He raised eyebrows in an interview with BE asserting that he would sell his company for the right price. This was during a time when the movement for black-owned companies to remain in black hands was gaining traction.
“Blacks go to white companies and white banking institutions for cash because black capital companies don’t fund black ventures,” he said in the interview. Hawkins also said he would definitely sell his company “if the price was right, but only if the new owners would continue to bring jobs to our community.” His company employed 1,500 people at the time.
According to Crain’s, Hawkins grew up in the Chicago projects and never finished high school. Yet he found entrepreneurial success in Atlanta as a fast food mogul—owning and operating several Burger King franchises in addition to his Checkers franchises. He eventually moved his business operations to Detroit and became the largest Pizza Hut franchisee in Michigan.