UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture 401 President Clinton Avenue Little Rock, AR, 72201 email@example.com
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UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture
Hall, Wes (Wesley T.), 1915-2002
Wes Hall Papers, 1955-1989
5.0 Linear feet3 document boxes, 1 square box, 2 OV flat boxes
General Physical Description note
3 document boxes, 1 square box, 2 OV flat boxes
Scope and Contents note
This collection contains correspondence, business materials, printed materials, newsclippings, memorabilia, photographs, employee training films, audio tapes, slides and scrapbooks of Wes Hall, founder of Minute Man of America restaurants and other companies.
Wesley T. Hall (1915 April 22-2002 May 8) was born in Little Rock and graduated from Little Rock High School in 1933. Hall worked from 1933-1936 at the Food Palace, Little Rock's first supermarket. During this time he also attended Draughon's Business College part-time studying accounting. From 1936 until 1942 Hall worked for Kraft Food Company. Hall served in the U.S. Army infantry including seven months in the Pacific theater during World War II. He was recalled to active duty in 1951-1952, at which time he operated mess halls for the Quartermaster Corps at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and Camp Crowder, Missouri. Following military service in WWII, Hall worked for Lido Enterprises, a cafeteria and restaurant business, until 1951.
From 1951 until 1981, Hall operated Minute Man of America, Dixie Equipment Company, Food Service Supply, and Razorback Sign Company. After selling his controlling interests in these business, Hall formed Corporate Finance Associates, a merger and finance company, in 1981. In 1985, Hall founded Wes Hall, Inc., a real estate company. He retired in January of 1991 and served as an adviser to Service Corporation of Retired Executives (SCORE) until his death in 2002.
Originally a coffee shop with 24-hour service, Minute Man was opened in May of 1948 by four partners, Oliver Harper, Walter Oathout, Alton Barnett, and Hall. In 1956, Hall bought out the other partners and converted the flagship store at 407 Broadway Street (Little Rock) to a fast-food restaurant. A historical marker was placed at the site, now occupied by Regions Bank.
In 1948 Raytheon Company placed three experimental model ovens in locations in the United States; Hall and partners received one of the three, and pioneered the use of electronic ovens in the restaurant business.
According to Hall, Minute Man was a forerunner in a number of concepts for fast food restaurants. For example, Minute Man sold a gourmet hamburger with a double full-sized meat patty with extras a full year before McDonalds offered the Big Mac. Minute Man was also the first fast food restaurant to give a free glass to customers as part of a Coca Cola promotion in the early 1970s. Minute Man additionally offered the first specialty meal for children, called the Magic Meal. Burger King bought the rights to use the Magic Meal concept and name for 1982-1983. Likewise, Minute Man's slogan, "old-fashioned hamburgers," was later sold to Wendy's.
Other campaigns included trips abroad. The first came after UALR student John Carland in 1965, who was studying in India, wrote home that he craved a Minute Man hamburger. Hall sent someone to escort a Minute Man hamburger all the way to Madras to grant Carland’s wish. Then in 1972, Jacksonville native Sharon Campbell found herself in the same situation after her family moved to a military base in Tehran, Iran. This time, in what became known as Operation Hamburger, Hall trained up and sent Jacksonville mayor John Harden to cook the burgers barbecue-style for Campbell and friends. Local papers in Arkansas followed the evolution of these events for weeks.
Also of note is the partnership between Richard Mays and Mike Long, who formed Polardice, Inc., and opened a Minute Man restaurant at 4th and Locust Streets in North Little Rock, ca. 1973. Theirs was thought to be the first biracial partnership in fast food in the state.
At the peak of operation, Minute Man had 57 locations in Arkansas and seven surrounding states. The only Minute Man location presently in operation is in El Dorado, Arkansas.
Business enterprises--Arkansas--History--20th century
Fast food restaurants--United States
Minute Man of America.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for viewing at the Arkansas Studies Institute.
Conditions Governing Use note
The copyright law of the United States (Title 17-U.S. Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. The person using this material is liable for any infringement.
Copyright for correspondence in the collections belongs to those correspondents or their beneficiaries. Persons wanting to re-use those materials are advised to obtain permission from copyright holders.
Wes Hall Papers, 1955-1989, UALR.MS.0100. UALR Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Arkansas Studies Institute, Little Rock.
Footnote or Endnote info:
Description of item, file or item number, box number, Wes Hall Papers, 1955-1989, UALR.MS.0100.