“When You Work Hard and Smart, You Get Lucky”

(p. A21) Frank Carney, who founded Pizza Hut with his brother Dan and helped build it into the world’s largest pizza chain, died on Wednesday [Dec. 2, 2020] at an assisted living facility in Wichita, Kan.

. . .

Frank Carney left the company in 1980 and as an investor embarked on various business ventures, including real estate, oil and gas, and other food enterprises, most of which failed. “Frank was a very driven person,” Dan Carney said. “He would pick up an idea and run with it. You just don’t win every time.”

. . .

By 1993, the millions Frank Carney had made from Pizza Hut were lost to his failed ventures. “I never thought it would turn out as disastrous as it did,” he said in a 2002 interview with Pizza Marketplace, an industry news website. “It’s very stressful when you find out that you’re not as smart as you thought you were.”

He then sought a position at Pizza Hut but was unhappy with the offer he received. Instead, in 1994, he became a franchise owner of Papa John’s, a major pizza chain competitor. His embrace of a rival displeased his brother — but, as Dan Carney said, he “did what he wanted.”

. . .

“I’m just a regular guy who worked smart and made some L.U.C.K. — L.U.C.K. means Laboring Under Correct Knowledge,” Frank Carney once said, according to the website Franchisopedia.com. “When you work hard and smart, you get lucky. To build a successful, growing business, you need all the luck you can get.”

For the full obituary, see:

Glenn Rifkin. “Frank Carney, 82, Who Turned $600 Into Pizza Hut.” The New York Times (Saturday, December 5, 2020): A21.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.)

(Note: the online version of the obituary was updated Dec. 10, 2020, and has the title “Frank Carney, Co-Founder of Pizza Hut, Dies at 82.”)

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