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Obituary: Wendy's Franchisee Mike Givens


Michael Jon Givens, a longtime multi-unit Wendy’s franchisee in the Twin Cities area, died in April of cancer. He was 58.

In his online obituary (http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/75614/), Givens, whose company FourCrown won several honors from the Wendy’s system, including Best Franchise Group in 2003, and induction into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame in 2006, was described as an intentionally quiet man, “because he never wanted anything to be about him.”

It was a trait Franchise Times discovered first hand when we interviewed him for the September 2012 cover story. At the time Givens was expanding his foodservice portfolio by going into business with another renowned Wendy’s franchisee, Junior Bridgeman, to open retail units of Fannie May chocolate—a short-lived endeavor. Givens politely refused to be on the cover of magazine without his team.

Ironically, he didn’t want the story about him to just be about him. He wanted it to reflect the good work his team was doing, including his son Michael on the Wendy’s side and daughter, Megan, who was heading up the Fannie May business.

Here’s what we wrote in the story:

Balancing two operations is second nature to Mike Givens. As a 14 year old, he worked from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., six days a week, in the potato fields; hitchhiked home; took a shower; and then reported to his second job in a meat market. “I am very driven,” the Wendy’s multi-unit franchisee says. So driven, in fact, that the farmer who was his boss had to give Givens time off work so he’d cash all the back paychecks he had been sticking in a drawer. Givens bought his first car at 16 and his first house at 19.

In addition to being a gifted Wendy’s franchisee and businessman, Givens was a trustee on The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption Board. He received a Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute award as an “Angel in Adoption” in 2013.

He and his wife, Linda Nordquist, have a foundation, MG Charities, which funds research to find a cure or brain tumors and brain cancer. 

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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