Culver's: Craig Culver
Craig Culver says that when he opened the first Culver’s restaurant in a small Wisconsin town, there were three cars in the parking lot on a good day – and two of them were his family’s. Those early years of selling frozen custard and ButterBurgers were hard, but the business was in Craig’s blood. He grew up working in restaurants run by his parents, and Culver’s was a family affair too—one that was more challenging to run than a typical burger joint because of its large menu, with pot roast, soups, and fried fish. The restaurant wasn’t supposed to grow into a behemoth chain, but it franchised quickly, and today there are nearly 900 across the country. On a per-restaurant basis, it’s one of the most profitable quick service restaurants in the country.