Big Chicken, the star-powered, fast casual chicken restaurant franchise founded by basketball Hall of Famer and celebrated entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal, announced today that the brand will enter the four largest Texas markets in a BIG way. Through a multi-unit development agreement, a talented, Texas-based owner/operator team is bringing Big Chicken to Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin – four of the top 11 markets by population in the United States.
“Big Chicken is exactly the kind of brand that succeeds in Texas: pioneering and bold, yet rooted in delicious tradition. Our restaurant industry’s rich diversity is our greatest strength, and we’re absolutely thrilled that Shaquille O’Neal and the Big Chicken team are joining us,” says Emily Williams Knight Ed.D., President and CEO of Texas Restaurant Association. “Welcome back home to Texas, Shaq.”
One part of the team behind the Big Chicken Texas growth is the duo of Fazil Malik and Frank Malik. The Maliks are known for their successful gas station and convenience store operations company, Northwest Petroleum (NWP), and Skylark Construction, the highly respected construction company specializing in retail developments, gas stations, convenience stores, quick-serve and sit-down restaurants. The other partner involved in the franchise group is Noordin Jhaver, CEO of Dew Real Estate Holdings L.L.C., one of Texas’ most notable real estate ownership companies in the retail and restaurant space, and the owner/operator of more than 50 Sonic restaurants, with another 45 in development. The Maliks and Jhaver have known each other since their first roles in the convenience and restaurant industries, almost 30 years ago. Now, their first joint venture will be opening 50 Big Chicken locations in Texas.
“It’s amazing that Noordin, Fazil, and Frank have chosen their first joint venture together to be with Big Chicken. They have been incredibly impressive and successful, and after several conversations and meetings with our team, it was clear that this was a perfect fit,” says Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken. “As we grow our franchise community, we are privileged that talented, multi-unit operators with this level of experience across multiple business verticals want to join our team.”
Fazil first launched NWP in 1991 and has significantly grown the company’s portfolio to operate more than 60 convenience store/gas station locations within the Shell, Phillips 66 and 7-Eleven brands. He also has franchise investments in the Burger King and Denny’s restaurant families.
Frank’s impact on NWP has been formative with oversight of all development and construction design for the company, managing more than $200 million in projects.
Jhaver started his entrepreneurial career in the convenience store and truck stop industry in 1986, and began his restaurant ownership and operations in 2002.
“Big Chicken wouldn’t be growing like it is without the team behind it,” says O’Neal. “My team has done a fantastic job making sure we’re growing in the right way, with the right people. Now, we’re going even BIGGER in Texas and I’m excited to be teammates with Fazil, Frank and Noordin.”
In addition to the agreement with the Maliks and Jhaver, Big Chicken recently announced its upcoming franchise expansion into the West Texas, Central Oklahoma, Chicagoland, Arizona and Greater Los Angeles markets. Current locations are also open in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, metro-New York’s UBS Arena, and on two Carnival Cruise ships. 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.