JD Draper entered the world of franchising in 1971, as a Burger King franchisee. As his career progressed, eventually becoming the president of operations at V&J Holdings (a Burger King, Auntie Anne’s and Pizza Hut franchisee), he didn’t realize he was raising his son John to follow in his footsteps. In 2015, the father-son duo decided to team up to take on a new concept: Pie Five Pizza. Together, they plan to open 55 locations of the fast-casual pizza chain. Here’s what they’ve learned.
Name: JD Draper and John Draper
Franchise ownedloc: Pie Five Pizza, with 55 planned for Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as Wingstop and Auntie Anne’s locations
How long have you owned a franchise?
JD: I started with Burger King right out of college in 1971. I eventually joined V&J Holding Company, a minority owned franchise group, where I worked my way up over the next two decades.
John: It sometimes feels like I grew up doing this. As a kid I recall riding in the car with dad as he’d visit his restaurants, but I never saw myself following his path. I started my own restaurant career in 2005 and opened my first Wingstop in 2011.
JD: Franchising offers the best of both worlds. You’re in business for yourself, but not by yourself. With the right partner you can run your restaurants, yet still get vital support from the company in areas such as operations, marketing, and training. While you still have the opportunity to advance, expand and control your own destiny, franchising takes some of the risks off the table because you’re partnering with a company that is invested in your business and offers high level support.