- Former NBA player Mike Miller owns 10 BugerFi locations.
- San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman owns two Wingstop locations in Seattle.
- Former NHL player Cory Stillman owns Firehouse Subs restaurants.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Whether they’re in the NBA, NFL, NHL, or MLB, quite a few athletes have invested in different fast-food businesses and franchises. San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman owns two Wingstop locations in Seattle, Washington, while former NBA player Mike Miller owns 10 BugerFi locations.
Here are 13 athletes who are now investors in fast-food franchises, from Dunkin’ to Auntie Anne’s.
Former NBA player Mike Miller owns 10 BugerFi locations.
Former NBA champ Mike Miller ended his career with the Denver Nuggets in 2017. Now, he’s an owner of the all-natural, fast-casual burger joint BurgerFi.
“I was first introduced to the BurgerFi concept when one of my partners became a franchisee in Alabama,” he told INSIDER. “BurgerFi was one of the only brands in the better burger industry to serve the top 1% of certified, American Black Angus beef raised without the routine use of antibiotics. Proper nutrition and clean eating has always been an important aspect in my life as a former NBA athlete, so BurgerFi’s ethos spoke to me. After I continuously found myself eating at BurgerFi, I decided to take over my partner’s store in Alabama. The rest is history.”
Currently, Miller owns 10 BugerFi locations in Nebraska, Kentucky, Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. He is also the assistant coach of the Memphis Tigers, the University of Memphis’ men’s basketball team.
San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman owns two Wingstop locations in Seattle.
Drafted in 2011, cornerback and Super Bowl champ Richard Sherman has been keeping busy both on and off the field. Opening his first Wingstop location in 2016, the celebrated athlete found inspiration in opening up a Wingstop franchise after his former teammate Sidney Rice invested.
Sherman now owns two locations in the Seattle area.
Former NFL player Sidney Rice also owns Wingstop locations.
Super Bowl champ and former wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, Sidney Rice has taken his incredible talents to the food industry. Opening his first Wingstop location in the Seattle area in 2013, Rice has gone on to open six locations over the years and even has a Drip City Coffee location, too.
In addition to his food and beverage ventures, Rice works within the real estate and technology spectrums.
Former NFL player Kris Brown owns Dunkin’ franchises.
It’s been almost a decade since Kris Brown left the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy. Initially partnering with a former Houston teammate to franchise Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Doughnuts) stores, Brown has since taken the reigns and found major success with the brand in both Kansas City and Omaha. And he even has territorial rights to those two markets.
“Going from sports to franchising was a natural transition,” he told INSIDER. “There are a lot of qualities you must have to succeed as an athlete. You have to know how to work and work hard, but running a franchise is really about following the operational manual, which tells you, ‘This is how to run the business.'”
Brown is the owner and CEO of the Berliner Group, which has 12 Dunkin’ shops currently open and is under contract to open a total of 21 stores.
Former NFL player Calvin Johnson helped launch Auntie Anne’s first food truck.
Playing for the Detroit Lions throughout his entire professional career (from 2007 to 2015), former wide receiver Calvin Johnson may be known for breaking records season after season while playing football, but he’s also done some damage off the field, too.
Launching food brand Auntie Anne’s first food truck in 2017, Johnson has yet again made history. Covering all of Atlanta, his involvement helped place Auntie Anne’s onto the food truck scene and is often seen at different events throughout the city. Since his launching of the pretzel truck, the brand has debuted a little more than two dozen additional trucks in various states.
Former MLB player Adrian Gonzalez is a franchisee in Jersey Mike’s Subs.
Five-team MLB All-Star Adrian Gonzalez has spent over a decade making his name in the league, and now he’ll be doing the same in the food industry. He told INSIDER he discovered a franchising opportunity with Jersey Mike’s Subs in 2015.
“Jersey Mike’s makes the best sub sandwiches out there, but that’s not the only reason I decided to franchise with the brand,” he said. “I believe above all else that if you’re going to invest in something, you have to believe in the product and brand as a whole. Jersey Mike’s Culture of Giving – the belief that making a great sub sandwich and making a difference can be one in the same – resonated with me from the beginning of my journey with the brand and has served as my guide while building my own company.”
Gonzalez now owns six locations throughout Oceanside Carlsbad and Encinitas, California, and generates $US7.8 million in annual revenue.
Former NFL player Angelo Crowell also has gone in on Jersey Mike’s Subs.
Since ending his stint with the NFL in 2013, former linebacker Angelo Crowell has gone on to be a successful franchisee of Jersey Mike’s Subs. Opening up the first location near a college campus (Florida State University), Crowell’s opening became the most successful in the history of the company.
“My brother asked me what would I do if football ended today. I didn’t have an answer for him,” he said to INSIDER. “He told me I needed to get an answer and start working on my transition plan – now. That conversation started my thought process on what my next step would be when the game ended. When I started looking into franchising, the franchise models that were hot at the time were not going the way of the world. People were wanting healthier and fresher. I was already a fan of Jersey Mike’s, and once I understood the business model it just connected for us.”
Crowell now owns 15 Jersey Mike’s locations and has another 14 in development.
Marques Colston once played for the New Orleans Saints, and now he’s a part owner in Main Squeeze Juice Co.
If you’re a fan of the NFL, then you’ve probably had the pleasure of seeing former New Orleans Saints Marques Colston dominate on the field from 2006 to 2015. Although he’s no longer running plays with his team, Colston – along with his wife – are still making great plays. Now part-owners of Main Squeeze Juice Co., the duo is on their way to taking over the health community.
“After 10 years with the Saints, my wife and I desired to invest back into Louisiana,” said Colston. “As I made the transition from football into business, franchising was something that we’ve always had an interest in and searched for the right opportunity. When we discovered Main Squeeze Juice Co. in 2018, it was a perfect fit, as they have the same philosophy: doing well by doing good. Since partnering in May 2018, my wife and I have part ownership of the brand and serve on the board of directors and executive board for the emerging fast-casual.”
Former NFL player Vernon Davis now owns Jamba Juice franchises.
Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis has a franchise with Jamba Juice.
“Jamba Juice is an iconic brand that, like me, cares about helping others live a healthier, higher quality life,” said Davis. “I honestly couldn’t be more excited about partnering with Mohamed, expanding my relationship with Jamba Juice and, of course, bringing more of the fresh fruit and vegetable goodness of Jamba to my hometown.”
Davis owns five Jamba Juice franchises in Northern California and is expected to open six additional locations in Northern Virginia with his partner, NFL player Mohamed Sanu.
Atlanta Falcons player Mohamed Sanu is also a Jamba Juice franchisee.
Along with Davis, Atlanta Falcons player Mohamed Sanu has become a franchisee of Jamba Juice. He even told INSIDER that franchising is “well-suited to the skill sets of professional athletes.”
“Over the past decade or so, pro athletes have become a rising presence in the franchise world,” he said. “We’re executors who are comfortable working within the confines of an established system and executing a playbook. Like an athlete, a franchisee has to come in and execute the game plan.”
Former NHL player on the Carolina Hurricanes Cory Stillman owns Firehouse Subs restaurants.
NFL and NBA players aren’t the only athletes who have gone into the fast-food business. Former NHL player Cory Stillman is a franchisee of the popular sub spot Firehouse Subs with his first location opening in Whitby, Ontario, in 2016.
“Being a professional athlete, I enjoyed meeting new people in the communities where I lived,” he said. “Every time my family moved, it was exciting to go to new places to eat, and Firehouse Subs was a place we always came back to. My business partner Jason Taylor and I looked at many business opportunities before agreeing that Firehouse Subs was the right one for us. The business model and the brand’s commitment to giving back to the community were what attracted us the most.”
Stillman is also the current head coach of Sudbury Wolves OHL team in Sudbury, Ontario, and owns three Firehouse Subs in Ontario.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars player Don Davey also invested in Firehouse Subs and has 10 locations.
Like Stillman, former Jacksonville Jaguars player Don Davey decided to jump into the sub business after his retirement from the league. Opening his first Firehouse Subs in 2002, Davey has grown to have more than 10 locations since.
“Shortly after signing with the Jaguars, I fell in love with the food, culture, and people at a local place called Firehouse Subs,” he said to INSIDER. “My wife used to tell me, ‘You eat at that place so often, you might as well own one!’ Now we have more than 30 of them in Central Florida and Wisconsin.”
Davey own 12 locations in Central Florida, three in Wisconsin, and – with his team – manages an area that includes 14 independent franchises all over Wisconsin.
Former NFL player Billy Bajema now is a franchisee in Pie Five Pizza.
It’s been a few years since you’ve seen tight end player Billy Bajema play for teams like the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens, but the former Super Bowl champ isn’t missing out on any wins. Now a franchisee of the Pie Five Pizza restaurant, Bajema has found success in his new hustle as a food entrepreneur.
“I looked at franchises when I retired from the NFL after the 2013 season and was very impressed with Pie Five,” Bajema said. “They had a fantastic product and business model that I was excited to join. Pie Five was leading in the emerging fast-casual pizza market and I loved the idea of being able to bring their excellent product to Oklahoma.”
Opening his first location in 2015, he now owns four locations with the remaining three being located in Moore, Yukon, and Edmond, Oklahoma.
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