A fast-casual chicken restaurant founded by basketball star Shaquille O'Neal is planning to open 12 franchise locations in the Phoenix area, with the goal of having the first location open by the end of the year.
The restaurant, called Big Chicken, already has locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, on some Carnival Cruise ships, inside the New York Islanders arena and in the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Josh Halpern, CEO of Big Chicken said. The restaurant started franchising in 2021.
Steve Christensen and Reid Richards are the franchisees in Phoenix and are in the due diligence phase of site selection for locations, Halpern said. The group is looking at all submarkets throughout the Valley.
"We met Steve and Reid in October or November," Halpern said. "We wanted to get to Phoenix early in our grown story."