Local chicken restaurants’ owners named best in the U.S.

Ken Riddle and Chuck Doran, franchise owners of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken restaurants in Dayton and southwest Ohio, have been named “Franchisee of the Year” by the regional chicken chain.

The annual award is presented to the top franchisee among Lee's 137 stores nationwide; Riddle and Doran together operate Far Hills Development, LLC, which oversees 13 Lee's locations in and around the Dayton area. The award is based on overall sales, including growth and improvement from previous years, in addition to good operational reviews, Lee's officials said.

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“We are lucky to have such a great team that works alongside us every day to ensure our stores are successful,” Ken Riddle said in a release. Chuck Doran called the award “a reflection of our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, and we’re humbled to be recognized at this level.”

Riddle and Doran purchased their first restaurant — a combination Arby’s and Lee’s Famous Recipe Fried Chicken in Washington Twp. — in 2009. Five years later, they closed a deal to increase their restaurants holdings from one to 13 overnight by buying 12 more Dayton-area restaurants from GZK Inc.

The Lee’s franchise owners offer employee rewards and benefits in their stores when sales goals are met, Lee’s Famous Recipe officials said.

“Ken and Chuck are really the epitome of great franchisees,” Lori Seering, vice president of marketing for Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, said in a release. “It’s easy to see the tireless hard work they both put into their restaurants, and their commitment to serving quality products and providing great customer service is coupled with their passion for giving back to their community.”

Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken was founded in 1966 in Lima, Ohio, by Lee Cummings, the nephew of KFC founder Col. Harland Sanders. The chain is now based in Florida and operates 137 Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken locations in 12 states.

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