From handling a squad to running a restaurant, check out these 6 Veterans who made a name for themselves as restauranteurs.

Before starting the list, we’d like to highlight these three local veteran-owned restaurants.

6 Klicks Cafe in Helotes, Texas

This veteran-owned local cafe opened earlier this year, serving out juicy burgers, tasty fried catfish, and hand-battered onion rings. The owner served in the military for ten years and has derived the name from the unwritten rule of the servicemen, “I have your six,” which means I got your back. Inside the cafe, you can also find memorabilia from the military and remembrance of those who have fallen.

Compadres Hill Country Cocina in Boerne, Texas

Aside from its fast-selling barbecue, this veteran-owned restaurant is also known for its weekly national anthem performance in honor of those who serve the country performed by a retired Army band director with his trumpet. Like 6 Klicks Cafe, the Compadres also showcases tons of military memorabilia, ramping up a patriotic vibe as you dine in with its Mexican and Tex-Mex food.

Bubba’s Smokehouse in La Jolla, California

A smokehouse owned by a Navy veteran who got the barbeque concept inspiration from a buddy halfway through his service.

6 Popular Restaurants Owned By Veterans

The Veteran Behind the “Finger-Lickin’ Good Chicken” Restaurant

Colonel Harland Sanders 1914
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Exposed to hard work at an early age, Harland Sanders hopped from one job to another before he managed to open a small cafe in 1929 inside a gas station and cater to truck drivers. But before that, when he was 16, he falsified his age to join the Army as a Private Wagoner in 1906. He was deployed to Cuba for a year before being honorably discharged with the Army’s Cuban Pacification Medal. However, the iconic “Colonel” on his name isn’t a military rank but rather an honorific title bestowed by Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon in 1935. His family-style cooking drew most of his customers, and by 1939 he discovered the recipe for his “finger-lickin’ good chicken” that would forever go down in history. The first KFC franchise was opened in South Salt Lake, Utah, in 1952, and when the original restaurant closed, Sanders toured the world as an official ambassador for the company until his passing in 1980.

McDonald’s 9th Franchise Owner in Des Plaines, Illinois

Ray Kroc 1976
(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

Before becoming a business magnate, Raymond Albert “Ray” Kroc sneaked into the American Red Cross at 15 during the Great War and became an ambulance driver alongside a fellow soldier who also lied about his age, Walt Disney. But both weren’t deployed overseas as the war ended not long after they enlisted. Kroc eventually returned to his hometown in Chicago and worked several jobs until he landed an opportunity to become a salesman for a milkshake mixer company in the early 1940s. By 1954, Kroc would stumble upon the McDonald brothers, Maurice and Richard, whose restaurants were gaining widespread notable traction for their fast-serving hamburgers, french fries, and milkshakes. Impressed, Kroc would soon franchise and open the ninth branch of McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois, in April 1955, and the rest was history. The veteran-turned-tycoon served as McDonald’s president from 1955 to 1968, as chairman of the board from 1968 to 1977, and senior chairman from 1977 until he died in 1984.