Meet Chuck Cooper, CFE (Certified Franchise Executive)
Chuck has been a senior executive in the restaurant industry for 22 years. Prior to his career in the restaurant industry, Chuck was a senior executive in the healthcare sector for 11 years. He has a wide range of experience as a Franchisor of Lee’s Famous Recipe ® Chicken; and Franchisee of several brands, including Lee’s, Pizza Hut and Bruster’s Ice Cream. He is currently the President and CEO of Famous Recipe Group, LLC – the owner of the Lee’s Famous Recipe ® Chicken brand. The company maintains both a regional and international presence, and has 131 restaurants in the US and Canada. Under Chuck’s leadership, Lee’s has experienced of same store sales growth in 38 out of 42 of the previous quarters, and was named in the “Next 20 – Brands poised to break the top 200 chains” by Nation’s Restaurant News in 2016. Lee’s has been in the Top 200 Restaurant Chain category for the past 3 years. System sales in 2019 were $170,000,000.
Chuck has been leading the Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken brand for 17 years and is responsible for the company’s overall direction. Chuck also serves as the Chairman for the related entity, Lee’s Famous Recipe Advertising Cooperative, Inc.
Mr. Cooper holds a “CFE” designation – a Certified Franchise Executive, accomplished over a three-year accreditation process through the International Franchise Association. He is a member of both the National Restaurant Association and the International Franchise Association, and he serves on the VetFran ® National Committee.
Chuck helped form Lee’s Acquisition Company in 2003 to initially purchase the Lee’s brand. Prior to his involvement with the Lee’s brand, Mr. Cooper formed Mission Restaurants, Inc., an eleven-unit Pizza Hut franchisee in Destin, Florida in 1998. He operated those Pizza Huts for eleven years, and exited successfully in 2009. Mr. Cooper was recognized by the Pizza Hut system as a top performing franchisee nine out of eleven years. Chuck also was a Bruster’s Ice Cream franchisee for several years in the Fort Walton Beach, FL, market. Prior to forming Mission Restaurants, Inc., Mr. Cooper was a Senior Vice President of Unison Corporation (Scottsdale, AZ) and of Nationwide Management, Inc. (Indianapolis, IN), where he was primarily responsible for development and acquisition strategy for these Long Term Health providers.
Mr. Cooper has been named “Business Person of the Year” by the Destin Chamber of Commerce, and served on numerous boards and committees, including the boards of the Destin, Fort Walton Beach, South Walton, and Navarre Chambers of Commerce. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude, from Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN.
He moved to Destin in 1998, from Scottsdale, AZ, with his wife Beverly and their four children.
Charles (Chuck) L. Cooper, CFE
President and CEO
Famous Recipe Group, LLC
4/2013 – Present
Lee’s Famous Recipes, Inc.
10/2003 – 2/2014
President and COO
Mission Restaurants, Inc.
4/1998 – 9/2009
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Development
Unison Health Care, Inc.
10/1995 – 4/1998
Vice President of Marketing
Nationwide Care, Inc.
5/1987 – 10/1995