Tinsley’s resume boasts three years as a teacher and coach; a one-year stint as an exhibition specialist for the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, and training as an FBI agent. However, Tinsley had a burning desire to earn more income for his family. During this time, he was presented with the ground floor opportunity to work as a training instructor for Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and start its formal training programs for new franchisees.
Being one of the first hired into the program afforded Tinsley the opportunity to assist with its development. “My business background was limited, but I had very good people skills,” he said. “And being a former professional athlete opened a lot of doors for interaction with both KFC corporate executives and franchisees.”
Although Tinsley’s rise through KFC’s corporate ranks was swift, he aspired to an opportunity without limitations; one that allowed him to reach his full potential. During an informal meeting with several high-level corporate executives, he said, “the idea came up that I should look at becoming a franchisee. So I seized the opportunity and asked them to put the offer in writing.”
This paved the way for Tinsley to become a franchisee, opening his first KFC restaurant in Auburndale, Fla. Both Tinsley and his wife, Seretha, quit their jobs, moved the family to Winter Haven, Fla., and embarked on the first of many entrepreneurial endeavors.
After their first year as a KFC franchisee, Tinsley said, “The restaurant developed into an outstanding success and spawned other opportunities.”
Tinsley developed two KFC restaurants within three years, and later assisted in developing KFC’s minority franchisee program.
After six years with KFC, he opened the first African-American owned T.G.I. Fridays® in the U.S.
“It became the No. 1 T.G.I. Fridays® in the U.S. for nine consecutive years, and continues to be a top performer,” he said.Continuing to diversify with other branded concepts, Tinsley Family Concessions now owns and operates more than 50 Florida franchises, with most locations in Miami and Tampa International Airports.
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