Sardar Biglari

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Sardar Biglari
Born (1977-08-30) August 30, 1977 (age 43)
Alma materTrinity University
OccupationFounder, Chairman and CEO, Biglari Holdings

Sardar Biglari (Persian: سردار بیگلری‎; born August 30, 1977) is an American entrepreneur and is the founder, chairman and CEO of Biglari Holdings,[1] a holding company that trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BH. Biglari controls the Steak 'n Shake Company, First Guard Insurance, Maxim, Southern Oil of Louisiana, Southern Pioneer Insurance and the Western Sizzlin' corporation, which are subsidiaries of Biglari Holdings.[2] Biglari is also founder, chairman and CEO of Biglari Capital, the general partner to The Lion Fund.

Early history[edit]

Biglari was born in Iran in 1977, two years before the Iranian Revolution. His father, Brigadier General Biglari, served in the Imperial Iranian Armed Forces. Following the revolution, the family escaped Iran as refugees, and in 1984, settled in San Antonio, Texas.[3]

Business career[edit]

At the age of 18, he founded, an Internet service provider, by raising $15,000. In 1999 with concerns about the tech bubble, he sold the company to Internet America.[4] With the proceeds of the sale, Biglari started an investment partnership at the age of 22. The fund bought shares in restaurant companies including Friendly Ice Cream and Western Sizzlin Corp., which he became chairman and CEO of in 2006. Friendly Ice Cream founder, S. Prestley Blake, found an ally in Biglari [5] and he cashed out and profited when Friendly's was bought out by a private-equity firm.[6] The case was covered by Harvard Business School Professors Fabrizio Ferri, V.G. Narayanan and James Weber.[7]

Biglari operates Biglari Holdings in San Antonio with a corporate staff of 4. The holding company has over 21,000 employees in total.[8]

Steak 'n Shake[edit]

In August 2008, Biglari took over Steak 'n Shake, which had been losing more than $100,000 a day. Biglari turned the company around from near insolvency to one making more than $100,000 a day.[9] By 2015, the company had attained 24 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases under Biglari.[10] However, since that time Steak 'n Shake has run into serious headwinds. In 2018, the number of customers hit their lowest levels in 8 years dropping to 103 million while same store sales fell 5.1%. Biglari has largely attributed the challenges to slow service speed due to a lack of investment in kitchen equipment.[11]

In 2019, Steak ‘n Shake began franchising company owned restaurants to select candidates for $10,000 and 50% of the profits. So far, 51 Steak n Shake franchise partners have come on board. Biglari hopes to hit 100 by year-end. There are franchise owners in the program who are on their way to earning over $200,000 in their first year.[12][13]

Cracker Barrel[edit]

Biglari bought 4.7 million shares of Cracker Barrel in 2011.[14] In 2014, Harvard Business School professors Suraj Srinivasan and Tim Gray wrote a case study on Biglari and Cracker Barrel.[15] On March 14, 2019, it was reported that Biglari wants Cracker Barrel to close its Start up company Holler & Dash.[16] The original $241 million investment in Cracker Barrel made in 2011 and 2012 turned into just under $1 billion in value by the end of 2019.[17]


On February 27, 2014, Maxim Magazine was bought by Biglari who commented, "We plan to build the business on multiple dimensions, thereby energizing our readership and viewership.".[18] In January 2016, Biglari officially took over as Editor-in-Chief of Maxim, though a Maxim staffer said that the new masthead title just formalizes what has always been clear: Biglari exercises full editorial control over Maxim. At one point in 2015, the staffer said, he decided to throw out a nearly-complete version of the December issue in order to completely redesign the magazine.[19] On January 13, 2016 Gilles Bensimon joined Biglari as a special creative director. "What drew me to Maxim was Sardar's vision for the brand," said Bensimon.[20]

First Guard Insurance[edit]

ON March 19, 2014, Biglari purchased First Guard Insurance Company. First Guard Founder and CEO Ed Campbell said: "I couldn't imagine a better, more fitting owner of First Guard."[21]

Southern Pioneer Property and Casualty Insurance[edit]

In 2020, Biglari acquired Southern Pioneer Property & Casualty Insurance Co. from the Hyneman family who will continue to operate the company. Since 1981, Southern Pioneer has grown from $500,000 in capital and surplus and zero premium to over $18,000,000 capital and surplus with written premium in excess of $24,000,000 in 2015.[22]

Southern Oil of Louisiana[edit]

In September 2019, Biglari acquired Southern Oil of Louisiana Inc. for $51.5 million dollars.[23]


  1. ^ Profile on Forbes Archived October 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Biglari Holdings Inc". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  3. ^ Roose, Kevin (2012-02-06). "Sardar Biglari Take a Page From Warren Buffett for His Own Path". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  4. ^ Weiss, Sebastian (August 1, 1999). "Geek Internet provider buys out INTX.Net". American City Business Journals.
  5. ^ "In Friendly's Fight, a Brotherly Feud - The New York Times". 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2017-03-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Ferri, Fabrizio (2008-04-04). "Shareholder Activists at Friendly Ice Cream (A) - Case - Harvard Business School". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  8. ^ "BH Company Profile & Executives - Biglari Holdings Inc. - Wall Street Journal".
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-29. Retrieved 2016-01-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Steak 'n Shake Achieves 24th Consecutive Quarter Of Same-Store Sales Growth". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  11. ^ danny (2019-02-25). "Where Steak 'n Shake Lost its Way". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2019-05-20.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ "Cracker Barrel Adopts Poison Pill". 2011-09-23. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-26. Retrieved 2016-01-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Ruggless, Ron (Mar 14, 2019). "Activist pushes Cracker Barrel to divest Holler & Dash". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  17. ^
  18. ^ Jefferson, Greg (2014-03-07). "Biglari's 'Maxim' purchase is a classic 'alpha-dog' move - San Antonio Express-News". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  19. ^ Sterne, Peter (2016-01-08). "Maxim to name owner Sardar Biglari editor in chief- POLITICO Media". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  20. ^ Alexandra Steigrad (2016-01-13). "Maxim Taps Gilles Bensimon as Special Creative Adviser – WWD". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  21. ^ "Biglari Holdings Inc. Acquires First Guard Insurance Company". Retrieved 2017-06-23.
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  23. ^