Remembering Jerry Richardson, the football star who built Hardee's

Restaurant Rewind: The man knew biscuits and burgers as well as he knew the route to the Super Bowl.

Long before Jerry Richardson rose to prominence as owner of the Carolina Panthers football team, he’d distinguished himself as a pioneer of the fast-food restaurant business.

He not only developed much of the Hardee’s burger chain as a franchisee in the 1960s and '70s, but would go on to oversee such brands as Denny’s, El Pollo Loco and Quincy’s. By the time he retired in 1995, he was responsible for more than 2, 500 restaurants.

Richardson died earlier this month at age 86.  His connection to the restaurant industry had been minimal for nearly the prior two decades, but his mark on the business is indelible.

Join me on this week’s episode of the Restaurant Rewind podcast as we review the career of an early industry star who found fame before and after on the gridiron.

Download this week’s episode of retro-focused Restaurant Rewind from wherever you get your podcasts.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


The Tijuana Flats bankruptcy highlights the dangers of menu miscues

The Bottom Line: The fast-casual chain’s problems following new menu debuts in 2021 and 2022 show that adding new items isn’t always the right idea.


For Papa Johns, the CEO departure came at the wrong time

The Bottom Line: The pizza chain worked to convince franchisees to buy into a massive marketing shift. And then the brand’s CEO left.


Restaurants bring the industry's concerns to Congress

Nearly 600 operators made their case to lawmakers as part of the National Restaurant Association’s Public Affairs Conference.


More from our partners