When Nick Nasrollahi took a night job at a fast food restaurant in college, he never thought it would lead him to his own QSR empire, but that’s exactly what happened.
At the age of eighteen, Nasrollahi fled his native Iran as a refugee in a 7-day struggle escaping through mountains and desert and, finally, moving to the U.S. for a new beginning. He took a job at a fast food restaurant to pay the bills, but soon realized he was learning just as much on the job as in the classroom.
“I learned how to build relationships, and the importance of having a sense of urgency and critical thinking. Although textbooks often address these in theory, living it is another story,” said Nasrollahi.
Nasrollahi flourished in his role. In fact, he was promoted eleven times, prompting him to pursue a career in the QSR industry. He spent the next 25 years working in fast food in positions ranging from training to management to business development. His fate was sealed when he met Dave Meldrum, a retired financial consultant who became a close friend. They began to look for a business to invest in together, with Meldrum being the financial backer and Nasrollahi running operations.
Nasrollahi was familiar with Checkers & Rally’s from his time spent in Southern California, but when he realized that there were no locations in his adopted home of Las Vegas, he knew the iconic drive-thru brand was exactly what Sin City needed. Meldrum came out of retirement, moved to Las Vegas and the two started their company, Food in the Fast Lane, by signing a five-unit deal with Checkers & Rally’s. They opened their first restaurant, and the first in the market for the brand, in 2009.
Nasrollahi has been growing the brand ever since. He and Meldrum now own and operate seven Checkers restaurants in the Las Vegas area with more in development.
Nasrollahi attributes his success to his ever-growing team and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream that he was given by moving to the U.S. He loves bringing jobs to his community and counts the Founding Fathers among his role models.
“In 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed, it wasn’t just a document; it was and is a masterpiece put to work by some very intelligent, selfless and visionary patriots,” he said.
While Nasrollahi’s masterpieces are of the culinary variety, his growth shows no signs of stopping. He’s set the lofty goal of eventually owning more than 20 Checkers locations in Nevada.
Now, as he reflects on fleeing his home country, leaving his friends and family, Nasrollahi sees his earlier life in a new light. “Today, I consider those unfortunate events (at that time) to be the best thing that ever happened to me. A wise man once said, ‘what happens to us in life is just 10%. 90% is how we react to it.’”