It’s safe to say how enthralled we are with the lives of our favorite celebrities. For one reason or another, we seem to be swept away by their charisma, ability to capture large audiences, and usually impressive bank accounts.
However, it’s when professional athletes and Hollywood celebrities transition from simply being a player on the field or the big screen, to becoming an investor or owner in something food-related that shows how business savvy they really are.
With that, here’s a roundup of what food-based franchises professional athletes and entertainers have decided to invest in to keep their money from drying up.
Shaquille O'Neal has carried a plethora of nicknames during his time as a hall of fame NBA player, including, “The Big Aristotle” and “The Big Shaqtus.” However, with his newest acquisition, he may have to settle for, “The Big Krispy Kreme Franchise Owner,” since he just joined the Krispy Kreme family in October 2016. Shaq has never been shy about his love for Krispy Kreme’s delicious and warm glazed donuts, once using Siri on national TV to order a box for Sir Charles Barkley. It’s also known that O'Neal once owned more than 150 Five Guys Burger locations and invested heavily in Auntie Anne's Pretzels.
While the R&B singer is no stranger to controversy, he’s also pretty smart when it comes to investing. It has become public knowledge that Brown owns more than 10 different Burger King restaurants. To be exact, according to US Weekly, Brown owns 14 different Burger King locations. The singer has publicized his role in the company, but oddly has claimed that he does not eat pork or beef. In order to purchase a Burger King, it is estimated that the buyer must pay at least $50,000 up front, and have a minimum of $1.5 million in net worth.
One of the greatest players to step on a tennis court, Venus Williams was born with competition in her blood. In 2016, Venus Williams placed 8th, just missing the Finals during the Wimbledon Tournament, which was her highest finish in 8 years. In 2014, Venus bought her fourth Jamba Juice location in the D.C. area. The Washington Post reported that Jamba Juice locations are a great business plan for athletes, considering their ease of operation and the fact that the stores serves as more of a stop and go, rather than an all day hangout compared to Starbucks.
Known by his stage name, Rick Ross, William Leonard Roberts II, knows how to make a few bucks. While he may rap about some of his investments in his music, in real life, Ross owns more than a handful of WingStop locations. Forbes reported that Ross was the owner of at least 25 different WingStop locations in the southern United States. In addition, he's also diversified and opened a few Rally's/Checkers Hamburgers joints.
Robert De Niro
Even though Nobu isn’t necessarily a fast food spot, there are several locations around the world. Modern day wiseguy and legendary actor Robert De Niro is a co-founder of the popular high-end eatery, and according to CNN Money, De Niro worked with Chef Nobu Matsuhisa to build the worldwide Nobu empire. In 2016, it was reported that both Nobu and De Niro oversee more than 30 different Nobu restaurants around the world.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has to be the definition of an everyday dude. He walks home with fans from practice and does a great job sporting Wrangler Jeans. In 2014, NOLA.com reported that the Super Bowl winning quarterback owned at least five different Jimmy John’s locations across the state and was planning on opening at least 15 more.
The Mark Wahlberg story lives up to the phrase, “started from the bottom.” From Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch to his many box office hits, there’s no ceiling to his success in music or film. That’s probably why he invented his own burger joint. In 2012, the Wahlbergs opened the first Wahlburgers in Massachusetts. Mark brought on his two brothers Donnie and Paul as partners, along with Rick Vanzura, former Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of Panera Bread. Now, according to EATER, the Wahlbergs are preparing to expand the burger franchise into California.
We may know Kanye West for his musical talent or his passion for ranting on any platform. Whatever the case, he’s pretty involved in the fast-food business. The self-proclaimed genius is more business savvy than most people give him credit for. While he’s making millions off his Adidas Yeezy line, the rapper/producer also has his own food company. In 2007, KW Foods LLC reached a partnership with Fatburger to open up nearly one-dozen Fatburger locations in Chicago and other large cities across the United States. While only a few actually opened, the rapper’s success in the burger industry was marred by his inability to keep doors to his franchises open.