It sounds like a rare rags-to-riches story: A man joins Domino's at 19 as a delivery guy and goes on to own 18 franchises. In fact, 90% of Domino's 4,500 franchise spots are owned by former entry-level employees, says a rep. CNNMoney recounts the story of Rob Cookston, a $500-a-month delivery man in 1987 who was inspired when he saw his franchise owner's Ferrari.
The Virginia man entered the chain's management skills program; as a store manager-in-training, he made $89,000 in his first year. "It was a big challenge. I wanted to quit at times," he says, explaining the pressures of the job: five phone lines that could never go unanswered; pizzas that had to be delivered in 30 minutes. Instead, he went on to manage six stores, then borrowed money from his family and bought a franchise in New York City. He lived in the basement of another franchise and saved to buy more. He was making about $200,000 then; now, he lives "insanely comfortably," he says—and seven of his delivery workers have become managers themselves. (Read more Domino's Pizza stories.)