Frank Carney, who based Pizza Hut in 1958 along with his brother Dan and helped construct it into the world’s largest pizza chain, died on Wednesday at an assisted dwelling facility in Wichita, Kan. He was 82.
The trigger was pneumonia, his brother mentioned. Mr. Carney had not too long ago recovered from Covid-19 and had been affected by Alzheimer’s illness for the final decade.
With $600 borrowed from their mom, the 2 Carney brothers opened the primary Pizza Hut on South Bluff Avenue in downtown Wichita. Frank was 19, a pupil at Wichita College (now Wichita State College) seeking to pay his method by school. Dan was 26, finding out for a grasp’s diploma in enterprise and searching for a promising alternative.
They rented a 600-square-foot constructing with a pointed roof, inspiring Dan’s spouse to recommend the title Pizza Hut. They bought secondhand gear for the kitchen.
On opening evening, they provided free pizza to draw prospects. The restaurant was an instantaneous hit.
The brothers included the corporate the subsequent yr and started to promote franchises. With aggressive advertising and marketing and a give attention to high quality substances and repair, Pizza Hut took off.
Frank turned president of the corporate and joined the Younger Presidents Affiliation to get an intensive primer in govt administration in order that he may construct a strategic plan. He in the end created a standardized system for all franchises, whereas additionally permitting room for the tastes and preferences of native prospects.
The unique Pizza Hut pizza, created by John Bender, a onetime associate with the brothers, was skinny and crispy. A couple of years later Frank developed the restaurant’s signature “unique pan pizza,” a recipe that endured for 4 a long time.
By 1966, there have been 145 Pizza Hut franchises in the US. By 1971, Pizza Hut had emerged because the world’s largest pizza chain, with robust gross sales and 1,000 world retailers. In 1972 the corporate was listed on the New York Inventory Trade, and by 1977, as gross sales reached $436 million (the equal of about $1.9 billion in the present day), there have been greater than 3,400 home and worldwide retailers. That yr the brothers offered the corporate to PepsiCo for $300 million.
Frank Carney left the corporate in 1980 and launched into a lot of totally different enterprise ventures as an investor and mentor, together with actual property, oil and fuel, and different meals enterprises, most of which failed. “Frank was a really pushed individual,” Dan Carney mentioned. “He would choose up an thought and run with it. You simply don’t win each time.”
Frank Lawrence Carney was born on April 26, 1938, in Wichita, one in every of seven kids of Michael and Mary Frances Carney. His father labored in a meatpacking plant and later opened a nook grocery, the place all of the family members finally labored. When his father died at 46, his mom took over the shop.
Mr. Carney attended Wichita College from 1956 to 1961, however his full-time job at Pizza Hut precluded him from ending his diploma. Citing a promise his mom had made to his father earlier than he died, that each one seven kids would graduate from school, Mr. Carney returned in 1999 and acquired a bachelor’s diploma on the whole research in 2000. (The unique Pizza Hut constructing was moved onto the campus in 1986 as a tribute to the corporate and the Carney brothers.)
Mr. Carney, a runner and an train buff, was married 3 times. Along with his brother Dan, survivors embrace his spouse, Janie Carney; eight kids from his earlier marriages; two extra brothers; three sisters; and 11 grandchildren.
By 1993, the thousands and thousands Frank Carney had created from Pizza Hut have been misplaced to his failed ventures. “I by no means thought it could prove as disastrous because it did,” he mentioned in a 2002 interview with Pizza Market, an trade information web site. “It’s very anxious while you discover out that you just’re not as good as you thought you have been.”
He sought a place at Pizza Hut however was sad with the supply he acquired. As a substitute, in 1994 he turned a franchise proprietor of Papa John’s, a serious competitor to Pizza Hut. His embrace of a rival displeased his brother — however, as Dan Carney mentioned, he “did what he needed.”
In 1997 Frank Carney starred in a tv business for Papa John’s. Talking to a bunch of actors portraying Pizza Hut franchisees at a conference, he mentioned, “Sorry, guys; I discovered a greater pizza.” The advert triggered a long-term feud and lawsuits between the chains, the web site Psychological Floss wrote in 2015.
By 2001 Mr. Carney had grown his Papa John’s franchise operation to 133 areas across the U.S., together with a number of in Wichita.
“I’m only a common man who labored good and made some L.U.C.Ok. — L.U.C.Ok. means Laboring Below Right Data,” Frank Carney as soon as mentioned, in line with the web site Franchisopedia.com. “Once you work laborious and good, you get fortunate. To construct a profitable, rising enterprise, you want all of the luck you may get.”