NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal announced on June 1 that his Big Chicken restaurant franchise will expand into the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Locations will also open in other Texas cities, WFAA reported.
The CEO and President of the Texas Restaurant Association, Emily Williams Knight, shared that she felt the business would thrive in Texas in a news release.
“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,” Knight said.
The franchise will open 50 locations across North Texas and other areas in the state, according to WFAA. Other markets include Houston, San Antonio, and Austin.
A development agreement and deal with Dew Real Estate Holdings, Skylark Construction, and Northwest Petroleum made the expansion possible. Frank and Fazil Malike founded both Skylark Construction and Northwest Petroleum, WFAA wrote. The Dew Real Estate Holdings CEO involved in the deal is Noordin Jhaver.
O’Neal shared in the news release that the team behind Big Chicken is a major reason for the recent growth.
“Big Chicken wouldn’t be growing like it is without the team behind it,” he said. “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.”
Northwest Petroleum has more than 60 gas stations and convenience stores, according to WFAA. The company was founded in 1991. In 1986, Jhaver entered the truck stop and convenience store industry, and in 2002, he branched into the restaurant industry.
The Big Chicken deal is the first business venture Jhaver, Frank, and Fazil have started together. The CEO of Big Chicken, Josh Halpern, also shared his excitement for the new deal in the press release.
“It’s amazing that Noordin, Fazil, and Frank have chosen their first joint venture together to be with Big Chicken,” Halpern said. “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. 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.”
Other cities getting Big Chicken franchises include Chicago and Los Angeles. Locations will also open in West Texas, Arizona, and Central Oklahoma. You can currently find Big Chicken restaurants in Seattle, Las Vegas, two Carnival Cruise ships, and New York.
According to the website, “Big Chicken delivers a menu that fuses home-cooked childhood favorites with bold new flavors.”
The franchise first opened in 2018. In addition to Shaquille O’Neal, other Big Chicken partners include Authentic Brands Group and JRS Hospitality. The menu features chicken sandwiches, milkshakes, Cheez-It-crusted Mac n’ Cheese, and more.