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5 Celebrities Who Own Franchises

What do Mark Wahlberg, Jimmy Buffet and Venus Williams all have in common? Besides millions of dollars, they’re all proud franchise owners.

By Sarah Brown1851 Franchise Copy Editor
Updated 9:09AM 08/04/21

It’s no secret that many celebrities venture into the world of business as extracurricular activities outside of their primary claims to fame. Although most celebrities attempt to start their own brand, some turn to franchise ownership instead, taking advantage of brand name power and a built-in support system.

Whether the celebrity is a devoted fan of the brand or simply looking for an avenue to increase their wealth, the celebrity/franchisor relationship is usually mutually beneficial, as the franchisor provides a proven formula for success and the celebrity offers a powerful influence for advertising and marketing purposes.

Here are five celebrities who are striving to build franchise empires:

Mark Wahlberg: Wahlburgers

The Wahlberg family is famous for more than just producing a clan of talented singers, actors and film producers. In 2011, Paul, Mark and Donnie Wahlberg opened the first location of their franchised burger joint, Wahlburgers, in Hingham, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. The restaurant began expanding in 2014, and the family used a reality show to promote the brand. The Wahlbergs designed Wahlburgers to have a comfortable atmosphere that appeals to every generation. Paul Wahlberg, the brand’s head chef, shaped the menu based on his father's barbecue grill and homemade French fries.

Venus Williams: Jamba Juice

Professional tennis player Venus Williams fell in love with the Jamba Juice brand when she was looking for healthier eating options. She now owns four locations in the Washington D.C. area. 

When she purchased her fourth location, she told the Washington Business Journal, “I share Jamba's mission to inspire and simplify healthy living and promote a healthy active lifestyle, and I am pleased to know this location will have a positive impact on the local community through not only our products, but also through various programs and fundraisers.”

Chris Brown: Burger King

R&B singer Chris Brown is rumored to own more than 14 Burger King franchises. His endeavors in the fast food industry are no small feat, considering Burger King franchisees must have more than half a million in liquid assets and a net worth of over $1.5 million.

His investment in the brand is likely as close as he will ever get to a Burger King menu, as the singer claims he never eats beef or pork.

Drew Brees: Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John’s has been a favorite of Super Bowl-winning NFL quarterback Drew Brees since he was a college student at Purdue University. Now, he owns at least five Jimmy John’s locations in his team’s home state of Louisiana. Brees reportedly occasionally stops by his stores to grab a bite and take photos with his fans.

Jimmy Buffet: Krispy Kreme

Jimmy Buffet is no stranger to the world of business, having founded the popular Margaritaville Cafe in 1977. But the singer, songwriter, actor and author is also fond of pastries and joined forces with Krispy Kreme’s parent company and other franchisees to create the South Florida Partnership.