Entrepreneurs Hall of Fame

Entrepreneur's Hall of Fame:
William Rosenberg (6/10/16 – 9/20/02)

William Rosenberg's life has been a true Horatio Alger story. It all started in 1946 when William founded Industrial Luncheon Services, a company that delivered meals and coffee break snacks to factory workers in the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts. The success of Industrial Luncheon Services led Rosenberg to open his first coffee and donut shop, the "Open Kettle". Then, in 1950, Rosenberg opened the first store known as Dunkin' Donuts in Quincy, Massachusetts. Today there are over 5000 Dunkin' Donuts franchises.

In 1959, at a "Start Your Own Business" show, it occurred to Bill that he and others in the fledging industry called franchising needed to have an association. To meet that need, he and a group of exhibitors founded the International Franchise Association (IFA). The IFA sets standards for the franchise industry as an "industry". Franchising in the U.S. represents about 42% of retail sales or close to 1 trillion dollars. It employs about 8 million people and a new franchise outlet opens about every 6 minutes.


"Always provide your customers with the finest quality, service, cleanliness and value."

"Show me a person who never made a mistake and I will show you a person who never did anything"

"In unity there is strength. Consider the fragile snowflake that flutters slowly to earth and disintegrates; however, if enough of them stick together they can paralyze an entire city"

"A Leader must possess credibility, imagination, enthusiasm, vision, foresight, a sense of timing, a passion for excellence and be willing to share."

"They must also possess empathy, common sense, devotion dedication, persistence the ability to communicate, teach and pass on to others, and always remember the customer is the boss for they have the discretion where to spend their money amongst the multitude of competitors vying for it"

Entrepreneurship at an early age

William Rosenberg was born in Boston, Massachusetts and educated in public schools. He had a financially challenging childhood. He was forced to leave school and work for Western Union in the eighth grade to help support his family during the Great Depression.

At seventeen, he worked for a company that distributed ice cream from refrigerated trucks. By age 20, his hard work was rewarded. He was promoted to Assistant Manager, then Manager, and by age 21 he was the Branch Manager and finally, National Sales Manager.

At the start of World War II, he joined the Bethlehem Steel Company in Hingham, MA. There he would become the Union Delegate and later the Contract Coordinator.

The Rosenberg Story

After World War II, William Rosenberg borrowed $1000 to add to his $1500 in war bonds and used his knowledge of food distribution to open his first company. He started a mobile industrial catering business. Within a short time, he had 140 catering trucks, 25 in-plant outlets and a vending operation.

As any entrepreneur capitalizes on opportunity, he noticed that 40% of his revenues came from coffee and doughnuts. He started a retail shop that specialized in those products and Dunkin Donuts was born.

Upon opening his sixth shop, he decided on the concept of franchising his business as a mean of distribution and expansion. The rest is history.

On September 22, 2002, Mr. Rosenberg passed away at the age of 86 at his home on Cape Cod.

Key thoughts for entrepreneurs

In 1996, William Rosenberg wrote the following excerpts about building a successful organization. He was asked many times how he built such successful businesses. He has always maintained that a person does not build a business - "a person builds an organization" These are words and thoughts for the foundation of any business.

How then do you build a successful (Franchise or other) organization?

Here's how (from Bill Rosenberg's perspective)....

1. You seek out the best people.
2. You compensate them the best.
3. You share your profits and equity with them.
4. You treat them with respect.
5. You share your goals and strategies with them. Create a family atmosphere, a sense of belonging, and give recognition for accomplishments.
6. You make certain your credibility is unquestionable.
7. You set the highest possible standards.
8. You enthusiastically instill in them your passion to achieve excellence in all your combined endeavors.
9. You give the responsibility and authority to achieve.
10.You periodically check and follow through that your standards and philosophies are adhered to.


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