Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken chain set to open 70 locations across multiple cities in 2024

BY Ben Ebuka Oji January 9, 2024 7:33 AM EDT
Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal. Credit: Anthony Behar/Sipa USA/AP

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is reportedly on a big move to expand his Big Chicken restaurant venture. O’Neal recently signed a deal with H&D Group Investments, a restaurant operator based in Michigan, to establish 20 new locations throughout the state.

These forthcoming restaurants, set to commence operations in 2024, will be strategically situated in prominent cities across Michigan, including Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, Mount Pleasant, and metro Detroit.

“Aside from its star-powered backing from Shaquille O’Neal, Big Chicken has a ‘wow’ factor that is rare to come by. I’ve had the privilege of trying a variety of menu offerings at different Big Chicken locations, and both the quality and flavor have been exceptional each time,” a spokesperson from H&D Group Investments said.

“It was an easy decision to bring the concept to Michigan, and we’re excited to be a part of the brand’s rapid growth,” the group added.

The two brands are enthusiastically preparing to bring the people of Michigan an abundance of flavor, generous portions, and delightful entertainment. Presently, they are constructing their inaugural Big Chicken establishment in Clio at 11476 North Linden Road, and it’s anticipated to open in early 2024. Additionally, the second Big Chicken location in Michigan will be established in Highland and is scheduled to open in the upcoming spring.

“We’re pleased with the progress we’ve made thus far in securing premium real estate to open Big Chicken locations across eastern Michigan,” a spokesperson from H&D Group Investments said. “Our newest location in Highland marks the next BIG step in our journey of bringing BIG flavor, BIG food and, most importantly, BIG fun to our communities.”

Elaborating on the gains of the partnership, Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern said:

The team at H&D Group Investments are exactly the type of experienced operators we’re looking to grow with at Big Chicken. They have an impressive track record of success in the highly competitive full service restaurant segment, and we’re thrilled to add them to our all-star team of franchisees as they introduce the first locations in Michigan and expand Big Chicken’s presence in the Midwest. Let’s GROW!

Before this partnership, Big Chicken’s growth trajectory in Texas, California, Nevada, and Washington has been successful.

Plans to Open 50 Big Chicken Locations

This latest partnership is part of O’Neal’s sustained strategic plan to expand his restaurant with 150 Big Chicken franchises across the United States – a testament to his commitment to introducing his unique culinary concept to various cities and communities.

In June 2023, Big Chicken made its debut in Woodlake Square, Houston, attracting such a large crowd that the fire marshal had to intervene to ensure safety and compliance with regulatory standards.

In August 2023, O’Neal collaborated with local franchisees Fazil Malik, Frank Malik, and Noordin Jhaver to devise a plan for opening 50 Big Chicken locations in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. Shaquille O’Neal revealed that the next Big Chicken location in Houston will be unveiled near the Heights in 2024.

“Coming off our successful grand opening celebration in Houston this past month, we’re thrilled to be able to fill the growing demand for Big Chicken’s BIG food, BIG flavor, and BIG fun with our next location in the up-and-coming Greater Heights neighborhood,” Malik said in a statement.