Big Chicken, the star-powered fast casual chicken concept founded by legendary basketball Hall of Famer and former LSU basketball-star Shaquille O’Neal, announced that the brand will expand its presence in Louisiana in a big way. Accomplished family entrepreneurs Gul and Vick Awan will be at the forefront of bringing Big Chicken to several markets across the state, with Lake Charles being one of the first locations on their list for development.
“We are super excited to bring BIGGER flavor, BIG food and BIG fun to the people of Louisiana,” says Vick Awan, who played a key role in introducing his family to Big Chicken. “When we first learned about Big Chicken, we visited a few locations and fell in love with the flavor profile and the variety of menu items they offer. There are many chicken concepts in Louisiana, but none of them have the quality ingredients that Big Chicken does. With our many decades of experience in the industry, we are looking forward to learning and growing with them.”
Prior to ownership with Big Chicken, the Awan family honed their backgrounds in the retail and restaurant industries, boasting over 35 years of business experience in the region. Their extensive expertise and strong skill set as franchise owners is currently being utilized to narrow down the site selection process for their inaugural restaurant, with plans to expand further with additional locations in the Lafayette area.
“Gul and Vick Awan are going to bring a new level of operations sophistication and excellence to the Big Chicken franchise system, and we’re excited to have them on board,” says Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern. “Given the successful launch of our first Louisiana location in The Queen earlier this year, we are BIG time excited to support the Awan’s in their plans for expansion across the state. Here we GROW, Lake Charles!”
In addition to the agreement with the business quartet, Big Chicken currently has locations open in Las Vegas (Paradise Road and Tropicana Ave.), Los Angeles (Glendale and Valencia); Seattle (Renton and Mukilteo); Houston; Rosemont, Illinois and in the Dayton, Ohio region, as well as in metro-New York’s UBS Arena, The Comcast Center in Philadelphia, The Moody Center in Austin, the Footprint Center and ASU’s Mullett Arena, Palm Spring’s Acrisure Arena, St. Louis’s Busch Stadium, Kansas City International Airport and on three Carnival Cruise ships.
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.
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.