The following is an excerpt from "No Humble Pie," The Shocker, fall 2008:
A funny thing happened to Dan ’53/04 and Frank ’00 Carney on their way to business degrees at Wichita State. Both were sidetracked, at least temporarily, by the chore of building an international business empire.
The Carneys’ business didn’t start out big, of course, just as a tiny, 25-seat pizzeria behind their father’s grocery store at Kellogg and Bluff. Like all of Michael and Mary Frances Carney’s children, Dan’s and Frank’s business education began early in their family’s Carney’s Market, doing odd jobs and, as soon as they were old enough to get a driver’s license, making deliveries. As the oldest of the 12 children, Dan was largely responsible for the operation of the store after his father’s death, even as he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of Wichita.
Although the Carneys were already in business for themselves with the family grocery store, Dan and brother Frank, who was seven years younger and a sophomore studying mathematics at WSU, decided to get into the restaurant business. The official story told in “The Pizza Hut Story,” a history of the chain that comes in its own pizza box, is that the suggestion to try pizza came from their market’s landlady, who had read about the emerging fad for the food in The Saturday Evening Post and was eager to find a new business to replace the slightly seedy bar and grill whose building she owned next to the store.
With $600 borrowed from their mother, and some help from a friend of their sister, the brothers moved into the hut-shaped building next to the grocery store and got to work. The original Pizza Hut was one of only two places that offered pizza in Wichita in 1958, and local demand for the product proved bigger than their small hut of a building.