You’ve already heard of Big Chicken, the chicken-sandwich chain founded by former basketball player and businessman Shaquille O’Neal. While Shaq is the face of this franchise, what you may not know is the restaurant is also funded by billion-dollar ABG Group and Las Vegas events coordinators JRS Hospitality. But aside from the management and celebrity backing, the chain is making noise about its food as well.

How much does it cost to open Big Chicken? This fried chicken sandwich chain is available to franchise and you can expect the investment range to be $673,000 to $1,642,000. The franchise fee is $40,000, which is pretty standard in the restaurant industry.

Are you interested investing in and opening a Big Chicken? Then read on to get more details on how to franchise a Big Chicken, financial requirements, and the challenges I see on the horizon. Take this 7-minute quiz to be matched with a franchise business that meets your goals. 

Financial Requirements and Fees

Below are the financial requirements to open a Big Chicken. The chicken franchise already has more than 200 units already and is growing fast.

Fees / Expenses Financial Amount
Total Investment $673,000 to $1,642,000
Franchise Fee $40,000

In addition to these expenses, Big Chicken charges a 5% royalty fee and a 1% ad royalty fee. Veterans also get a 10% discount off the franchise fee or $4,000. The term of agreement to run a Big Chicken franchise is 10 years and is renewable.

Average Sales / Revenue per Year

Big Chicken hasn’t released a detailed financials at this time but a report has stated that the chicken chain company’s first location in Las Vegas has seen $100 million in revenue on the Las Vegas strip from this and other restaurant concepts combined.

Big Chicken Franchise Facts

Total Units 200+
Incorporated Name Big Chicken
Franchising Since 2021
Industry Fast Casual Restaurant
Subsector Food and Beverage

Big Chicken first opened up in 2018 in Las Vegas. It was featured in Big Chicken Shaq, a reality TV series that debuted on Facebook Watch on the same year. The series was all about how Shaquille O’Neal and juggles life, business, and launching the Big Chicken concept.

Big Chicken is famous for serving up burgers that are bigger than the average sized ones. For instance, the chicken breast they use weighs roughly 5 ounces. They also offer up more than just the regular condiments to fill their burgers with such as jalapeño slaw, mac and cheese, big portions of bacon, blue cheese, and more.

They’re also famous for having a cookie that has the same circumference of a basketball. Some items on the menu are also only exclusively available in a certain location such as The Kraken, a chicken burger that has buffalo sauce, cream cheese, and blue cheese, and is only available at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. The menu is curated by Shaq himself.

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The chain is currently located in 13 states with the recent developments reported to be in Orlando, Florida. Aside from the restaurant locations, Big Chicken is also found on the Carnival Cruise Line, specifically in the Mardi Gras, Radiance, Celebration, and Jubilee ships. Big Chicken also has a number of Ghost Kitchens and offers nationwide deliveries through Goldbelly.

To franchise Big Chicken, you can complete the interest form here. Upon submition, the Big Chicken team will then contact you and provide ore information about the franchise.

Big Chicken is available to franchise in most states except for Idaho, Utah, Arizona, and Florida since these states are all sold out.

Shaq's Franchises

What franchises does Shaq own?

As mentioned above, Big Chicken is owned by Shaquille O’Neal but he also has two other groups with him that handle Big Chicken: Authentic Brands Group (ABG) and JRS Hospitality. ABG is known for handling Forever 21, IZOD, Aeropostale, and Nine West and sees over $20 billion in revenue. JRS Hospitality on the other hand is a professional events group in Las Vegas that sees $100 million in revenue.

Big Chicken’s Chief Executive Officer is Josh Halpern. Their headquarters can be found in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of the moment, you can’t buy stocks in Big Chicken since they’re not a publicly traded company.

How Much Does Big Chicken Make in Profit?

There is no official report on the amount of revenue Big Chicken makes in profit aside from the revenue that was mentioned above. I will update this as soon as more information is publicly available.

Advantages of a Big Chicken Franchise

Big Name and Recognizable Spokesperson 

Just the fact that Big Chicken is owned by Shaquille O’Neal is enough of a marketing strategy. Fans of the basketball player will visit Big Chicken first because of the man behind it and then they’ll come back because of the food. So if you franchise Big Chicken, you’ll have the marketing support of one of the most recognizable spokespeople in the game.

Restaurant Experience

As mentioned above, Big Chicken is owned by Shaquille O’Neal and other investing firms. But did you know that this isn’t the only food business Shaq owns? The man has experience in running many other franchises such as Auntie Anne’s, Krispy Kreme, Five Guys, and Papa Johns. Shaq even sits as part of the board in Papa Johns. Shaq knows the food business.

Third Party Financing

Financing is one of the many hurdles a franchisee faces. They’re interested in running the business but what’s stopping them from signing up is the lack of funds. Some franchises offer financing or has links with third party financing to help applicants while others don’t.

Fortunately, Big Chicken has a third party financing option to help interested applicants in kickstarting their business venture with them. The third party financing covers the startup costs, franchise fee, equipment and inventory. Additional details and coverage regarding financing may be further discussed with Big Chicken’s franchise development team upon the initial interview and meeting.

Challenges of a Big Chicken Franchise

Being aware of the challenges that come with running a Big Chicken will help you in the long run. Here are some of them to prepare for:

It’s New

Big Chicken is a new business that’s only 5 years old. The popularity and demand that comes with it can be tempting to get into at the moment, but food trends come and go. Remember the frozen yogurt crazy from a few years back? I do. Many of these shops that opened with fanfare a few years ago have quietly closed. Take time to evaluate this concept and make your own decision on whether or not its a longterm opportunity or passing fad.

Limited Menu

I appreciate Shaq being hands-on about the menu at Big Chicken but so far, the menu is quite limited. They only have a number of chicken burgers, sides, and desserts. But by adding some vegetarian options or more gluten-free options the concept could appeal to a wider range of customers.

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Shaq’s Big Chicken faces a tough competition. There’s Chick-fil-A, Kentucky Fried Chicken that’s considered the largest fried chicken franchise chain, Popeyes, and Jollibee. According to this report, the typical Popeye’s location does about $400,000 in chicken sandwich revenue per unit annually. The number Big Chicken also is also lower compared to the thousands of locations that their competition so there’s white space for expansion nationally.

Is the Big Chicken Franchise Right For You?

Big Chicken is an appealing franchise. It’s backed by big investment firms that can spot restaurants with growth potential. An estimated 2.3 billion chicken sandwiches are sold in the United States each year so this a menu concept with proven results.

However, it’s only been running for 5 years. This is also a space with plenty of entrenched with entrench competitors from globally recognized brands like KFC and Chic-fil-A. You should read the Franchise Disclosure Document thoroughly before you invest in this business. Make sure to take your time during the research process of this business. Consult experienced franchise owners for any input about the risks they see in the concept.

What is an alternative Big Chicken franchise?

If a fast-growing chicken sandwich business is what you’re looking for, check out Dave’s Hot Chicken. Their fried chicken comes in different spice levels has earned them a cult following. They also serve up chicken sliders which may not be big in size as the ones in Big Chicken but the restaurant has generated an equal level of buzz and excitment.

To franchise Dave’s Hot Chicken, expect the investment to be around $626,300 to $1,413,500 with a franchise fee of $40,000. To know more about how to franchise Dave’s Hot Chicken, check out our full guide here.

With the take-out fried chicken market size expected to rise to $9.85 billion in 2030, you can feel confident that you’re in a market that will see growth the next decade. If Big Chicken has captured your attention, I hope this guide was able to help give you some background about the potential risks and upside.