Sanna Shere’s father immigrated to the U.S. in 1978 with the dream of owning his own business. She
says he came here with only $5 in his pocket hoping to pursue the American Dream, and franchising
gave him the ability to do that. Over a decade later, with every penny their family had, he opened his
first Burger King location in Santa Ana, California. It was a true family-run business with Sanna working
nights and weekends in the restaurant and learning to run the business.
Years after going away to pursue her own career in the corporate world, her father’s health declined,
and Sanna moved back to California eventually taking over the family business, which has now grown to
21 Burger King locations throughout Southern California. Sanna says that many of their employees have
been with them since the beginning, many working their way up to district or regional managers – and
they have stayed on because they love it. She has seen firsthand the opportunities that franchising can
provide and what these businesses mean to their customers.
Burger King is a place her family holds near and dear to their hearts. When they couldn’t afford
vacations or theme parks, Sanna’s father used to take them there every weekend to eat and play on the
playground as a special treat. She has now watched so many customers with similar stories come and
go, including the couple who used to bring her flowers whenever she was working in high school – who
still come into the store today, ordering the same menu items. She watches a sense of community
develop throughout her restaurants from daily coffee gatherings to church groups, and regulars who
treat her like family.
She thanks franchising for giving her father that opportunity to pursue his dreams. “It gives you the
framework to start your business, especially for somebody coming from another country who doesn’t
know the lay of the land and doesn’t know how to manage a business, it is the best way to get in if you
don’t have that experience. You can learn from the ground up with an infrastructure behind you for