Shaquille O’Neal Owned Big Chicken Announces Big Franchising Ambition
NBA Hall of Famer Assembles Championship Team to Grow Fast Casual Chicken Restaurant
August 17, 2021 // Franchising.com // LAS VEGAS - It’s franchise tip-off time for Big Chicken and Shaquille O’Neal’s championship brand is ready to rule the court.
Today, the star-powered fast casual chicken concept with locations in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and on the Carnival Cruise Ship Mardi Gras announced the launch of its strategic franchising program. Tailored for skilled restaurant owner/operator groups, the franchise investment has been designed to align with successful, multi-unit investors who want to become part of Shaquille’s dream team.
“Creating the brand a few years ago and getting the first two restaurants open was just the start. It’s time to work with great partners who can bring the brand to life in their communities,” said O’Neal, currently an NBA television analyst and basketball Hall of Famer. “The Big Chicken journey is taking franchise flight and I’m so excited about the team we have in place to help lead the way with me.”
Along with O’Neal, the championship pedigree behind Big Chicken includes a pair of powerful ownership group partners, including:
- Authentic Brands (ABG), a brand development, marketing and entertainment company, which owns a portfolio of iconic and world-renowned brands including Sports Illustrated, Elvis Presley and Forever 21.
- JRS Hospitality, Las Vegas’ leading events and catering company with a reputation for hosting top tier parties, private dining and corporate gatherings at its iconic venues such as Cabo Wabo, Hexx, and Beer Park.
Big Chicken recently announced the appointment of CEO Josh Halpern, a proven growth strategist who has accelerated brands within the restaurant and retail sectors for Anheuser-Busch InBev and other Fortune 500 companies. Halpern is at the helm of the franchising initiative, working closely with O’Neal and ownership group representatives.
“With the backing of Shaquille, and our ownership team, Big Chicken is already operating with BIGGER capabilities than a start-up would be expected to have,” said Halpern, who along with developing the growth strategy is guiding the creation of Big Chicken’s corporate team. “When Shaquille and I met years ago, we talked about his desire to create a concept rooted in his life, the people in it, and what he personally loves.” The Big Chicken menu fuses O’Neal’s home-cooked childhood favorites with bold flavors that were uniquely crafted by accomplished Las Vegas chef and JRS co-owner Matt Silverman. Since launching, Big Chicken fans have raved over the sandwiches, tenders, sides and hand-crafted shakes, connecting with Shaquille through the food.
This is not O’Neal’s introduction to restaurant ownership and operations. Shaquille’s well-known business accomplishments has included Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme, and Five Guys franchise ownership. As a franchisee of other concepts, O’Neal fully understands that the Big Chicken value proposition has to be win-win-win for his guests, his franchisees, and his company.
While it took hundreds of hours to perfect the menu, both O’Neal and the Big Chicken culinary team wanted to ensure that each guest would be able to “Eat Life to the Fullest.”
“The menu captures favorites from my childhood,” said O’Neal. “We have sandwiches named after people important to me like my Uncle Jerome, my friend Chicago, and even recipes inspired by my mom’s cooking from when I was a kid.”
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