Franchise Investor Profile: Aziz Hashim, Founder, NRD Capital

Aziz Hashim is the founder of NRD Capital, the first private equity fund sponsored and managed by a multi-unit franchisee. He is also the immediate Past Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Franchise Association (IFA).
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NRD Capital is focused on acquiring franchise concepts that offer compelling unit economics and represent solid opportunities for franchisees, helping them accelerate growth through proprietary processes and systems.

NRD Capital occupies a unique niche in franchise equity investment. The fund buys small to medium franchisors and utilizes its multi-unit and operating expertise to grow its brands. NRD Capital looks at franchise brands not just as financial vehicles, but as living entities in which concept founders and franchisees have invested significant amounts of time and resources. The fund’s goal is to use its operational and financial expertise to position high quality brands for accelerated growth.

Aziz describes the fund: “What I did as a multi-unit franchisee was to respond to the current trends in franchising. Some of that revolves around the fact that it’s very difficult for potential franchisees to decipher what represents a good deal for them. There are too many brands proliferating – it’s become too easy to create a franchise brand – and people have no idea how to truly evaluate and invest in a brand that has the highest degree of success for them.

So, part of the response to that is this fund I’ve created, with the sole purpose of identifying franchise companies to take an interest in or to buy outright that will offer compelling unit economics and a good partnership culture between franchisor and franchisees, such that we do franchising in what we consider to be the best way possible – an ethical approach to franchising.

That’s the essential premise of the fund.”

Prior to founding NRD Capital, Hashim, a highly regarded executive in the U.S. and international franchise space, founded NRD Holdings in 1996. He began with one QSR location and grew the company to more than 60 restaurants, including several high-profile brands: Popeyes®, Domino’s Pizza, and Checkers/Rally’s Drive-In Restaurants, Inc®. Hashim expanded his portfolio with his international retail company, Dandle, Inc., in 2010 as a franchisee of PetValu, a major pet-supply franchisor in Canada. Through expert risk identification and management, unique portfolio management strategies and superior execution, Hashim has become a leading multi-state, multi-brand, multi-national franchisee, growing to one of the top 200 franchise operators in the U.S, Canada and Africa with several high-profile brands.

Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Hashim’s family moved to London when he was 6 in search of a better education and opportunity. He spent his adolescent years working at the family’s West End clothing store, a denim shop, as a salesman.

At 13, the family moved to Alhambra, a suburb of Los Angeles, CA at the urging of Aziz’s uncle, who had invested in a Burger King franchise and wanted Aziz’s father to help operate it. As with the family’s clothing store, Aziz helped in the Burger King that his father was managing. Starting as a minimum-wage crew worker, over the next 8 years, all throughout high school and college, Aziz worked in various Burger King locations.

Hashim graduated as an electrical engineer from the University of California, Irvine with honors and landed a prestigious job at Rockwell Semi-Conductor Division in Newport Beach, CA. However, his electrical engineering career lasted only 90 days. With 8 years of quick service restaurant experience behind him, a “desk job” just was not going to cut it. Hashim embarked on his entrepreneurial quest, moving to Atlanta with his wife and baby daughter, and in 1996, just before the Olympics opened his first quick service location – a KFC restaurant near Georgia State University.

From that first location, Hashim grew to one of the top restaurant franchisees in the US and, in 2014, Nation’s Restaurant News recognized Hashim as one of the “50 most powerful leaders” in the Foodservice Industry for setting the standard for multi-unit development. Aziz is often published and quoted in top franchise industry publications as well as The Wall St. Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Washington Post, and regularly shares his expertise in franchising as a public speaker and guest lecturer at Emory Law School, Georgia State University, and Harvard Law School. Aziz has also been featured on CNBC's "Entrepreneurs" program. He often discusses his dream of entrepreneurship, the challenging journey, and subsequent success in developing his company to become one of the top 200 franchise operators in the United States. Hashim serves on several boards including The Board of Advisors at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, and on the Executive Committee of the International Franchise Association (IFA), where he served as Chairman in 2016.

Aziz is deeply involved in community service and frequently contributes to the industry at large, sharing his knowledge and experience at major business conferences. His dynamic leadership and strategy for success is reflected both in his compelling message to the industry and in NRD’s significant and consistent innovation and growth.

In 2014, Aziz and his wife Farah established the Aziz and Farahnaz Hashim Chair for Franchise Entrepreneurship at Georgia State University. The Aziz and Farahnaz Hashim Faculty Position in Franchise Entrepreneurship provides the School of Hospitality with the resources to expand the graduate and undergraduate curriculum to encompass this fast-growing business model.

“It is crucial that hospitality programs educate the next generation of industry leaders about franchise entrepreneurship,” said Aziz Hashim. “Within the quick-service restaurant category, there is a lack of formal training. It is my hope that through this endowment, the School of Hospitality and the Robinson College of Business will help fill this void.”

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