Franchises Lose Their Patriarchs

Rocky Aoki, “who sought to offer diners a sense of magic and entertainment at his Japanese steakhouse Benihana,” has passed away at 69 — last month, Wilbur Hardee, founder of the Hardee’s franchise (along with a wave of fast-food joints in North Carolina) died at 89, joining such recently deceased pioneers of mass-consumed indulgences as JR Simplot (aka Mr Spud), who is “credited with giving the world the deep-frozen French fry” and Herb Peterson, the creator of the Egg McMuffin, making for solemn trips to the drive-thru this year.