John C. Draper – Ronald E. Harrison Award Winner
John C. Draper
President of Restaurant Operations
V&J Holding Companies, Inc.
This award was created to recognize organizations or individuals who have made significant contributions to minorities in franchising either within their franchise organization or within the franchise community. This award is open to any organization or individual from an IFA-member company, past or present, whether franchisor, franchisee or supplier. Ronald E. Harrison, CFE, retired PepsiCo senior vice president, IFA 1999 chairman and former chairman of the IFA Diversity Institute board of directors, was the first recipient of this award, which was subsequently named in his honor.
John C. Draper has DIRECT RESPONSIBILITY for more than 100 restaurants, including Pizza Huts, Burger Kings, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon Bakeries, Coffee Beanery’s and Haagen-Dazs Shops that collectively operate in Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Wisconsin. Additionally, he oversees the training and development of more than 3,100 team members.
Over the past 40 years, Draper has worked with minority-owned companies to ensure that they not only practice diversity and inclusion, but demonstrate its business necessity and importance throughout the restaurant industry. By demonstrating exceptional leadership, he has been instrumental in developing many programs to recruit and train minorities. He has led with the philosophy that franchising teaches people to be independent while providing an environment of constant learning and self-improvement to achieve success.
During his career, Draper worked with minority owners in Detroit as the vice president of operations with Keys Group Inc., owned by the first African-American Burger King and KFC franchisee Brady Keys Jr.; and in Milwaukee with V&J Holding Companies Inc., whose owner, Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, manages the largest female franchisee operation in the United States. In each place he has worked, Draper has found, regardless of age, race or religion, that people are all alike and if you can find that common bound and spirit of hospitality, you can create a winning environment.
Draper has dedicated himself to community enhancement by mentoring African-American involvement in the franchise industry and their communities. He has worked to increase community cohesiveness, working with the Detroit Pistons Basketball Association on its “Read to Achieve” Program, offering many “benefit night” donations where up to 20 percent of sales go to community-based organizations. He has served on many boards, including the Detroit Public Schools’ mentoring program, and Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation for its college scholarship program.
Draper serves on the board of directors of the IFA Diversity Institute and has been recognized numerous times for his efforts within the African-American community by Multi-Unit Franchise Magazine, QSR, Black Enterprise Magazine and Essence Magazine. In addition, he has been featured in many articles about his company’s work within the business community to increase awareness of the opportunities in franchising. His son John C. Draper II, a Michigan-based Wingstop franchisee, is often cited as an example.