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Restaurateur's best year: Haynie cooks up a winner with KFC, Mexico Chiquito.

JERRY HAYNIE HAS WITNESSED from the start "one of those food miracles."

In 1964, Haynie began his association with the KFC Corp., the company that owns the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises.

The company's eccentric founder, Col. Harland Sanders, had just sold his humble-beginnings company to owners who would build it into a world-famous food empire.

Haynie started KFC's first training school in Louisville, Ky., for prospective franchisees. He operated "KFC University," as it was known, until 1968 when he moved to Arkansas to start his own mini-empire.

Back then, Haynie says the KFC chain was in a "peak expansion mode," with restaurants cropping up at the rate of 500 a year.

Nearly 15 years later, he owns 17 of the approximately 75 KFC locations in Arkansas.

Just as he saw early on that fast food was a wave of the future, Haynie saw another trend catching on in the late 1970s -- a growing fondness for Mexican food.

So, Haynie bought the popular Mexico Chiquito restaurant at North Little Rock's Protho Junction. He has expanded Mexico Chiquito into three other central Arkansas locations and has plans for further growth statewide.

Haynie's combined business ventures are known as the Haynie Co.s, of which he is president of the KFC and Mexico Chiquito divisions. With more than $20 million in sales, the past year was a record-breaking one for the Haynie Cos.

One KFC improvement, introduced this year, that Haynie says has boosted sales and enlivened the restaurant's offerings is the buffet has allowed the restaurant to introduce more variety and healthier items.

Haynie helped pioneer KFC's buffet and persuaded other franchisees and the KFC Corp. to adopt the concept, which is now a feature in about 1,000 restaurants worldwide.

"It's something that originated from the ranks of the franchisee, rather than the parent company," Haynie says.

Haynie oversees about 1,000 employees. Many of his management-level employees have been with the company 17-25 years.

He says he believes firmly in "getting the right people to put in the right place" and giving them plenty of freedom to make decisions.

"We try to give that individual store manager as much power as we can to make individual store decisions and, hopefully, he's going to do a better job because of it," Haynie says.
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Title Annotation:Arkansas Business of the Year Awards 1992: Business Executive of the Year; Jerry Haynie, owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken Corp. franchises and Mexico Chiquito restaurant
Author:Walters, Dixie
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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