Big Chicken, the star-powered fast casual concept founded by Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced it elevated Marci Rude to Vice President of Development.

“I’ve been lucky to work with several formidable restaurant brands over the years, and one thing I’ve learned is above all else, premier food and service are what drive success,” says Rude. “Big Chicken’s culinary and level of service is truly unmatched in the fast casual category. Plus, it’s been a pleasure to work alongside such an intelligent, passionate executive team that strives for nothing less than excellence.”

With over 25 years of experience in commercial real estate management and development, Rude has helped to drive growth across a wide portfolio of top national brands. Previously, she spent three years as the Chief Development Officer for Arizona-based restaurant and hospitality management company, Concepts Entertainment. Her development experience also extends to restaurant and retail brands like Kona Grill, PetSmart, P.F. Chang’s and Sonic Drive-In. She is an expert in every stage of the development process, cultivating strong relationships to create an optimal experience for franchisees from start to finish. Since joining the Big Chicken team nearly one year ago, Rude has already helped to streamline brand guidelines and design elements to guide franchisees through the launch process. She’ll continue working closely with Sam Stanovich, Senior Vice President of Franchise Leadership for Big Chicken, to develop strategies and best practices as the brand continues its rapid expansion.

“We are growing fast and we are lucky to have a rock star like Marci working with our franchisees as they build their restaurants. She is an incredible teammate and a tremendous partner for our franchise community,” says Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern. “As we approach nearly 200 units signed, we want to ensure our franchisees continue to feel that same level of personalized support they’ve received from the jump, and Marci will help us make sure that happens.”

Since the announcement of Big Chicken’s franchising initiative just under one year ago, the brand has more than 150 locations in its development pipeline. Upcoming franchise expansion includes new restaurants in Illinois, California, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Ohio, Idaho, Utah and Nevada. Big Chicken currently has an existing location open in Las Vegas along with restaurants in Los Angeles, Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, metro-New York’s UBS Arena, The Moody Center in Austin and on two Carnival Cruise ships.

Ideal franchisees are multi-unit operators who trust and understand the established system Big Chicken has in place and have the capital to open several units. Restaurant experience — whether traditional or not — is preferred, but not required. With significant interest from new owners, franchise investors will have the advantage to join a brand on the cusp of worldwide expansion.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, News, Big Chicken