From Law School to Fast Food – Andy Puzder

From Law School to Fast Food – Andy Puzder

From Law School to Fast Food – Andy Puzder

“Do something you love … and be the best at it.” Andy Puzder’s advice to aspiring business owners comes from experience. Credited with turning around Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., the former CKE Restaurants CEO shares his story with Charles Mizrahi — along with his views on capitalism and the future of the nation.

Topics Discussed:

  • An Introduction to Andy Puzder (00:00:00)
  • Aspiring to Be More (00:02:17)
  • The Nature of Capitalism (00:05:45)
  • From Law School to Fast Food (00:18:28)
  • Turning Things Around (00:21:33)
  • Valuable Lessons (00:27:26)
  • The Innovation that Saved Hardee’s (00:33:56)
  • When Leadership Loses Touch (00:38:53)
  • Puzder’s Advice (00:41:53)
  • When to Step Back (00:43:46)
  • A Response to Democrats (00:46:57)
  • Politicians: The Damage They’re Doing (00:53:36)
  • Getting the Word Out (00:56:58)

Guest Bio:

Andy Puzder is a true American success story. The first in his family to graduate college, he went on to become a lawyer … and eventually, the CEO of CKE Restaurants. Since transforming that businesses, Puzder has set his sights on informing the public on capitalism and the danger of government-dependent society. His articles can be found on Fox Business, PragerU, RealClearPolitics, The Wall Street Journal and more.

Resources Mentioned:

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Read Transcript

ANDY PUZDER: Do something you love, and be the best at it. Find your own niche. You’ve got to find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.

ANDY PUZDER: At Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, we did that. We introduced something called the $6 burger, which was a burger that cost only $3.99.

ANDY PUZDER: When we came out with this idea, I remember our Coca-Cola representative came to me and said, “Andy, you can’t sell a burger at a fast food restaurant for $4.” And I said, “Yeah, but we’re going to advertise it as if it’s worth $6.”

ANDY PUZDER: So, we have these advertisements at Carl’s and Hardee’s — a $6 burger that’s only $3.99. Quite honestly, they sold like hotcakes. They really saved the company. They were the basis for our recovery.

ANDY PUZDER: You have to find some way to distinguish yourself so that people want to drive by. In our case, we want them to drive past McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, In-N-Out, Five Guys and Shake Shack.

ANDY PUZDER: Why would I drive past those to get to a Hardee’s or a Carl’s? Well, if you can answer that for your business — whatever business you’re in — you’re probably going to be successful.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: My guest today is Andy Puzder, the former CEO of CKE Restaurants, where he helped turn Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. into the fast food powerhouses they are today.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Puzder is credited with turning around both the Hardee’s brand and CKE. He set the stage for the company to survive, become financially secure, return to growth and employ tens of thousands of people. Under his leadership, CKE has expanded to 3700 restaurants globally.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Andy is also a prolific author. His articles have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes and RealClearPolitics. He has also made videos for PragerU on capitalism and free markets, which have millions of views.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: In one of those videos, he goes point-by-point, showing how Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not understand socialism or capitalism. That video alone has close to 21 million views. I recently sat down with Andy to talk about Getting America Back to Work and his concerns for America over the next four years.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Andy, I want to thank you so much for being on the show. I greatly appreciate your time. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to this since I started watching your videos on PragerU. You just blew me away.

ANDY PUZDER: Thanks, Charles. It’s a pleasure to be here. Those videos are great to do. PragerU is a wonderful spot.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Andy, I want to start from the beginning with you because there is so much to know. I think you were right in the running for Secretary of Labor — President Trump’s first Secretary of Labor. You had an amazing career as an attorney. You were CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. at a critical time in their business where everything looked pretty bleak. You turned that around and made them into a powerhouse today.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Now, you’re spreading amazing, amazing work with your latest two broadsides. One is: Getting America Back to Work. The other is: It’s Time to Let America Work Again. I just want to share with our listeners [the definition of] a broadside. It’s almost like what Thomas Paine did with Common Sense, right?

ANDY PUZDER: Right. That’s exactly what they’re intended to be.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: It’s a small little booklet for just a few dollars with around 40 or 50 pages and 5000 words. Your writing style is just enjoyable. You get right to the point.

ANDY PUZDER: Thank you.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: For an attorney, that’s a rare thing to have. Alright. Andy, let’s start from the beginning. You grew up in the heartland of America, right?

ANDY PUZDER: I did. My family was a working-class family out of Cleveland, Ohio. My dad was a car salesman. My grandfather came to this country in the early 1900s and worked construction until he passed away during the Great Depression. We were a working-class family, and I aspired to be more. Thank God I lived in a country where I could be more. It was just a normal Cleveland upbringing.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You were one of the first in your family to go to college, right?

ANDY PUZDER: Yeah, I was the first one to graduate from college — that we know of. I don’t know if there were people [in our family] in Europe who did, but I doubt it. I definitely was the first one in the United States to graduate.

ANDY PUZDER: My brothers graduated after me, and I had some cousins that graduated, but it was my privilege to be the first one to go. I went to Kent State University in Cleveland, which was south of where I grew up, for two years. I left about a semester after the shootings in 1970, took three years off to play in rock and roll bands and then went back to school at Cleveland State University and graduated in 1975.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: What instruments do you play?

ANDY PUZDER: Guitar, bass and vocals. I could sing harmony, which kind of made you valuable back in those days. I played guitar a little, sang and made it up to get through school.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: That’s great. That’s absolutely great. So, you went to school and wanted to be a lawyer since you were a little kid? Or, is that something you just fell into?

ANDY PUZDER: I was about ten years old. I was arguing with my mother and she said, “You’d make a great lawyer.” And I said, “What’s a lawyer?”

ANDY PUZDER: From then on, I kind of had it in the back of my head that being a lawyer was what I wanted to do. I loved history. It was always my favorite subject in school, and it was my major in college. The more I studied, the more I learned. I realized being a lawyer was the right thing for me.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I want to ask you one thing. My family was very similar to yours. My grandparents came here and they were first-generation immigrants. They came here with virtually nothing. They came in steerage. I’m sure your grandparents didn’t come on an ocean liner on the top deck. They came to this country without speaking the language or having any money. What is it about this country that can take people from any part of the world, plant them anywhere and help them grow like weeds?

ANDY PUZDER: What are the opportunities that a capitalist system provides? It gives everybody the opportunity to move forward with their lives. There are no restrictions on how far you can go. There are no restrictions based on your class, race, religion or place of national origin.

ANDY PUZDER: My grandparents both came here from the Austro-Hungarian Empire — escaped, really. I’m sure they walked to whatever ocean liner they took. And, as you said, in steerage. They came to the United States, got jobs and started to build families. My grandfather’s greatest dream was to own a piece of land and raise his family. He died in the late 1930s during the Great Depression, but he owned his own home. He worked a job as a construction worker. He had a wife and two children. [These are] things that never would have happened back in his native land. So, [America] really is the land of opportunity. You really build a basis on which future generations can grow and develop.

ANDY PUZDER: Thank God that my dad, who was a World War II combat vet, went on to be a car salesman and was successful. He ended up with part-ownership in a car dealership by the time I was in in my late 20s. These are the kinds of things that people can do in the United States that you really can’t do in other places.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Why is there a very vocal — I’ve got to say minority because it can’t be a majority — that is saying America is not the land of opportunity? [They’re saying] it’s a land of discrimination, systemic racism and economic inequality. What are they missing?

ANDY PUZDER: They’re missing the whole nature of capitalism. I don’t think the people who promote that don’t understand what’s going on in this country. I think the people on the far left understand exactly what they’re doing — as has been the case with people throughout history.

ANDY PUZDER: They’re out there trying to get power. They want to centralize power in the government. Then, they want to take over the government. Bernie Sanders — You hear him talking about raising taxes, bringing in more money, making the government bigger and more powerful and claiming it’s going to help you.

ANDY PUZDER: And, by the way, he wants you to put him in charge of the government that he wants you to make bigger, more powerful and give more money to.

ANDY PUZDER: What people miss when they listen to him — when they accept what he and his ilk say about how the country should be run — they miss the basis of a capitalist system.

ANDY PUZDER: Succeeding in a capitalist system means meeting the needs of other people. You always hear about how capitalism is based on greed. Well, it’s not. It’s based on meeting other people’s needs.

ANDY PUZDER: My grandfather, as I said, probably walked to catch the ocean liner that brought him to the United States. He came in 1912. By 1920, he owned a car. [That was] thanks to Henry Ford going forward and meeting the needs of people. What freedom that gave him! It gave him freedom as to where he lived and worked. It gave him freedom with his spare time. It was an incredible invention.

ANDY PUZDER: Henry Ford became very wealthy, but did so because he met the needs of a broad base of people.

ANDY PUZDER: It’s like Jeff Bezos with Amazon. Jeff Bezos didn’t steal money from us. You kept hearing about how he became a billionaire in this pandemic. He didn’t become a billionaire because he stole money from us. He didn’t become a billionaire because he oppressed us and made us work for him — as was the case in other countries prior to the United States. He became wealthy because he gave tremendous benefits to everybody.

ANDY PUZDER: In a capitalist country, the way you succeed is by meeting the needs of other people. In a socialist country — or country whose economy is dominated by the government — you succeed by getting more for yourself from a limited supply of goods and services that the government makes available.

ANDY PUZDER: How do you do that? You do that by satisfying the people that are in government. You have to meet their needs. You don’t meet the needs of the public in general. You don’t meet the needs of your fellow man and woman. You meet the needs of government executives. Then, you get more for yourself. It’s really kind of a greed-based system.

ANDY PUZDER: I always use the example of people standing in bread lines — whether it’s in Russia, Venezuela, Cuba or any other socialist countries. You always end up with a bread line. You’re not concerned about the person in front of you or behind you. You’re not concerned about how to meet their needs and get them more food. You’re concerned about getting more food for yourself when you get to the end of that line.

ANDY PUZDER: That empowers government and the people that are in government. It doesn’t benefit other people.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You brought up Amazon, for example. You were so spot on. Until this pandemic, people didn’t realize that Amazon and Jeff Bezos always focused on customers. They would do anything for the customer: “You said he didn’t come? Don’t worry, we’ll credit your account.”

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Bezos understood the lifetime value of the customer, and that if you took care of the customer, they’d eventually take care of you. It’s absolutely amazing what a vital part [Amazon] played in keeping our country running — and supply chains moving — during the pandemic.

ANDY PUZDER: When you think about Jeff Bezos… He was adopted. His adopted parents financed this business. He started out like Steve Jobs — in a garage, selling books — and built this tremendous enterprise.

ANDY PUZDER: And it’s only a tremendous enterprise because we all benefit from it. It didn’t grow for any other reason. How would we have possibly gotten through this pandemic with any sense of sanity if it hadn’t been for Amazon, Zoom, Netflix, Skype, Uber Eats —

CHARLES MIZRAHI: — For UPS and FedEx. It’s just unbelievable!

ANDY PUZDER: Yeah! All these companies were created with the idea that they would benefit us. During this pandemic, it’s been tremendous what they’ve been able to do.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I have Amazon Prime, and I’ve been with them since they started.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I first ordered from Amazon in 1998. I went all the way back and looked at the first thing. It was a book. I ordered five different books from this one author because I thought the company was going to go out of business. It was a great thing. Instead of running around a Barnes Noble, I could just order five. I was so excited to get this one author, and 22 years later… I still love the company. I love the business it has.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Prime, during the pandemic, was rerouting to get stuff to health care workers and first responders — gowns, masks and all. Before I knew, I remember how upset I was. I was so upset that they were delaying Prime by two days. I was getting things on the third day or fourth day. Once you have it… Remember back in the day when you saw TV advertorials and it took four to six weeks for delivery?

ANDY PUZDER: Yep.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Now, if things don’t come in in two days, I think: “What’s happening? Amazon’s really slipping.”

ANDY PUZDER: What’s interesting about Amazon is three things.

ANDY PUZDER: No.1: The fact that you use Amazon isn’t going to make you richer. In other words, when we look at income inequality, the fact that Amazon exists doesn’t necessarily make you a wealthier person or increase your income. But it sure improves your life. Just like my dad getting a car or getting an iPhone — that doesn’t increase your income necessarily, but it gives you a better standard of life. You get the kinds of things that, prior to Amazon, Ford and Apple, only super rich people got — if they had access to them at all.

ANDY PUZDER: No. 2: People criticize Bezos for making so much money with Amazon. By the way, 15, 20, or even five to 10 years ago, you could have bought a bunch of Amazon stock. You could have bought it really cheap. It was 10 dollars a share 15 years ago. If it was something you had faith in, you could have, in the United States, invested in that company and made a ton of money — even without doing all the work.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You could have been his partner. That’s what the stock is: A piece of a business.

ANDY PUZDER: That’s exactly right. And No. 3 was that Sanders criticized Amazon. He said Amazon didn’t pay enough in taxes and that it makes all this money. Well, that’s because it lost money for years.

ANDY PUZDER: There’s a part of the tax code that says if you have losses in prior years, you can offset them when you start to get profitable. Now, Sanders has been in the Senate for decades, and the Democrats have been in control of the Senate and House for periods of time over the past 20 or 30 years since Bill Clinton was elected. That rule has been in place all that time. Anybody who was in business could take advantage of it. But, Sanders goes out and says Amazon isn’t paying enough.

ANDY PUZDER: When he was asked in a Fox News town hall — when he was in the primaries — about the money he made selling his book, his response was, “Yes I made a lot of money and became a millionaire selling the book.” He [also] said, “If you want to become a millionaire, you should write a best-selling book too.” I thought: “What a great country. Isn’t that wonderful?”

ANDY PUZDER: Then they criticized [him] and said he only paid what he owed in taxes. He took advantage of the Trump tax cuts. He took every deduction he could. Then, Sanders said, “Look, I paid what I owed. It was fair. I paid what I owed.”

ANDY PUZDER: Well, you know what? So does Amazon. These criticisms you hear from the left are baseless. They’re derogatory. They indicate, to me, that it’s a group that wants to seize power — not a group that wants to try to find the best solutions for running the country or economy.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Yeah, definitely. Just going back to Amazon for a second and how it makes life better… Costco and Walmart are examples of bringing prices down. I think there was a 1.5 to 2.5% inflation rate. [Amazon] has been able to keep that down simply because of Walmart, Costco and stores like that.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Back in the day, there was a small town. There was one store where you could buy your stuff. That was it. There was no competition. They could charge whatever they wanted.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Growing up, my kids loved baseball cards and all sorts of collectible things. There was one store, so you’d have to walk there and pay whatever price the proprietor said. There was no choice. I happened to walk by just a few years ago, and she was lamenting how the business went down dramatically because the Internet killed it. The Internet didn’t kill it! It was price discovery. You were able to sell because nobody knew what the prices of your collectibles were! Now, you have competition. It’s great. Someone else is making money. You have to be sharper.

ANDY PUZDER: You have access to an incredible number of products. You have the kind of negotiating power that only rich people formerly had. These are all things that improve our quality of life and make life in this country so much better than it was for our forbearers — for my grandparents or even my parents.

ANDY PUZDER: I don’t think people really appreciate what we have. It’s a little scary right now that people are willing to risk what we have for these visions of nirvana that the left tries to sell people, which, historically, never worked. Here you are in the greatest country with the greatest benefits for working people in the history of the world. People don’t seem to have the appreciation for it that they should.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I think I read somewhere that socialism has been tried 42 times and has never worked. Now that’s real hutzpah — to think that these people are going to get it right this time. It just boggles my mind.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: OK. So, you went to law school and became a lawyer. How did you end up in the fast food business?

ANDY PUZDER: Well, it’s interesting. I became a lawyer and was trying lawsuits. I tried large civil cases. In other words: I argued about people’s money. One of the individuals I ended up representing was a guy named Carl Karcher.

ANDY PUZDER: Carl was an incredible guy. He was born in 1917 — the same year as John Kennedy. He moved from Ohio to California and started a fast food chain by buying a hotdog cart. He actually bought a hot dog cart in 1941. He had to borrow money to do it. He and his wife took his car to a bank and used it as collateral to get a couple hundred bucks to buy this hot dog stand.

ANDY PUZDER: By the time I met him in 1987, he had a half-a-billion-dollar company. This was a guy with an eighth-grade education who really understood what it took to build a business and make people happy. He loved making the food.

ANDY PUZDER: I ended up representing Carl. Carl got in financial trouble. I got him out of financial trouble by bringing in another client of mine — a guy named Bill Foley — who ran Fidelity National Financial. That’s the largest title insurance company in the country. Bill got Carl out of trouble. After that, he brought me in as general counsel at Fidelity. I served there for about five years.

ANDY PUZDER: Then, Carl’s Jr. got in big trouble. It bought Hardee’s and became very financially distressed. Then, Bill said, “You’re going to be the president and CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.” Quite honestly, I said, “What are you talking about? Why would you make me the president and CEO of Carl’s Jr. and Hardees?” In any event, he did, and it worked out OK.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: When you became CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., how bad was the situation?

ANDY PUZDER: We had 26 banks in our line of credit and 13 of them had us in workout, which means: “We want to be paid today.”

CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, it was pretty bad.

ANDY PUZDER: When I was brought in, everybody thought they brought me in to take the company into bankruptcy or sell it. As a lawyer, that was the kind of thing I was doing. After I stopped trying lawsuits, I became a corporate transactional lawyer. I did a lot of deals.

ANDY PUZDER: So, they thought I’d been brought in to either take it into bankruptcy or sell it. In the first couple of weeks, I realized that nobody was going to want to buy it. It would have hurt the investors. It would have hurt the banks. It would hurt the employees. I really couldn’t sell it. Bankruptcy would have done the same thing. It would have just stuck it to the employees, banks and investors. I decided to see if we could fix it.

ANDY PUZDER: Thank God it worked because if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be on this call right now. I’d be in a much different situation.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: What’s the first thing you did? You walked in on your first day as CEO and knew the situation. The company was in pretty bad shape.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You folks are in a very competitive business. You’re competing against McDonald’s and Burger King. The fast food business is a really competitive, tough business. You have your coffee and it’s nine o’clock. What’s on your list of things to do?

ANDY PUZDER: Luckily, I had some experience representing Carl Karcher for a number of years. I had also been general counsel of restaurants while I was in general counsel at Fidelity. So, I knew a little bit about the business and what they were doing.

ANDY PUZDER: Generally, what happened was that when people grew up in the restaurant industry, they’d kind of go to the top. They’d get to be CEO, sit down at the desk and think, “Restaurants… I don’t have to mess with that anymore. What’s going on in legal and accounting?” They’d want to know what was going on and what they didn’t understand.

ANDY PUZDER: When I took over, I pretty much knew what was going on in legal and accounting. What I didn’t know was what was going on in the restaurants. And so, I started to visit. I didn’t have coffee in the office for a couple of months. I spent a lot of time on the road visiting restaurants, seeing how service was and seeing what the food was like. It turned out that the service was really bad, the restaurants were dirty and the food wasn’t very good.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Hang on a second. How many stores did you have at that time? How many franchisees were there?

ANDY PUZDER: At that point, we were about 50% company and 50% franchised. By the time I left, we were 95% franchised and 5% company. At that point, we were about 50-50.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: OK. You get in your car and go to company stores now, right?

ANDY PUZDER: Yes.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Do they know you’re coming?

ANDY PUZDER: No. It was great the first year because nobody knew who I was. I remember walking into my first Hardee’s in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. I walked up to the front counter and the young lady behind the counter was staring at me. I stared at her, and she kept staring at me. I wasn’t a restaurant guy, but I thought that maybe she should say: “Good morning. Welcome to Hardee’s. May I help you?” Or, something to that effect.

ANDY PUZDER: I actually found a guy who’d been working at Hardee’s since he was sixteen. He was probably in his late thirties. I put him in charge of operations for Hardee’s. We visited these restaurants together. I realized that the people were impolite. So, we created a script. We put it right on what I called the cash register before I got this job. Now, I know it’s the POS system — the point-of-sale system. I put on it: “Welcome to Hardee’s! May I help you?” I went through a whole script that they would read to customers when they came and tried to order.

ANDY PUZDER: We also set up a 10-point plan on how to run a really good restaurant. I went to the general manager’s office and there was this book about how you could run the perfect restaurant. There were inserts people would get once a week. They were laying on the floor. Nobody was reading them. I went to school for 19 years. I was lucky if the guys or gals running this restaurant graduated from high school. They weren’t going to read this book. They weren’t going to read the inserts. So, we came up with a 10-point plan about how to run a really good restaurant.

ANDY PUZDER: The first point in that was scripting. You’d have to answer. You’d have to respond. Once we put this 10-point plan in place, I went into one of the restaurants and the young lady behind the counter was, again, staring at me as I stared back at her. I walked behind the counter — she didn’t know who I was — and said, “Aren’t you supposed to read the script?” She looked at me like, “Who are you, and what are you doing behind the counter?”

ANDY PUZDER: I said, “My name’s Andy Puzder. I’m the CEO. This is Noah Griggs. He’s the COO. We wrote the script, and we’d really like you to read it.” And she said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I normally read it. I just missed it this time.” Then, I said, “Do you know who the most important person in this restaurant is?” And she said, “Yeah, you.” And I said, “No, it’s not me. It’s you. Everything I do — everything our marketing people and Noah do — is to get a person to stand where I was standing and look at you. If you’re happy, Hardee’s is happy. If you’re sad, Hardee’s is sad. If you’re polite, Hardee’s is polite. If you’re impolite, Hardee’s is impolite. It’s you!”

ANDY PUZDER: When you do that in about 10 to 15 restaurants, the word starts to get around that the CEO is visiting. I took a very hands-on, ground-level approach to trying to fix the restaurants. That’s the long answer to your question, but it’s the answer.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You know what I love about it? It just goes back to when I research companies… When I managed money, and now with my investment newsletter… It’s the simple things. It’s not the complicated hierarchies, charts, decks and IR people. It’s about saying: “Hello! Welcome to Hardee’s.” That’s where it all starts. Everything else after that doesn’t matter. If the person’s not there… You could have the greatest fries in the world. No one’s ever going to know it.

ANDY PUZDER: That’s exactly right. This is the mistake a lot of executives make. They get very focused on the financials. You need to pay attention to the financials. But, if you’re running a good restaurant or business — any kind of business with foot traffic… If you’re polite to the customers, have a good product and make the place that they’re coming to desirable, the financial numbers are going to be fine. If you don’t have those basics in place, then your company’s not going to succeed. I think that’s a mistake that particularly people who go and get MBAs and never get jobs don’t really seem to understand. You can’t run the company from the financials. You have to run it from the customer’s point of view.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: One of my son’s friends asked, “I want to go to school, get an MBA and learn about business. What’s the best way to do it?”

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I said, “Go on GoDaddy, buy a domain for 10 dollars, set up a website and open up a business.” Sell anything. In one month, you’ll learn about cash flow, profit margins, how to generate revenue, marketing and everything you really need to run a successful business in 30 days. And just get better at that rather than sitting in school or reading books. There’s nothing like doing it.

ANDY PUZDER: I think the lessons that were most valuable to me throughout my career came from scooping ice cream at Baskin-Robbins. There was a franchisee in my hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. I was scooping ice cream, and I ended up doing inventory. I had to understand customer service and how to make change in the register — all the things that you would need to know to run a business from the bottom up. I think the proudest day of my business career was when I went into this franchisee’s office, was handed a key and the manager said, “You’re going to open in the morning. You’re now the assistant manager.” I think I got a 10-cent-an-hour raise. I was making a dollar, so a 10-cent-an-hour raise was a big deal.

ANDY PUZDER: The next morning, I went in and we had the cleanest Baskin Robbins in America because I felt like I had some ownership in it — like I earned or achieved something.

ANDY PUZDER: That’s the kind of thing that you get with an entry-level position. You get the pride that keeps you off the streets and in school. It’s self-confidence that really helps you go forward in life. You only get that with a job. When I hear people complain about how entry-level jobs are low-wage positions while people learn, I remember those Baskin-Robbins days and how valuable they are to me.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: That’s what capitalism is all about. Whereas, in a socialist [country], I don’t think any government worker wakes up and says, “How can I do better? How can I make the IRS 1-800 number better?” It’s a government job. The incentive really isn’t there because regardless of whether you do great or not, you’ll still getting paid the same because they can fire you.

ANDY PUZDER: Do you think you could run the driver’s license bureau better than this? Maybe — if it was a private company and competing with the driver’s license bureau down the street. Do you think service would improve? Do you think more people would get through the lines every day?

ANDY PUZDER: It’s those kinds of things. There are good-hearted people that work in government agencies and are very committed to what they do. But I think you also tend to find people who don’t feel that way and aren’t dedicated to their jobs — which is why socialist economies never succeed.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: When you have pride of ownership… When you have the key to a store, that is your store for all intents and purposes. You mop that floor. You welcome customers. There is enthusiasm.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I know that when you start your own business — and I’ve started several— you start something from nothing. Which is really just a lawyer’s black book with corporate things. That’s the starting point. Now, I’m in my own business. I have my own LLC or corporation. When you get that first customer, there is nothing that seems impossible.

ANDY PUZDER: I agree. I actually have a grandson who started working at a McDonald’s in Phoenix. He calls me every couple of weeks to report on his progress, what his boss said to him and how he’s got some money in the bank. Now that’s a kid I’m not worried about. I’m not worried about where he’ll end up in his life. He’s on the right track. You’ve got to get that feeling of self-respect and dignity. You’ve got to get on the ladder of opportunity to really do anything meaningful with your life. I think that’s why people in the United States tend to succeed. We have the opportunity to do that.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: And you get that feedback almost immediately. When the marketplace rewards you and beats a path to your door… When you do something right and gain market share… All of the sudden, you start making money. You don’t go into it to make money first. You go into it because it’s a passion.

ANDY PUZDER: Yeah. For a lot of people, it’s an education. You know, when I was learning about Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, I found out that we had a lot of people that came to this country as immigrants or had a socioeconomic background that prevented them from going to college. They couldn’t get the kind of education that I had access to — or didn’t want to. They wanted to get right into business and start working.

ANDY PUZDER: There was nothing better than to see a young man or woman who started out cleaning the restrooms end up managing the restaurant. Managers could make 60 to $80,000 per year in salary plus bonus. Then, to see that person become a franchisee and actually own their own business… There was nothing more satisfying than watching people go through that process. It all started with an entry-level job where they got an education — and it was an education where they got paid. It just wasn’t at a college or university.

ANDY PUZDER: Today, unless you’re in one of the STEM professions, I don’t know that going to college or a university really teaches you much.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Dennis Prager, who we had on the show a while back, said exactly that.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: He said other than [going] for STEM, there’s no reason to go to college. This is just a 180 from what the mantra has been for all these years: Pay the big 50 to $60,000 tuition and go into debt because a college degree means so much.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Now, with the pandemic and people working from anywhere, you’re being judged on your abilities and not what college you graduated from. It just turned that on its head.

ANDY PUZDER: It has turned that on its head. I think colleges and universities have also kind of ceded their position as the people that impart wisdom. I don’t think colleges and universities really impart wisdom anymore. They’re either imparting a political viewpoint or knowledge, which is different than wisdom.

ANDY PUZDER: But they’re teaching people how to do things in these STEM careers, which is great. Even if you want to go to law school, you need to go to college and major in something that helps you in law school.

ANDY PUZDER: As far as what we used to associate with university educations — which was that if you went there, you’d come out a wiser person — I really don’t see that happening anymore.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Yeah. Getting back to Hardee’s for a minute… You started off with a very simple plan of going out and getting the lay of the land. You weren’t the general sitting back and waiting for your lieutenants to report. You went out into the battlefield and saw what it was.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I have a business. The first thing I want to do is make sure my customers are being greeted well. That’s the first moment of truth. When I think about how difficult the restaurant business is…

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You could do something perfectly 100 times, but if a hair got onto a frankfurter, you lost that customer. Or, the bathroom was dirty. How do you keep that standard of excellence every day, train all your people and keep that humming throughout 3000+ stores?

ANDY PUZDER: You really need to have systems in place that encourage that. For example, Hardee’s, when I took over, was the jack of all trades and master of none. They would have a new discount product every week or two. It ignored the fact that discount products didn’t make a lot of money. And, if you took the people that were working in the restaurants and overwhelmed them with new products, they weren’t going to perform very well.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Give me an example. What is a discounted product? What do you mean by that?

ANDY PUZDER: If you had a taco for $0.39 or a hamburger for $0.49 — or any kind of product that that sold below a dollar — it would have been considered a discount product. We’ve had inflation since then. I think a dollar was the cutoff back then.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: So, people come in the store for cheap prices and that’s not a good thing because…?

ANDY PUZDER: The more you sell, the more you lose. You’ve got to put a lot of labor into making them. It takes just as much labor to make a $0.49 hamburger as it does to make a $3 hamburger. The labor is not going to change. You’ve also got the cost of your goods. You’ve got to pay the rent. You’ve got to pay the utilities. You’ve got all these expenses from running a business dependent on a discount product. You’re not going to have enough profit to make it worthwhile and keep your doors open. You have to have products that are profitable. It’s very difficult to do that when you’re only selling discount products.

ANDY PUZDER: Carl’s Jr. was selling more premium products and had a very limited menu — just burgers and a chicken sandwich, basically. They had charbroilers, which acted like conveyors belts. You’d put a burger on one end and it came out the other end tasting like it was made on your grill. Hardee’s had all these cooking systems and ran a very complicated operation. The way I found that out was actually setting up a day when all the employees at the corporate office had to work in a restaurant.

ANDY PUZDER: I was running both brands, so I worked at a restaurant for both. I worked in a Carl’s Jr., and in the morning, breakfast wasn’t really a big part of the day. We were talking about the Angels game… Everybody was just getting ready for lunch. Lunch and dinner were very fast, but we were prepared. The charbroiler cooked everything. We took the food out to the table. It was pretty simple. The restaurant made a lot of money at a very high sales volume, and employees were happy.

ANDY PUZDER: Then, I worked at Hardee’s, which had a big breakfast. At breakfast, we were slammed. Everybody was working their butts off. Then, lunch and dinner came. By the way, Hardee’s made the biscuits from scratch, which was great — they still do — but it had a very complicated process. During lunch and dinner, Hardee’s had roast beef, fried chicken, hamburgers and all these different products.

ANDY PUZDER: By the end of the day, I was exhausted. I said, “I don’t know how people do this job for what they’re being paid because I don’t work this hard — and I make a lot more money than they do. This was just too difficult.” So, we simplified the process.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: What was the difficulty? The actual preparation, or just so many processes and different products?

ANDY PUZDER: You’re running all over the place. You’re trying to make sure that the fried chicken is fresh because if it’s not, you’ve got to throw it out. You’ve got to make sure the roast beef is being cooked and ready. When people order a roast beef sandwich, you’re making hamburgers on the grill and flipping them. You’re not running them through a charbroiler.

ANDY PUZDER: We went and took 40 items off the menu at Hardee’s. We decided to sell big, juicy and delicious burgers. I was going to be at both brands.

ANDY PUZDER: That was something we did that nobody had ever done before. That was the innovation that I think really saved Hardee’s. We kind of changed the burger industry in that respect, and we made the processes a lot simpler so that it wasn’t so difficult to work at the restaurant. It’s something I would have never had a good grip on if I hadn’t gone and worked in a restaurant myself. Once we did that, customer ratings and satisfaction, sales and profit started to improve. It happened very quickly after that.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: After listening to you talk, it seems so simple and logical. Why don’t most CEOs get it? Why don’t they leave their office and stop reading reports where underlings are trying to win favor with them? Why don’t they go out into the field, be a customer and flip a burger?

ANDY PUZDER: There’s nothing easier than when you take over a company. You put your feet up on the desk, start reading the reports and talk to the people who are visiting your restaurants — or the people who report to you. It’s an easy temptation. I think that’s why a lot of businesses fail.

ANDY PUZDER: I think a lot of businesses that do well for years and years eventually fail because the executives in the company — the leadership — loses touch with why they’re in business and what’s going on in their business. I could point to examples, but I don’t want to pick on anybody here. I think everybody knows examples of companies that were incredibly successful but lost touch with their consumers and failed. I don’t know why that happens. I can’t tell you why it happens. But I do see it happening.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: It’s so amazing that the barrier-to-entry for becoming a better manager or CEO is so low. It means getting in your car, driving to a store and being the customer for a day. You learn so much in such a small span of time that can change the business. You don’t need to do any rocket science. From what I heard you say, you didn’t do any rocket science.

ANDY PUZDER: No, and I guess one example would be the car industry. The car industry became such a behemoth. The American car industry in the 1950s and 60s — and even in the early 70s — was a world leader. We had the best cars. Go buy a Ford or Chevy from the 1960s. Get a Corvette or Mustang. These were well-built cars.

ANDY PUZDER: My wife has a ’49 Ford F1 pickup truck. It’s as solid as a rock. They’re great.

ANDY PUZDER: Somehow, in that period of time, they ended up focusing on things other than making the best quality cars — or cars that met people’s needs. You saw the American car industry start to decay while foreign car manufacturers succeeded.

ANDY PUZDER: Then, you see somebody like Elon Musk come in and come up with a car that actually meets people’s needs. He’s out there meeting the current needs and [giving] people [what they’re] looking for in a car. If I’m not mistaken, Tesla is actually worth more now. It has a higher market cap than Ford, General Motors, Chrysler or any of the other seven major car companies.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: If you combine them, I don’t think it comes out to what Tesla’s worth.

ANDY PUZDER: It’s amazing. He’s an amazing guy — and somebody who will be remembered as an amazing guy. That’s what you need to do. I think Elon Musk knows what people want. I see him out there in the factories. I see him out there talking to people. He’s a brilliant guy and keeps in touch with what consumers are looking for. I think that’s why he’s been successful.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: For someone who’s listening to this and wants to start a business, what’s the best piece of advice you could give them?

ANDY PUZDER: Do something you love, and be the best at it. Find your own niche. You’ve got to find a way to distinguish yourself from the competition.

ANDY PUZDER: At Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, we did that. We introduced something called the $6 burger, which was a burger that cost only $3.99.

ANDY PUZDER: When we came out with this idea, I remember our Coca-Cola representative came to me and said, “Andy, you can’t sell a burger at a fast food restaurant for $4.” And I said, “Yeah, but we’re going to advertise it as if it’s worth $6.”

ANDY PUZDER: So, we have these advertisements at Carl’s and Hardee’s — a $6 burger that’s only $3.99. Quite honestly, they sold like hotcakes. They really saved the company. They were the basis for our recovery.

ANDY PUZDER: You have to find some way to distinguish yourself so that people want to drive by. In our case, we want them to drive past McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, In-N-Out, Five Guys and Shake Shack.

ANDY PUZDER: Why would I drive past those to get to a Hardee’s or Carl’s? Well, if you can answer that for your business — whatever business you’re in — you’re probably going to be successful.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Do you think that’s a question that many entrepreneurs don’t ask?

ANDY PUZDER: I think there are probably a lot of businesses where people don’t ask themselves that. They get focused on being profitable or cutting costs.

ANDY PUZDER: You’ve got to be focused on why people should choose to come to you or buy your product rather than anybody else’s. If you can come up with an answer to that, then it has to be something you believe in, in your heart. If you’re going to run the company, the company will reflect who you are. You have to believe, in your heart, in what you’re doing with that company. Then, you go for it. Put all you have into it.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Prior to you turning around Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., they didn’t have that. Was there anything that differentiated them from other fast food restaurants?

ANDY PUZDER: When they were open, there was. But over time, companies become bureaucratic.

ANDY PUZDER: Over time, you get focused on what you’ve been doing, and you don’t look at what you should be doing. I think we had some great people running Carl’s and Hardee’s who made great decisions even in the years before I took over — people I had a lot of respect for. But they got overly-focused on where they were and how to fix what they had rather than looking to what they should become. I think you always have to look to what you should become.

ANDY PUZDER: I actually retired. In January 2016, I told the private equity firm that bought us that I thought it was time for a new, younger CEO. When I took over, at 50 years old, I understood what our clients wanted. [They were] young, hungry guys. That’s who we marketed to. They were guys who were 30 years old and younger. By the time I was 65, I don’t think I was in touch with that anymore.

ANDY PUZDER: So, I said, “Look, the company doing fine. We could keep doing this. But, I think we need somebody to come in who has more of a connection with this millennial generation — which I’m still not sure I understand very well. We need somebody who understands that generation, and I’m not that guy.”

ANDY PUZDER: It’s also about knowing when to step back and let somebody else take over. I think that’s important too.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: How has Hardee’s done since you left?

ANDY PUZDER: It’s a private company, so it doesn’t report its results. I think the company had a couple of rugged years, but I think it’s gotten back on track.

ANDY PUZDER: The pandemic has been very helpful to restaurant chains with drive thrus. They appointed a new CEO — somebody who ran the international division at Carl’s and Hardee’s when I was CEO — and did a tremendous job of growing that division from basically nothing to about 1000 restaurants in 40 different countries. He’s now running the company, and I have every confidence he’ll do a spectacular job.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: When you left Hardee’s, how many people were employed at Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.?

ANDY PUZDER: If you include the franchisees and internationalists, probably around 125,000 people.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: See, that’s what gets me. One guy with a frankfurter stand would never dream that 125,000 people… And then you look at Jeff Bezos, for example. He was working out of his garage, but he was going to employ one million people and give them food on their table, dignity, a way of life that they would have never otherwise had and opportunities. It all came from one person with one idea. It just boggles my mind.

ANDY PUZDER: I think that during his first day, Carl’s did about $28 dollars in business. In my last year, we did $4 billion in business. It’s all from a guy with a hot dog stand. That’s America. That’s capitalism. If you meet people’s needs, you can succeed tremendously.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I want to just shift to this for a second: Getting America Back to Work. What motivated you to write that book?

ANDY PUZDER: A lot of it came out of comments made by prominent Democrats, including Joe Biden. Their statement was that the pandemic was a tremendous opportunity to fundamentally transform America. Well, America didn’t need to be fundamentally transformed.

ANDY PUZDER: If you look at America going into the pandemic, thanks to President Trump, we had, possibly, the most incredible labor market in the history of the world — but certainly in the country. We had the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. We had more people working than had ever worked in the history of the country. For every month in 2019, we had a million or more job openings than people unemployed because employers were competing for employees every month. We saw 3% or better wage growth. None of those things happened during the Obama administration. Zero. They had zero months with more job openings than people unemployed and zero months with 3% or better wage growth.

ANDY PUZDER: The result was the biggest increase in family income, the highest level of family income, the biggest decline in poverty since they started recording the data — which was in 1959. That was 2019.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Just to interject, I think I also saw that the number of people who got off food stamps was five million or so. I’m not sure about the number, but it was a pretty sizable amount.

ANDY PUZDER: [It was] a tremendous amount, and income inequality also declined. So, I was thinking, “Why would you want to fundamentally transform that?”

ANDY PUZDER: This is what they were talking about. They want to go back to the Obama Era, where you had the government stimulus — which stimulated nothing — and businesses were overregulated and taxes went up. That was the Obama plan.

ANDY PUZDER: Joe Biden wants to put that plan on steroids and plans on using the pandemic as the excuse to do so because the economy got into such bad shape. While the economy was in terrible shape when we shut it down, which we did in March and April, since then, we had the most dynamic job recovery in the history of the country.

ANDY PUZDER: We’ve also had the highest GDP in the history of the country. We had it at 33.4% in the third quarter, and we’re looking at something in excess of 10% for the fourth quarter. These are tremendous record-setting numbers.

ANDY PUZDER: I’m very concerned about this Georgia election and what’s going on with Georgia in the Senate. If the Democrats are allowed to do what they want to do, people are going to be paid more to stay home than they are to work, which is what’s happening now. People that are working and producing income are going to be discouraged from working and producing income. People are going to be discouraged from opening businesses because it’s going to be very difficult to be profitable. We’re going to lose all the gains we made from 2017 to 2019.

ANDY PUZDER: So, we need to get America back to work. We need people to start working at those Baskin-Robbins jobs. [We need them] to start working at a Hardee’s or Carl’s and end up owning one — or whatever fast food chain or retail business they like. We need to get people back to enjoying their lives and being productive. That’s not the current plan, so that’s why I wrote the booklets.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Don’t you also see a big problem with the unemployment insurance that we’re giving people — that it’s so hard for private enterprises to hire people because they make more money by staying home and getting a government check?

ANDY PUZDER: This is the danger of these government checks.

ANDY PUZDER: When it was passed, I was actually involved in discussions with Secretary Manoogian at the time. The reason that people were supportive of big checks was because we didn’t want people to work. We wanted people to stop working so we could stop the spread of the virus. Well, we did slow the spread of the virus. We did level the bell curve. We didn’t eliminate the virus, but we leveled the bell curve so that hospitals weren’t overwhelmed. But the payments continued.

ANDY PUZDER: Once you provide a benefit, it’s hard to cut it back. When you make it more economically-wise for people to stay home than work, then you’re punishing people that do go to work. It doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t allow people to get the satisfaction that you get with a job. It doesn’t allow people to take advantage of the opportunities that come in a capitalist society where you can improve your life and the lives of others.

ANDY PUZDER: It sends us back to a government-dependent society, which is really what the socialists want. They’ve been working at this for 100 years now. They want people dependent on them, and they will do very well. You’ll notice in socialist countries that the leaders are always… Look at Maduro in Venezuela or Kim Jong-un in North Korea. Does it look like that guy has missed a meal? The people are starving in North Korea. The people at the top do very well. It’s everybody else that suffers.

ANDY PUZDER: I wrote these booklets because I was very concerned that Democrats would try to drive us into that kind of economy. If you go to Joe Biden’s website and look at the programs he’s proposed, they’re all about increasing taxes and government spending and taking wealth from those that earned it. It’s a disaster for American businesses and jobs. He doesn’t have a single proposal where he comes out and says, “This is how I’m going to create jobs for the American people,” or “This is how I’m going to encourage businesses to grow” or “This is how I’m going to encourage people to work.” It’s all about taxing and regulating businesses — or the people that create wealth — and encouraging people to not work by providing benefits that are so substantial that there’s no incentive to do so.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I’m just throwing this out there: Do you think career politicians — who have never had a sleepless night because they didn’t know if they were going to make payroll, be able to pay the rent or deal with a customer… How in touch could they possibly be?

ANDY PUZDER: They’re clearly completely out of touch. I think the economic lockdowns that they’re imposing right now demonstrate that. I get calls from small business restaurateurs, particularly in California, who call me in tears. They’re losing everything because of these economic lockdowns.

ANDY PUZDER: In Santa Barbara, for example, I got a call from a very close friend who runs a Trattoria Mollie — my favorite Italian restaurant in Santa Barbara. In Santa Barbara, you can eat outside every day of the year. The government had her put up plastic barriers and do everything she could to protect the health of the people there. They’ve now shut that down.

ANDY PUZDER: I’ve got to tell you: Gavin Newsom shut that down. Gavin Newsom isn’t worried about his paycheck coming through. He isn’t worried about what his employees are going to do. They’re all on the government dole. He isn’t worried about whether he’s going to miss a meal. People that work in that restaurant are now worried they’re going to miss a meal. The reason for that is that people in government have no understanding of the damage they’re doing.

ANDY PUZDER: Now, look at Florida. Florida hasn’t done that. Florida is doing very well. It has a low unemployment rate. In California and New York, you’ve got unemployment rates over 8 or 9%. In New Jersey, it’s over 10%. These people have no idea what they’re doing to the economy and people in their states. That’s another reason I wrote the pamphlets.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: How are they being received?

ANDY PUZDER: The pamphlets are being received well. I’m hoping, with your program, they’ll be received even better. This is not something that we’re going to make a tremendous amount of money from. It’s something that’s been done to get the word out there. As you pointed out earlier, they’re easy to read, inexpensive and available on Amazon, as well as through Encounter Books. Roger Kimball does them. He’s got about 60 of them. He runs Encounter Books. He’s a great guy and a very smart guy.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: I think it’s close to 70. I think I saw that last night on Amazon. They keep coming out with them. What I like about these is that they’re around 5000 words long. So, first of all, you could sit and read them in one sitting. That’s No.1.

ANDY PUZDER: Yes.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: No. 2: I just read yours, so I can’t speak to the others, but your writing style is very fluid. It’s very breezy. You don’t get caught up in jargon — and not even for a lawyer, but for a writer, [you’re] very good.

ANDY PUZDER: Thank you.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: You make the point. What I love about this is that most books should be about this size, but they’re filled with another 200 pages of fluff in order to sell it for $29.95. I would love to see these little broadsides become the standard because in most books, there are only a couple good pages of content. The rest is just a reason to sell it for $30.

ANDY PUZDER: Thomas Paine did pretty well with his.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Common Sense — that’s a good model.

ANDY PUZDER: That’s what these are modeled after. They’re supposed to have that that kind of impact. We’ll see.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: What are you doing now to spread this message? Now that you’re retired, I’m sure your life is busier now than it was when you worked full-time.

ANDY PUZDER: My wife keeps saying: “When is this retirement thing actually starting?”

CHARLES MIZRAHI: It never does, right? It never does. If you want to get something done, ask a busy person because that’s the only way things get done. What’s the Andy Puzder story now?

ANDY PUZDER: I’m doing television. I do Fox News. I’ve done some Newsmax, OANN and Fox Business. I was just on this morning. I love to speak at colleges and universities. I do that independently. People will call me to speak. I also do that for the Young America’s Foundation, which is a great group. I’ve spoken at Prager University events and for Turning Point USA — another great group — and I write a lot of op-eds. I write a lot of opinion pieces for the Wall Street Journal, Fox News and The Washington Post. [The Washington Post] surprises some people, but it runs my pieces as well. I also write for RealClearPolitics, which is a great place to get views from both sides of the political aisle. It’s always great to write with them.

ANDY PUZDER: I’m doing everything I can, such as podcasts like this, to try to get the word out about capitalism, economic freedom and liberty. I think Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” I’m very concerned that we may be living with that generation now. I want to make sure we get the word out to them before it’s too late.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: A lot of people write to these outlets wanting to be published and have their op-ed. Why do you think your message is getting out there? How is it getting all the way from The Washington Post to Fox News? Why are all these extremes listening to you or wanting to listen to what you have to say?

ANDY PUZDER: I’m now 70 years old, so I’ve got some experience with presenting these things to people in a way that they don’t find offensive. You have to write clearly, specifically and with a point. Groups that are willing to listen to both sides will generally accept a piece that’s written without the nastiness or sarcasm that we see too often on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets.

ANDY PUZDER: Having been a trial lawyer for 16 years, I learned how to address broad groups of people. I had to convince the people that sat on juries, and they were from very diverse backgrounds. I think my experience as a lawyer was helpful. My experience in business has been helpful. And I just really enjoy writing. I think that comes through as well.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Outstanding. Before we go, I just want to just throw one idea at you: I hope there’s another book in your future on how to start a business. All the business fundamentals you talked about… There are a lot of great books on a whole bunch of subjects, but nothing is as simple as what you’re talking about — especially with your writing style. Anyone can take this book and understand the idea of reading the customer, the simple things or the 10-point process. I think that would be an outstanding thing that you could contribute to American business.

ANDY PUZDER: That would be a fun book to write, too. I’ll keep that in mind. We’ve got some time before I get the vaccine, so maybe I should start now.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: When you do, it’s on this show that we first talked about it.

ANDY PUZDER: That sounds great, Charles.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Alright. Before I let you go, one last thing: What are your biggest concerns over the next four years? We have Biden and Kamala Harris, and that combo… Who knows how it’s going to play out over the next four years. What’s the biggest concern that keeps you up at night?

ANDY PUZDER: I guess it’s the attempts to take what President Trump accomplished for the economy — I’m going to leave aside what he accomplished in the Middle East or foreign policy and just stick with the economy — and attribute it to things that had nothing to do with it, such as the Obama administration’s policies. The attempt to use the pandemic, which was a worldwide event and not one that Trump started, to demean what we saw in 2019 about where this country could go and how we could benefit working people… 2019 should be called the Year of the Worker. It was an incredible year.

ANDY PUZDER: I’d like to get the message out there so people can understand that the policies that led to that incredible year are ones we can reenact. They’re policies any president could pursue, and they’re policies we need to get back to.

ANDY PUZDER: I’m concerned that the mainstream media, entertainment industry and tech sector are all trying to suppress information. I do worry about the suppression of information. I suppose that’s something we should have talked about — and what the tech sector did with the Hunter Biden scandal prior to the election. Those kinds of things are reprehensible and we need to find a way to deal with them.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Our freedoms are just this far away from being taken away from us. I live in New York, and I watched what Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio did — making up their own rules and regulations and being extremely subjective as to the science they were using and destroying…

CHARLES MIZRAHI: What happened to our rights? For years, all these people talked about being careful and said, “Your rights are really a privilege. You have to fight for them.” They just went away like that.

ANDY PUZDER: And they’re not backing off. They’re doubling down. But there are places in this country where the American people are standing up. I’ve seen instances of that in New York, but certainly in other parts of the country, where people are saying enough is enough.

ANDY PUZDER: We need to do that more. We can’t let these big-government socialists deprive us of our freedoms and liberties. We’ve given too much as a people to achieve and keep them. Too many people have died. Too many lives have been sacrificed to make sure that we could live free. I just hope the next generation understands that and begins to pursue policies that promote freedom and liberty.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Andy, you keep doing the good work. You keep carrying on the fight. Keep doing that for — hopefully — the next 30 to 40 years because it makes an impact. Your clarity and vision of where we are and where we should be is bright as day. It’s evident. I think if you just keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to continue to make a huge impact.

ANDY PUZDER: Thanks, Charles. And you as well. These podcasts are great. You keep it up! You’re doing a great job. [It’s a] beautiful, big service.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Thank you. Andy, it’s been my pleasure and honor to have you on the show. I hope you come back again because I could talk to you for hours.

ANDY PUZDER: Anytime. You just let me know. I’ll be back.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Thank you, Andy.

ANDY PUZDER: Thank you.

CHARLES MIZRAHI: Thanks for listening to this episode of The Charles Mizrahi Show. If you’re a new listener, welcome! If you’ve been listening for a while, we’re glad to have you back. Either way, we’d love to know what you think of the show. Please leave a review if you listen on Apple Podcasts. Reviews make it easier for others to find the show. You can also see the video of the interview on The Charles Mizrahi Show channel on YouTube.

 

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