Life After Football
Keys realized that he would need a career after football. He was now married and had a family to support. So, he tried his hand at business. He bought 50 percent of an existing business that a bank told him was lucrative. The business, Keys Auto Detail, cleaned car motors for automobile dealers. The venture failed miserably.
I promised myself that the next business venture I involved myself with would be one I started from scratch. I was bent on not letting that failure cause me any further problems,” he said.
“During the football off-season, Keys lived in Los Angeles , California . There, he met Bill Stennis, who was very successful in the chicken business. “I used to sit in my car in his parking lot for hours at a time, watching the number of people who went into his restaurant to buy chicken. It was then I decided, that was the business for me. I went to work at one of his restaurants for free, just so I could learn the business”
After he learned all that was involved in the purchasing, preparation, management and marketing of the restaurant, Keys began experimenting with different batters for his own fried chicken that he would later serve at his All-Pro restaurants. He went to his wife and relatives and asked them for their fried chicken recipes. He pulled the best from all of the recipes and took the resulting mixture to a chemist to have it made in restaurant quantities. The rest is history, as they say.
All Pro Fried Chicken, became the launching pad for Keys’ franchising career. He established over 50 All Pro franchises throughout the East and West coasts. In 1970, Keys made history when he entered a joint venture with Kentucky Fried Chicken.
“BLACK ENTERPRISE MUST COME TO PASS IF OUR COUNTRY IS TO CONTINUE TO PROSPER.”