Lincoln Kennedy

Former NFL Player Lincoln Kennedy Finds Success With Angry Crab Shack Franchise

The father of three believes that food brings people together and promotes love.

After retiring from the NFL in 2004, Lincoln Kennedy, who played for the Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders, relocated to Phoenix. There, he became active in the NFL Retired Players Association, where he crossed paths with Ron Lou, the founder of Angry Crab Shack and another former NFL player.

Kennedy had previous experience in restaurant franchising. In 1997, he owned both a Subway and Blimpie sandwich shop and decided to acquire a small Italian restaurant to add to his portfolio. He immediately saw the potential of Angry Crab Shack.

“I learned early on that the food business can be very tricky and needs to be monitored all the time. People like to feed other people and sometimes employees want to give free food away. Not a good business practice. I felt that if I ever got back into the food business, I would be more involved in watching and learning how to manage it better. I also learned lessons about overhead and supply lines,” Kennedy shared with BLACK ENTERPRISE.

He continued, “Although I am not managing day-to-day operations with my current restaurants, I’ve learned enough about the business to pay enough attention to the details so I can be involved with major decisions and marketing. I’ve also learned the importance of paying attention to trends and key times during the year to make a greater impression upon the communities our restaurants are located in. I’m really big on community involvement.”

With his experience in franchise and independent food businesses, Kennedy recognized how quickly the Angry Crab Shack franchise was growing and wanted in.

“At first, I got involved with the corporate side. I was bringing in potential investors. Ron (CEO) and Andy Diamond (president) expressed they wanted to start franchising the Angry Crab Shack brand, and I wanted to help,” said Kennedy.

He added, “A few years later, I saw an opportunity to get involved with a franchise in Phoenix. We took over an old Applebee’s and flipped it into an Angry Crab Shack. Our Norterra location was a great find. The location, as well as the popularity and reputation of the Angry Crab Shack brand, really took off, and I started making residual income. What’s not to like about that?”

Then came expansion. “From there, I decided to try and open more. Since then, I’ve opened in Vegas, and I’m currently working on opening a few more in the future,” he said. “I wanted a business in the communities I live and work in. Food brings people together and makes people happy. I like doing that. Besides, I wanted residual income once I retire from broadcasting.”

For Kennedy, the most rewarding part of running his business is witnessing the smiles on people’s faces as they enjoy the unique and fully customizable dining experience at Angry Crab Shack. The father of three believes that food brings people together and promotes love, further enhancing his commitment to the community and to creating memorable experiences for his guests.

Kennedy’s commitment to giving back to the community is ingrained in everything he does, and he is a staunch supporter of education, regularly contributing to local school districts and providing discounts to teachers and students. Additionally, he actively supports children’s hospitals and acknowledges the invaluable contributions of first responders. Along with Kennedy’s efforts and other franchise partners, Angry Crab Shack has surpassed $1 million in charitable donations to various philanthropic organizations.

Kennedy’s advice for potential entrepreneurs looking to get into franchising is, “First, do your research on what you want to open and where it will be located. If it’s in the food industry then location, location, location is absolutely important. Also, understanding the food industry itself is important. Read as much as possible about some of the stories of existing business owners in the field you’re interested in.”

This is solid advice from Kennedy as he has owned an insurance agency and a cigar company, along with his restaurants. And he is still looking for more ventures. “I am currently looking for more opportunities,” he revealed. “Diversify your portfolio as much as possible and never be afraid to learn more about something new.”

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