The Puzder file Featured

8:00pm EDT May 26, 2008

Born: Cleveland, Ohio

What was your very first job?

Mowing lawns in my neighborhood and scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.

Whom do you admire most in business and why?

Carl N. Karcher (founder of Carl’s Jr. hamburger chain) who passed away (Jan. 11, 2008). He took nothing and turned it into a billion-dollar company with an eighth-grade education. And he did it with native intelligence, hard work and a very strong faith in God and family. He was just a very, very good man, and when he passed, we really lost something of value in the morality and the work ethic of business.

What is the best business advice you’ve ever received?

I was Carl Karcher’s lawyer back in the late ’80s, early ’90s, and I would fly out to California a week every month to represent Carl, and we had this great chicken sandwich at Carl’s Jr., and I would get that every time I visited. Well, one week it was off the menu so I went in to Carl, and I told him, ‘You had this great sandwich on the menu; I loved it, and now it’s gone,’ and he said, ‘So you were the guy buying that.’ Which was his way of saying, you can’t keep a product that doesn’t sell. When you’re dealing with business and dealing with money, you really just have to get through everything else and keep things simple so they are achievable.

If you could be one superhero, who would you be and why?

Superman because that guy can do everything — plus I wouldn’t have to do these four- and seven-hour flights all the time. ... I could go to New York for an investor’s conference and spend the night at home.