A Purposeful life: Kadirali "Ali" Chunara is the 2024 Noble Cause MVP
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A Purposeful life: Kadirali "Ali" Chunara is the 2024 Noble Cause MVP

A Purposeful life: Kadirali

Name: Kadirali "Ali" Chunara
Title: President
Company: Chunara Group of Companies
No. of units: 50 Dunkin', 10 Take 5 Oil Change, 2 Church's Texas Chicken, 7 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, 10 TGI Fridays, 7 Blaze Pizza, 9 My Eyelab, 5 Kale Me Crazy, 62 Checkers & Rally's, 4 BurgerFi, 3 Nothing Bundt Cakes, 1 Jimmy John's
Age: 65
Family: A wife, 1 son, 1 daughter
Years in franchising: 35
Years in current position: 35

Kadirali “Ali” Chunara is the Noble Cause MVP (Most Valuable Performer) for his organization’s passionate, unwavering support for those in need. His son Shehzaan Chunara conducted an interview with Multi-Unit Franchisee magazine on behalf of his father.

While growing up, Shehzaan Chunara rode around with his father, Kadirali “Ali” Chunara, as he grew and developed his franchise business. His father came to the U.S. in the 1980s and worked multiple QSR jobs until buying his own Blimpie franchise. “He got into franchising because it was the easiest way to climb the social ladder in this country, even without an education,” Chunara explains. 

From his earliest days in the business, Ali Chunara believed it was important to put in long hours to achieve success. During one six-month period, he worked 18 hours a day for seven days a week without taking a day off. “He put in a lot of work in the beginning,” Chunara says. “He started to achieve his first bit of success in 2004. He was able to sign the agreement to buy Checkers. I think it was 10 corporate Checkers locations, and he signed a development agreement with them.”

Success for his father wasn’t about buying fancy cars or flying first class. “He really believes in giving back,” Chunara says. His father also offers others the chance to feel the joy of giving. Each year, he hosts a fundraiser for the Aga Khan Foundation at his restaurants. He matches every dollar donated by customers as well as by vendors, franchisors, bankers, and partners. “That allows us to raise around $300,000 a year for the foundation,” Chunara says.

The money goes to developing countries. It’s used for microfinance programs and poverty alleviation. The funds also help educate and feed children. The Aga Khan Foundation has made a difference in the lives of millions of people, especially women and children. “He believes very strongly in helping people,” Chunara says, “and that’s how it’s been for him for a long time.” 

Chunara followed his father into the family business and has adopted his father’s approach of serving others. “You can make money doing anything,” he says. “But if you don’t have a purpose, nothing matters.” Chunara’s current purpose revolves around uplifting the company’s partners. “Being part of their lives and being able to change their livelihoods is what I strive to do every day.”

While it is common for franchise restaurants to be passed on in families, Chunara doesn’t plan to do that. “The assets we’ve built up, I plan to donate to the Aga Khan Foundation,” he says. “That also brings me purpose.”


Why do you think you were recognized with this award? Because he made it such a big part of his day-to-day job to give back. He doesn’t believe he’s in this business for the money as much as he is for having the opportunity to give back. Franchisors can see that. 

How have you raised the bar in your own company? Created a sense of uniformity across the organization and professionalism with how we operate.

What core values do you think helped you win this award? Generosity.

How important is community involvement to you and your company? Very.

What leadership qualities are most important to you and your company? Leading by example – if that means an operating partner is going to get under a car to change oil or flip a burger, so be it. They will garner more respect from their respective teams by showing that success is achieved with all hands on deck.


Key accomplishments: Starting to invest in private equity funds, building up our family’s real estate portfolio, and signing development agreements with Take 5, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and BurgerFi, some of our newest brand additions to the portfolio. 

Next big goal: Clean up our restaurant portfolio by eliminating the bottom 10% of assets we own.

Hardest lesson learned: Don’t invest in a brand that is vertically integrated. Don’t grow in a brand until you have gotten in and had time to allow the executive team to prove their vision to you, and you see some concrete financials as an existing franchisee.

Best advice you ever got: Be patient.

Favorite book: Art of the Deal by Donald Trump.

What’s your passion in business? Being able to give back in the way of foundation donations and helping grow the livelihoods of our operating partners who work with us.


Business philosophy: Feed your people and your business before you expect your business to feed you.

Management method or style: Delegate yet micromanage to an extent.

Greatest challenge: Finding a place to slow down or stop, and being able to say no to an opportunity.

How close are you to operations? We’re not involved in operations at all. We’re involved in building the overall infrastructure for our company and new brand development.


What have been the biggest impacts of Covid-19 on your business? A lot of free money has given us a false sense of optimization surrounding some of our businesses.


Annual revenue: $250 million-plus.

2024 goals: Continue to grow in some of our new brands, including Blaze, BurgerFi, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and continue to clean up the bottom-performing assets in the rest of the portfolio.

Growth meter: How do you measure your growth? By the number of operating partners we have, helping move them to their next step in life, and of course, bottom-line free cash flow across the network.

Vision meter: Where do you want to be in five years? 10 years? Similar place, maybe more stores but definitely more people who we can impact and help provide an opportunity to build livelihoods for.

What kind of exit strategy do you have in place? We do not have a specified exit strategy as each partner runs their own grouping of restaurants and decides when it’s time for each of them respectively to exit or expand.

Published: May 18th, 2024

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