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Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken Chain Flapping to Sunshine State Cities

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken is opening in Orlando in late 2023, as noted on the website.  File photo: Ron Adar, Shutter Stock, licensed.

I think I’m the only player who looks at each and every center and says to myself, ‘That’s barbecued chicken down there.” –Shaquille O’Neal 

PORTSMOUTH, OH  – I will say that my favorite chicken sandwich is found at Popeyes – not Chick-fil-A, KFC or McDonald’s. But I’ve not eaten a Big Chicken sandwich yet. 

According to their website, Popeyes has a boatload of eateries in Florida: 12 in Miami, 1 in North Miami, 1 in South Miami, 2 in West Palm Beach, 9 in Tampa, and 14 in Orlando, and more throughout the state. 

Looks like another chicken sandwich war in our future. Because there’s a new bird in town.  

Drumroll please… 

Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal’s Big Chicken is opening in Orlando in late 2023, as noted on the website. 

Noted in a 2022 article, the company signed a 45-unit franchising deal with Florida-based commercial hospitality development company DMD Ventures, which means Big Chicken locations in Tampa Bay, Orlando, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. 

Step aside lobster, shrimp, and oysters – Big Chicken is in the House. 

In addition to the dozens of locations planned for Central and South Florida, Big Chicken also made a recent franchising deal with Panhandle Restaurant Group to bring over 40 locations to the northern half of the state. 

Big Chicken in Los Vegas includes a full-service bar with local beers, a “backyard-style” gaming area, and online ordering.” 

  • See several photographs of Big Chicken in Los Vegas HERE. 
  • See the Big Chicken menu HERE.  
  • Visit Big Chicken on Twitter HERE.  

History of Shaq’s Big Chicken 

Founded in 2018, Big Chicken is a joint effort from Las Vegas-based JRS Hospitality, marketing and development company Authentic Brands Group, and Shaq himself. There are currently over 200 Big Chicken locations being developed across the country, alongside Florida’s franchises. 

Sorry to be a downer, but I ask you: Does America need one more restaurant brand specializing in chicken?  

Yes, jobs are welcomed, but will Big Chicken pay a fair wage with benefits and perks? The career section advertises: 

  • Great pay 
  • Flexible schedules  
  • Big fun culture 
  • Meal discount 
  • Career opportunities  

What is great pay to Shaq may not be great pay to workers. A fun culture is cool, but fun doesn’t pay the bills.  

When I worked at a pizza restaurant chain in my college days, workers were allowed one free meal per shift. How big is the Big Chicken discount for employees? Chick Little-sized or Foghorn Leghorn-sized.  

Each state sets a minimum age for employees that work in restaurants or bars that serve alcohol. Florida’s minimum age is 18 as reported on the website of the Alcohol Policy Information System.  

However, Big Chicken’s work application on the website requests ages 21+ apply. So, no jobs for high schoolers or younger college students. But future Big Chicken eateries may consider different age requirements for each state. 

Chickens Raised for Meat 

Read how chickens raised for meat – called broilers – are typically raised and produced in the United States. Chicken Check In is from the National Chicken Council (NCC). 

CHICKEN TRENDS – MARCH 17, 2023 by US Foods. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, broiler growers in the United States weekly program placed 186 million chicks for meat production during the week ending March 11, 2023, down slightly from a year ago.  

But do people eat roosters? “While it is not common in western cultures, rooster meat is widely consumed in other parts of the world…On average, roosters do not produce as much meat as standard broiler chickens, which are plump and tender… Rooster meat tends to be tougher and stringier than hen meat, making it more difficult to process…Keeping multiple roosters in a flock is a recipe for disaster because their aggressive tendencies cause them to fight each other.” 

I guess no rooster sandwiches at Big Chicken places. 

Are Chicken Processing Plants Facing Foul Times? 

 Duh duh duhhh…the plot chickens. 

Tyson Foods will close two chicken plants in May, 2023, affecting nearly 1,700 employees, as reported by CNBC

2023: Third-biggest egg farm in Connecticut catches fire, 21 fire departments respond to huge blaze that likely killed thousands of chickens 

2022: Egg-laying facility in Iowa kills 5.3 million chickens, fires 200-plus workers 

2022: Big Lebanon County, PA, poultry farm kills 250,000 chickens  

2020: Fire at Florida egg farm kills as many as 240,000 chickens  

2020: Nearly 300,000 chickens die in massive fire in New Jersey  

Based on the Animal Welfare Institution’s analysis, 98 percent of the animals killed in barn fires in 2019 were birds, mainly chickens raised for meat and egg-laying hens. Since 2017, more than 250,000 meat chickens and 1.8 million hens have been killed in barn fires. Birds die in such large numbers as a result of factory-farming practices that confine tens to hundreds of thousands of animals under one roof. 

Back to Shaq – the Big Rooster. 

In 2021, O’Neal sold his lake-front home near Orlando, Florida, for $11 million. 

O’Neal’s new home is located in Carrollton, Texas, a suburban community outside the city of Dallas.  

What about Big Chicken eateries in Texas? There’s one in Austin with plans for one in Houston and another in Richmond. 

I am Superman. And the only thing that can kill Superman is Kryptonite. And Kryptonite doesn’t exist.” –Shaquille O’Neal 

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