Legendary basketball hall of famer, iconic entertainer and celebrated entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal is going global with Big Chicken, his rapidly expanding, intergalactic chicken concept. Setting itself apart from other fast casual chains through outlandish creations such as The Ultimate and Dirty Fries, Big Chicken has successfully swept across America, and is now on its way to circling the globe. 

Following astounding growth in the United States, including opening nearly 30 locations and inking franchise agreements with proven restaurant operators to develop more than 350 restaurants, Big Chicken is officially entering its global restaurant era. In fact, the brand is opening its first international location this spring in Manchester, England. Following the UK opening, the next stop on the brand’s world tour will be in Canada as it works with partner Oak View Group (OVG) to enter arenas there later this year. Plus, Big Chicken has inked a multi-national franchise agreement for Central America. The group will develop locations across Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama. But it does not stop there, the brand is jumpstarting its global domination and has plans to continue expansion throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and beyond.

“As someone who has been a part of this incredible brand since we started franchising in late 2021, I am beyond energized about this next phase of our growth plan,” says Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken. “ We have been meeting with international partners on buildout plans, and we are confident that people all over the world will soon be enjoying our brand in a BIG way!”

Last year, Big Chicken doubled the total number of restaurants it opened compared to 2022, six of them in new states while the other 12 further expanded its existing presence in Nevada, Washington, Texas and Arizona. Growth in 2023, also included the brand’s first casino location at The Queen in Baton Rouge, its first MLB stadium at Busch Stadium, and its first NBA stadium at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. So far in 2024, Big Chicken has made its debut in three new states (Florida, Tennessee and Michigan) and will be introduced to a handful of new states and two military bases before the year is out.

“Through our partnership with OVG, we have been able to create a BIG presence in stadiums throughout the U.S. They have been a great supporter of us on this journey and have allowed us to introduce Big Chicken to audiences that other franchise concepts may not reach so early in their development,” says Halpern. “Our remarkable expansion in the U.S. has been made possible by an incredibly talented group of franchisees who have believed in Shaquille’s vision for the brand, the food and in my fellow leadership team members. Alongside OVG, the operators that we have already partnered with to bring this brand to the international stage set the standard when it comes to owning and running successful restaurants.”

Through the continued involvement of Founder Shaquille O’Neal and the support of JRS Hospitality and Authentic Brands Group, the brand is shooting for hall-of-fame status throughout all traditional and non-traditional settings. Although growing rapidly, qualified franchise investors still have the advantage of joining a brand on the cusp of worldwide expansion. The franchise investment has been designed to align with successful, multi-unit operators who want to become part of Shaquille’s dream team.

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, News