Hardee’s first franchisee and the co-founder of Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Mayo Boddie Sr., passed away on March 31.

Boddie Sr. partnered with his brother and uncle in 1962 to open the first restaurant in the Hardee’s franchise in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Boddie-Noell Enterprises, Inc. today operates nearly 350 Hardee’s restaurants, BNE Land and Development, and other ventures. After serving many years as president and CEO of Boddie-Noell, he was Chairman of the Board for the last 25 years of his life.

“We are saddened by news of the passing of Mayo Boddie, a father, friend, businessman, and philanthropist. What he meant to Hardee’s, and the communities our restaurants have served cannot be overstated,” CKE Restaurants CEO Ned Lyerly said in a statement. “We are thankful to have partnered with him over the past 50 years.

“In 1962, Mayo was the first to purchase a Hardee’s franchise location. He saw the potential the restaurant’s model held to bring high quality meals to customers and worked tirelessly to bring that vision to reality across North Carolina, as well as the country. Ultimately developing nearly 350 locations, his restaurants were known for innovation, where menus were regularly updated to provide customers fresh variety.”

“His legacy is not only reflected by his success as a franchisee and brand partner, but by how he treated every individual with dignity and respect,” he added. “Our hearts are with the Boddie family during this time as we celebrate the life Mayo led and the legacy he leaves.”

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