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Famous Franchisee: The Multitalented Rick Ross

The famous rapper, born William Leonard Roberts II, brings creative energy, charisma, and a keen marketing instinct to his multi-brand portfolio that includes Wingstop and Checkers and Rally’s.

There are a few things you might not know about rapper Rick Ross: First, that his full name is William Leonard Roberts II; and second, that his business portfolio extends to the world of franchising with brands such as Wingstop and Checkers* and Rally’s. 

While Ross’ love for the popular chicken chain is well-documented in his discography, what’s less documented is that he’s since put (and made) his money where his mouth is—Ross made about $7 million from his Wingstop franchises in 2014, according to a 2016 report in The Source. Ross’ professed love for the product in which he’s invested is a key aspect to his success, as the rapper has lauded Wingstop on social media—and with more than 4.5 million followers on Twitter, he’s in a strong position to amplify and promote the brand.  

“I just love Wingstop,” Ross told Forbes in a 2014 interview from one of his restaurants. “As you can see, the energy in here is always fun. It’s always youthful. Not only that, you know they got my favorite lemon pepper wings in the world, so it’s just a natural attraction.” 

It’s clear that Ross is an ideal ambassador for the brand. The rapper’s success as a Wingstop franchisee, however, has been shadowed by one unfortunate incident: January 2018, an aspiring rapper allegedly robbed a Memphis Wingstop in the hopes it would get him attention from the rapper himself. Still, the rapper’s experience with Wingstop has been positive, and Ross continues to be an important member of the brand, not least because of the visibility that he brings to the company.

“He has a strong connection with our core consumer, who is young, millennial, and follows Rick Ross and artists like him,” Wingstop CEO Charlie Morrison said of Ross in a March 2018 interview with the Associated Press. “He’s always very engaging and very supportive of the brand. He might be at a boxing match or one of his concerts or somewhere else and he almost always has a Wingstop cup in his hand. It keeps us relevant.”

Ross expanded his franchise portfolio in 2017 with the purchase of the Checkers location he frequented in his youth in Carol City, Florida. 

In a 2017 video interview with Uproxx, Ross explained his decision to purchase the existing location due to the impact the city in the greater Miami area had on his upbringing and future success. 

“What made me come back and buy Checkers, I had a lot of reasons,” Ross said. “Providing jobs, investing back into the community, staying in touch with where you’re from. We can come back and say that a piece of this is ours. Carol City, the city of Miami, is going to be proud.”

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.