Big Chicken, the star-powered fast-casual chicken concept founded by legendary Hall of Famer and celebrated entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal, announced that it has signed a two-unit development agreement with experienced restaurant operators, Tom and Zak Davis, father and son respectively. The industry veterans, who are multi-unit Panera Bread, Scooter’s Coffee and Firehouse Subs franchisees, are the first to bring Big Chicken to their home state.

“Our experience has provided us a perspective on Big Chicken that we feel fantastic about. We know that it is the right time to bring the quickly growing brand to Omaha,” says Tom, who began building his multi-unit, multi-brand restaurant franchise business more than 13 years ago. “There are a lot of parallels for us with Big Chicken and its leadership team. We have a deep appreciation for running great restaurants, and Big Chicken’s team is equal to the match. We have been following the growth of Big Chicken for a while, and once we were finally able to try the menu, we decided to get serious about opening our own stores in Omaha.”

With Tom and Zak’s extensive experience in operating fast-casual and QSR restaurant brands like Panera Bread, Firehouse Subs, and Scooter’s Coffee, the pair join the Big Chicken franchise family with strong operations skillsets. Their goal is to open two locations in the Omaha suburbs and then determine opportunities for additional growth.

“I’ve had the opportunity to have known Tom and Zak for almost ten years and they are a tremendous duo.  They have a spirit to serve their community that is contagious and I’m excited to have them join the Big Chicken family. With their experience as multi-brand and multi-unit franchise operators, they know the Omaha restaurant scene inside and out and were exactly who we were looking for to introduce the brand to Nebraska,” adds Sam Stanovich, Senior Vice President of Franchise Leadership for Big Chicken. “We began talking with them when we started franchising nearly three years ago, and they have been supporters ever since, so it’s great to have them onboard. And, although they just joined the brand, they have both already expressed interest in playing an active role in the future of Big Chicken, which makes me all the more excited about this new partnership.”

The newest franchise agreement for Big Chicken will add to the 350-plus locations in development nationwide for the brand. The brand currently has traditional restaurant locations open in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Flordia, Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee and Washington, as well as in non-traditional venues like metro-New York’s UBS Arena, The Comcast Center in Philadelphia, The Moody Center in Austin, ASU’s Mullett Arena, the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Palm Springs’ Acrisure Arena, St. Louis’s Busch Stadium, Kansas City International Airport, IMG Academy and on four Carnival Cruise ships.

Along with O’Neal, the championship pedigree behind Big Chicken includes a pair of powerful ownership group partners, including:

Authentic Brands Group (Authentic), a brand development, marketing and entertainment company, which owns a portfolio of iconic and world-renowned brands including Sports Illustrated, Elvis Presley and Reebok.

JRS Hospitality, Las Vegas’ leading restaurant group with a reputation for hosting top tier parties, private dining and corporate gatherings at its iconic venues such as Cabo Wabo, Alexxa’s, and Beer Park.

The franchise investment has been designed to align with successful, multi-unit investors who want to become part of Shaquille’s dream team. Restaurant experience — whether traditional or otherwise — 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, Franchising, News, Big Chicken