The countdown is on for a new era in restaurant operations. Shaquille O’Neal-Owned Big Chicken and Blue Origin are teaming up to feed the imaginations of the next generation of explorers for the benefit of Earth and space chicken.
“We’ve always said “Go BIG’ when asked about growth plans for Big Chicken. Now, with Blue Origin, we’re going as BIG as we can by advancing the dream of running restaurants in space,” said Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken and the architect of the company’s franchise growth strategy launched a year and a half ago, which has resulted in 200-plus planned U.S. locations. “When I think about what Shaquille stands for – BIG fun and pursuing BIG dreams – this relationship aligns perfectly with Blue Origin’s vision to enable millions of people to live and work in space for the benefit of Earth.”
Blue Origin’s nonprofit, Club for the Future, will partner with Big Chicken’s leadership team and founder Shaquille O’Neal as Club Ambassadors to inspire and engage students. Club for the Future will launch new community outreach programs at Big Chicken restaurants, including inviting patrons to draw their vision of the future on Postcards to Space. Blue Origin will fly the postcards on a future New Shepard mission, stamp them “flown to space,” and return them to the creators.
“Living and working in space for the benefit of Earth should be delicious. Shaq’s Big Chicken and Club for the Future will fuel students’ appetites and minds as they pursue careers in STEM – all while delivering some of Earth’s tastiest foods to space,” said Michael Edmonds, SVP, Strategy, Marketing, and Sales, Blue Origin, and President of Club for the Future.
“I’m proud to team up with Blue Origin to help inspire the next generation,” said Shaquille O’Neal, who opened the first Big Chicken location in 2018. “This first-of-its-kind partnership is a game changer and I’m excited to take the chicken sandwich game to a whole new level.”
In addition to the collaboration with Blue Origin, Big Chicken also has plans to expand in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, Chicagoland, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Nashville, and Greater Los Angeles. Existing locations are currently open in Las Vegas (Paradise Road and Tropicana Avenue); Los Angeles (Glendale and; Valencia); Seattle (Climate Pledge Arena and Renton); and in the Dayton, Ohio region, as well as metro-New York’s UBS Arena, The Moody Center in Austin, ASU’s Mullett Arena, Palm Springs’ Acrisure Arena and on three Carnival Cruise ships. The chain will also open restaurants in Houston, Gilbert (Arizona), Kansas City, and St Louis in the next six weeks. 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.