A critical alliance.

Author:Graves, Earl G.
Position:African American owners of business franchises - Column

Few industries have symbolized access to entrepreneurial opportunity the way franchising has during the last decade. Franchisees turned BLACK ENTERPRISE 100s company owners range from Lonear Heard, who owns a string of McDonald's restaurants in Los Angeles, to Brady Keys, the former football star who once owned several Burger King outlets in the Detroit area and still owns several Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants in Georgia. Dozens of other African-American franchise owners are prominent examples of franchising's heralded propensity for creating black millionaires.

Yet, there is a downside to the highly visible African-American success stories in franchising. The hard fact is that all minorities, including blacks, comprise less than 3% of the $758 billion franchise industry. Blacks comprise only 5% of the 1992 BE FRANCHISE 50, our annual list of the top performing companies, when it comes to black ownership, of their respective franchise units. While several companies, including McDonald's Corp. and Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp., have prospered through aggressive pursuit of minority franchise owners, a significant number of these companies have failed to recognize the value of diversifying their franchise ownership base.

Fortunately, franchise industry leaders have recognized that the industry cannot sustain the rapid expansion of the past decade without...

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