The Original Minute Man
The history of Minute Man begins with entrepreneur, Wesley T. Hall. Hall opened the first Minute Man restaurant in Little Rock, AR on May 26, 1948, starting out as a coffee shop with 24-hour service. In 1956, Hall bought out his business partners and converted the flagship store at 407 Broadway into a fast-food establishment.
Hall quickly converted Minute Man’s menu from America’s favorite wake up call to classic American food: delicious, charcoal grilled hamburgers. Over the next 26 years, his businesses skyrocketed to success; a winning recipe of quality ingredients, delicious flavors, fast service, and hardworking team members led to fifty-seven Minute Man locations in seven states.
Wes Hall’s Famous Marketing Strategies
Hall was a clever businessperson and innovative entrepreneur. The original Minute Man was one of the first restaurants in America to use a microwave, also known as a RadaRange, in its day-to-day operations to warm up individual fruit pies (which he called, “Radar Deep Dish Pies”) for a sweet ending to a simple, delicious meal. In addition, he partnered with Coca-Cola to design a signature glass that he gave away to his customers with the purchase of a beverage. Mr. Hall also came up with the first kids-sized fast food meals, which he dubbed “Magic Meals.” This innovation was introduced before McDonald’s invented Happy Meals, and each meal included a magic trick. Later on, Hall sold this innovative concept to Burger King.
Hall also created some catchy slogans and jingles for his business. He pioneered the slogan “Old-fashioned hamburgers” and later sold it to Wendy’s. Another classic included the lyrics “Share a minute with a friend at the Minute Man! And you’ll be back for seconds at the Minute Man! There’s no bigger, better burger than the Minute Man!” Generations of Arkansans still remember this song and the delicious charcoal-grilled hamburger it advertises. Hall’s long-term impact on the fast food industry is undeniable!
Before Hall became a fast food franchise legend, he was in the U.S. Army infantry and served during World War II. He was once again called into active duty again from 1951 to 1952, and managed mess halls for the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Chaffee in Fort Smith and Camp Crowder in Missouri. His years of military service left and indelible mark on Hall that reflected in his lifelong belief that service to others was the highest call of any and every person.
Hall also had experience in the food industry from his work at the local supermarket, Food Palace, and Kraft Food Company. He was thirty-three years old when he started Minute Man. Hall passed away in 2002 at the age of eighty-seven, leaving behind a strong legacy of hard work, selfless service to others, and relentless determination that made a lasting impression on generations past, present, and (soon) future.
The Last Minute Man Standing
The phenomenal success of the original Minute Man changed over time…but it never went away. Just days after Hall’s passing, the second to last Minute Man restaurant—the original location in Little Rock—closed its doors.
After the Little Rock location closed, one restaurant remained: Minute Man #14 in El Dorado owned and operated by Ms. Linda McGoogan for over 40 years. Located in the heart of downtown, this location remains a neighborhood staple and a living legend. You can learn more about the El Dorado restaurant on the El Dorado page of our website.
The Minute Man Relaunch
2018 was a special year for Minute Man for two reasons. First, Minute Man celebrated its seventieth anniversary. In addition, Arkansas native Perry J. Smith, the founder of Matchbox Food Group, partnered with Ms. Linda McGoogan, the owner and operator of Minute Man 14, to revive the Minute Man franchise!
By all accounts, this is a much-anticipated resurrection of a well-loved franchise. For years, Ms. McGoogan has been getting questions about when more Minute Man locations might open again. Now she finally has an answer! Soon, people won’t only have to go to El Dorado to “get their Minute Man.”
A Perfect Arkansas Partnership
Ms. McGoogan’s guidance and knowledge of Minute Man will be a major asset to this revival. Smith will serve as the CEO and President of the new Minute Man. The restaurant holds a special place in Smith’s heart. He grew up in Arkansas and started going to Minute Man at an early age and his family taught him the importance of supporting a local Arkansas establishment. After selling his shares of the Matchbox Food Group, Smith helped start the Avalon Institute in 2016, a leadership and business development firm that helps enterprises flourish thrive.
Over the years, Smith has extensively researched the history of the Minute Man franchise. Not only has this deepened his love of Minute Man food and the history of the brand, but also strengthened his relationship with Ms. McGoogan, leading to their partnership in this relaunch. As Minute Man embarks on its new growth plan, she has no plans to retire, but will continue to operate her restaurant while assisting in the development of new units.
The rest of our Minute Man team has extensive experience in the restaurant business. We are passionate about giving customers unique, fast, delicious food that makes their day. We will start the relaunch with three new Minute Man restaurants in Little Rock and Conway, Arkansas. We have a strong vision and an agile plan for many more in the future!
Through heightened interest on social media and our conversations with Arkansas customers and Minute Man fans, we are confident that people are going to enjoy the newest and best version of the restaurant we can offer.