Clinton Lewis, 44, went from employed to employer.
Lewis is living his dream as the owner of three KFC storefronts in Baltimore, Maryland. After working for the company as a cook at 16 years old in Spanish Harlem, Lewis remained with the company, leading to him owning his own franchises.
Lewis’s success came after years of hard work. According to AfroTech, he served as an area manager for KFC for eight years. In 2011, he also assumed the role of the director of operations for KEDIS Enterprises.
Lewis was raised by his mother, Shirley Lewis, the mother of 10 children. His grandparents worked tirelessly to move their family from Belize to the United States in 1989. The franchise owner detailed the high crime and drug use in Harlem, New York. However, he said, “… The work ethics — which my grandfather instilled in us — kept me on a straight arrow. Also, seeing how hard my working mother, as a single mom, took care of us.”
When Lewis first began working at KFC, it was only a year later that he was promoted to shift manager by Alvin Borrow. Despite having a busy shift and a flood of customers, Lewis kept his team on track and the customers satisfied. Lewis’s work ethic did not go unnoticed by KFC Regional Director Scott Waters. “Customers didn’t notice that we were short-staffed. And who popped in was the regional director at that time, and he was so inspired by the way I handled my shift and how I communicated so well with my team members that he recognized me,” Lewis said.
A year later, Lewis became a general manager for KFC. He remained in that position from 1999 to 2003. “I started to more understand the business in terms of the sales we generate, the profits, and the inner workings of the KFC brand. Then I said to myself, ‘Someday I can see myself owning a few of these’ and that has always been my goal since then,” Lewis said.
As Lewis continues to succeed in the entrepreneurial arena, he has plans to reinvest in the communities around his KFC stores by opening more locations in the Baltimore area to provide jobs. Lewis believes KFC’s educational programs allow team members to pursue their goals.
Lewis is currently a member of the KFC Foundation’s Board of Directors.