Photo Via Nicolas Perkins Instagram

The national burger and fast-food chain Fuddruckers was supposed to close down in August 2021 due to financial difficulties emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the company survived thanks to an acquisition by Nicolas Perkins’ newly-founded company Black Titan. With this, Perkins became, in the words of his alma mater “The first African American with 100% ownership of a national burger franchise.”

Nicolas Perkins was born and raised by a single mom and grandmother in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He has never seen his dad, but still secured a bright future in business and education thanks to hard work and a keen sense of leadership and innovation. More than two decades on, Perkins still remembers enjoying a Fuddruckers en route a baseball camp in Alabama that he attended regularly during college years.

After receiving an undergraduate degree from Fayetteville State University, Perkins attended the prestigious HBCU Howard University, where he graduated from the business school. By this time, he was already a successful young entrepreneur with a career in food services in his home state. Despite adverse circumstances, business was the only way forward for him. Perkins told an interviewer: “I learned very early on that business and entrepreneurship could give you the opportunity to control your own freedom.”

Perkins’ strategy and the secret behind his success is simple. He believes that the legacy of Black social responsibility is reflected in the fact that his businesses are designed in a way that uplifts the entire surrounding community, rather than serving as the money bank of the owner alone.

Recently, Perkins founded the Black Titan Franchise Systems LLC, which he named after a biography of A. G. Gaston, a prominent Southern Black businessman from the twentieth century. Gaston was a major influence on Perkins after he read ‘Black Titan’ in college. And one of the first deals the new investment firm finished was a full purchase of Fuddruckers and the rights to manage its franchises. The deal, which closed at a reported $18.5 million for the brand alone, gave Perkins personal ownership of 14 Fuddruckers and supervision of the national fast-food chain.

At 40, Perkins is still bachelor and very aware of the fact. “I struggle with this a bit,” he says: “Yes, it is a choice. I have sacrificed that aspect of my life.” Explaining his decision, Perkins said: “I am a gunslinger when it comes to my risk tolerance level. If I had a wife and kids, it would temper my risk tolerance. I don’t have the courage to test that.” He also added, acutely aware of his own experience with an absent dad: “Being an absentee parent is not something I would want to do.”

Nowadays, Perkins’ attention is split between Charlotte, where he personally oversees Laurene’s Cafeteria, named after his late grandmother, and Houston, the headquarters of both Fuddruckers and his own company. Meanwhile, Perkins has also kept in touch with his alma mater institutions, having taught for some time at Howard, and famously donating a jaw-dropping $1 million to Fayetteville State while still in the early stages of his budding corporate empire.

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Anthony Tilghman, is an 3x Award-winning Photojournalist, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the 2020, 2021 & 2023 Dateline award for Excellence in Local Journalism.

Anthony Tilghman

Anthony Tilghman, is an 3x Award-winning Photojournalist, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the...

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