Celebs Who Own Fast Food Restaurants And You Had No Idea

It's easy to think of celebrities as being all about champagne and caviar. The bigger the star, the more likely we are to imagine them as having a 5-star palate and only eating the finest (and most expensive) foods. It might surprise you to know that there are actually a ton of celebs who own their own fast food restaurants. Some have invested in existing restaurants by buying franchises, and others are pioneering their own way by coming out with brand-new concepts.

More than a few stars have hopped onto the ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant world, while others are exploring plant-based fast food options for the health-conscious among us. Stars of all kinds from rappers to famous athletes have dipped their toes into the world of fast food restaurant ownership. Read on to learn what celebrities have been quietly cashing in on the world of fast food.

Shaquille O'Neal

Considered by some to be the "king of franchises," Shaquille O'Neal has been very successful at parlaying his substantial earnings from playing basketball into restaurant ownership. Sure, we're used to seeing his face in commercials for The General Insurance and Papa John's, one of the most popular pizza chains in America, but what most people don't know is that Shaq has owned over a hundred various fast food franchises.

His largest holding was in Five Guys restaurants, where he invested in 155 franchises (around 10% of the entire company) in various locations nationwide. He also owns nine Papa John's franchises (he's also the spokesperson for the company) and once owned 17 Auntie Anne's Pretzels locations. He's since turned much of his attention to a new fast food venture: Big Chicken. 

Shaq is estimated to have a net worth of around $400 million, in large part from these investments, notes El Pais.

Lebron James

Lebron James isn't just one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he's also one of the most financially successful and has a net worth valued at over a billion dollars. He didn't make all that money on the court, though it may have started there. After cashing in big with some heavy equity stakes in companies like Beats by Dre, the basketball star started investing in restaurants.

According to Basketball News, James and his investment group put money into Blaze Pizza, a fast-casual pizza chain with locations across the country. He has a 10% stake in the company and owns 19 franchise locations. Forbes has called Blaze Pizza the "fastest-growing pizza chain in the U.S.," and it's known for serving up high-quality brick oven pizzas.

Danny Trejo

Danny Trejo is one of those actors that's been in a million films and TV shows, but you can't quite put your finger on exactly what you remember him from. On the screen, he's known for portraying tough guys and seedy characters, but off-screen, he's opening locations of his ultra-popular (and quintessentially L.A.) donut and taco concepts. Trejo's Donuts and Trejo's Tacos are known throughout L.A. for their delicious offerings spiced with Mexican flavors.

Trejo first opened Trejo's Tacos, followed quickly by a few other concepts like Trejo's Truck and Trejo's Cantina. The success of each has spurred growth and his empire has grown to include eight restaurants and locations. Next on tap, he has plans to open more locations in Las Vegas and New York (via Eater).

Venus Williams

Some athletes are happy to endorse any product that can make them a chunk of change. Others, like Venus Williams, prefer to put their money into something they themselves would actually eat. According to Washington Business Journal, Williams owns four locations of the smoothie shop chain, Jamba Juice. It's not just business to the tennis star, who has been spotted enjoying Jamba Juice on numerous occasions.

Venus Williams, who is also a spokesperson for Jamba Juice, drinks fresh juices often to refuel after a tough workout. She chose Washington, D.C., as the hub for her franchise locations after many years of philanthropic work in the city. It's a labor of passion for Williams, notes Black Enterprise, who believes that her work with Jamba Juice is "an extension of my commitment to fight against obesity."

Kim Kardashian

The queen of business and investment herself, Kim Kardashian is known for putting her name and brand in just about every sector of commercial enterprise out there. While she is mostly known for her work in the beauty and lifestyle space, she's also been known to dabble in fast food. Even though it's hard to imagine her coming within a hundred feet of a cheeseburger, Kardashian is the proud owner of at least 10 Burger King locations across Europe.

It's hard to say whether this is a business she is proud to be involved in, but what is known is that rapper Kanye West (Kardashian's ex-husband) purchased the franchises as a gift for her right after they were married. Even though she's not likely to be caught dead in a Burger King, we're sure she's happy to collect those burger profits (and who wouldn't be?).

Chris Brown

What's left for a disgraced rapper to do once the record deals have stopped coming in? For Chris Brown, apparently, it's investing in Burger King franchises. The celebrity best remembered for domestic violence against his then-girlfriend Rihanna keeps his fast-food venture mostly under wraps, but he is the owner of 14 Burger King locations (but could own as many as 58, according to Wack 100).

Even though this star doesn't eat beef or pork himself, franchises can still be great investments — if you've got the cash. Opening a Burger King location requires that you have at least $500,000 in liquid cash as well as an additional $1.5 million in total net worth. It may not be as glamorous, but it's clearly working for many celebrities.

Kanye West

It's practically a right of passage for rappers to invest in burger joints at this point. Kanye West is no different, who recently bought 10 Fatburger franchises around the Chicago area, reports Essence. West is from Chicago and has made no secret that the "Windy City" has his heart. He spends time between Chicago and L.A., where his children live. Obviously, fast food isn't the only market Ye's invested in, which includes various clothing and apparel brands.

Fatburger is a part of FAT Brands, a global franchising company, that also owns brands like Johnny Rockets and Round Table Pizza. Investing in a Fatburger franchise requires having a net worth of at least $1.5 million and $500,000 in liquid cash. Luckily, a juicy burger won't set you back nearly as much!

Rick Ross

Florida native Rick Ross has been working on so much more than just great beats. He has been scooping franchises of the popular Southern burger chain Checkers and Rally's in and around the Miami area. Originally two different restaurants, Checkers and Rally's merged in 1999. Each offers the same menu under the two names depending on the region. The fast food chain is known for its burgers, seasoned fries, hot dogs, and milkshakes.

The venture is a labor of love for the rapper who grew up eating Checkers and would save money from his high school job to be able to afford a snack from the popular restaurant. One of the franchise locations he's invested in is actually across the street from where he went to high school.

Not limited to burgers and fries, Ross also owns a reported 30 Wingstop locations. 

Kevin Hart

It's not all about franchises. Some celebrities are passionate about opening brand-new fast food concepts with values close to their heart. Kevin Hart is one of those celebrities, who opened his plant-based fast food concept Hart House in 2022. The restaurant debuted near LAX airport, and now boasts four restaurants total around in California.

Hart House offers everything you would expect from a deluxe fast food restaurant, serving everything from juicy burgers to chicken(ish) sandwiches to creamy milkshakes — all vegan or vegetarian. There are also tiny kale salads for diners who want to skip the side of fries. While Hart doesn't eat exclusively vegan himself, he does avoid red meat and dairy. Bringing great-tasting plant-based food at an affordable price point was the main motivation behind the development of this exciting new venture for him.

Wiz Khalifa

It's not all about franchises when it comes to rappers and fast food. Some famous musicians use their fame and fortune to strike out on their own with a brand-new concept. That's exactly what rapper Wiz Khalifa has done with his new fast food concept HotBox. HotBox is a virtual restaurant with no locations you can actually visit. Instead, it's a delivery-only concept that operates out of various restaurant partners it uses to produce the food.

Everything on the menu is a hot take on classic comfort food, with items like the "Blazed OG Fried Chicken Sandwich" or the "Mac and Yellow," a macaroni and cheese dish. HotBox is opening in new locations and cities constantly and is available through delivery apps like GrubHub and Postmates.

Notably, Khalifa is also attached to another virtual restaurant, Packed Bowls.

DJ Khaled

Another rapper who has jumped on the bandwagon of opening fast food concepts is DJ Khaled, who opened a wing restaurant called Another Wing. It's not just one location, however. Just like Wiz Khalifa's restaurant concept, Another Wing is operated in ghost kitchens. This allowed the brand to open 150 locations (in five countries) simultaneously at launch.

Another Wing offers — you guessed it — wings with sauces, dips, and sides. The prices are affordable and the colors are bright. Khaled partnered with ghost kitchen operator Reef Technology to develop the menu and design the concept. This kind of virtual kitchen is all the rage among celebrity investors who want to capitalize on their name while ultimately being mostly hands-off when it comes to day-to-day operations.

Phil Mickelson

Master golfer Phil Mickelson is another famous person who has invested in Five Guys restaurants. This popular fast food chain serves up burgers, hot dogs, and fries that you can have your way by offering a choice of 15 toppings with no extra fee. Mickelson has spoken to the press about his preference for Five Guys over cult-favorite In-N-Out, but wasn't exactly forthcoming that he has a stake in this game.

Mickelson's Five Guys locations are located in Orange County, California. Southern California is a tough market for burger joints because the competition is fierce, but that did not scare the two-time Masters champion. Five Guys offers competitive franchisee terms but a location will still run you back at least a cool $300,000.

Peyton Manning

When you see a celebrity pop up in a commercial for a fast food establishment, it's fair to assume they have some involvement with the company. Celebrity spokespeople have been used by restaurants of all kinds to bring in business and debut new products. Peyton Manning has been seen in Papa John's commercials, but what's less widely known is his past ownership of several Papa John's franchises.

Manning is best known for his incredible career on the football field, where he led multiple teams to championship victories in his position as a quarterback. In total, he owned at least 31 Denver-area Papa John's Pizza locations at one time or another. His interest in the company coincides with a partnership between Papa John's and the NFL.


Move over Kiki, Drake has a new hot chick in his sights. It's actually hot chicken that has the rap superstar turning his head. Drake is a major investor in the fast food chain Dave's Hot Chicken. The partnership started when the chicken chain catered a party of Drake's; the two teams connected and the rest is history.

Dave's Hot Chicken has sold more than 500 franchise licenses, and some of them have been to other celebrities, like Samuel L. Jackson. The exact number of restaurants that Drake owns is unknown, though he is one of the largest individual investors, according to Restaurant Business. The added boost in business from Drake's celebrity status has propelled the chain to a whole new level of popularity in recent years.


There's just something about musicians and Fatburger. So many rappers have invested in franchise locations of the popular burger chain, including rapper, singer, and producer Pharrell. As the brand aims to set up shops in Asia, Pharrell has partnered with them to bring 10 locations in and around China. One location is in Macao at the glitzy and glamorous Venetian hotel and casino.

Ever since Fatburger first opened in South Los Angeles in 1947, there's been a long-standing love affair between the burger chain and the Black community. Even rapper Ice Cube sings about Fatburger in his iconic song, "It Was A Good Day." It just goes to show that good business always stems from investing in things you truly love and believe in.

Queen Latifa

It's no secret that celebrities will attach their name to anything if the price is right. It doesn't matter to some if their values seem to contradict, though it may raise some eyebrows. That's exactly what happened to Queen Latifa, who owns several Fatburger franchises in the Miami area. This ownership came about at the same time that the star signed a contract with Jenny Craig to be a spokesperson for the company.

Jenny Craig is a health and weight-loss company that offers pre-portioned meals delivered to your door. It's a far cry from Fatburger, which serves up triple and quadruple decker burgers loaded high with condiments and toppings. Perhaps to Latifa, it's just business, but it doesn't look great for potential Jenny Craig customers.

Drew Brees

Drew Brees, the now-retired New Orleans Saints quarterback, has been busy now that he's off the field. The football star has capitalized on the superfood movement with an ownership deal of health-food-meets-fast-food restaurants, everbowl. The company was founded in California (no surprise there) and aims to serve custom fruit bowls and grab-and-go salads to people looking for a quick and healthy bite on the go.

In total, Brees owns around 150 locations of everbowl in Tennessee, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Louisiana. Even though Californians are no strangers to superfood ingredients like açaí, everbowl, along with Brees, have been paying the way in areas of the Midwest where fresh, healthy ingredients can be harder to come by. It goes to show that people from all areas of the country are looking for great, healthy food, fast.

Magic Johnson

Possibly one of the greatest athletes of all time, Magic Johnson now spends his days as an advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention and investing in lucrative business deals. Johnson had the idea to bring Starbucks to underserved inner cities and went directly to then-CEO Howard Schultz to convince him of the potential of this untapped market.

Now, Johnson owns 125 locations of Starbucks coffee shops, each more successful than the last. He also counts several Burger King restaurants, movie theaters, insurance brokerages, and gyms in his vast portfolio. His secret to success? Knowing what the customer wants. He enticed people who would never have stepped foot in a Starbucks to come in by having "familiar foods in the snack case [and] the right music playing and the right atmosphere," (via Precinct Reporter Group).