Daniel M. Carney of Pizza Hut

Dan had studied business at Wichita State University in their hometown. While interrupting his education to serve in the U.S. Air Force, Dan studied the early successes of fast-food pioneers McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, and noted the increasing popularity of pizza, before returning to Wichita State to complete his degree.

In 1958, after borrowing $600 from their mother, Carney and his younger brother, Frank, decided to open up their own pizza restaurant. The brothers purchased second hand equipment but really had no idea how to make pizza.

The Dan and his brother managed to find someone to teach them how to make pizza only two weeks before their first store opened, they met a man named John Bender, who had a pizza recipe. They tried Bender’s mixture, liked it and included him in their business venture. Pizza Hut was born.

Pizza Hut became one of the most successful restaurants in Wichita and expanded rapidly. Within 10 years of the company's founding, the Carney brothers had grown their single outlet to over 300 stores, with the stores' red roof becoming a logo and eventually an icon.

In 1968, the first international Pizza Hut opened in Canada. That same year Pizza Hut went to the open market with a public offering. In 1971, it became the world leader in pizza sales and number of restaurants. Despite their lack of basic knowledge about pizza and business in general, Dan and Frank Carney by 1977 had molded their business into an empire of more 4,000 outlets with annual sales in the billions.

It still remains the largest pizza chain in the world. In 1977, the company was purchased by food giant PepsiCo. In October 1997, PepsiCo founded Tricon and transferred control of Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell chains to it.
Daniel M. Carney of Pizza Hut
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Reuters: Business News