Bob Chinn was 59 years old when he started the business that would come to define him. The determined entrepreneur had already headed 13 businesses, all catering to the restaurant industry, when along with his daughter Marilyn, he opened the doors to Bob Chinn’s Crab House in Wheeling, Ill., 30 miles outside of Chicago in 1982. His restaurant tops our list of the nation’s highest-grossing restaurants with an estimated $24 million in annual revenue. Numbers were provided by CHD Expert and do not include alcohol sales.
Chinn, whose parents immigrated from China, dropped out of high school to join the Army in World War II and has been working ever since. His first business was supplying patterned plates to Chinese restaurants. From there he moved on to selling equipment, remodeling and eventually helping his family members open restaurants.