Shaq’s Big Chicken restaurant coming to Central Florida. Here’s what we know so far

Chain set to open 45 locations across Florida

Host Shaquille O'Neal attends Shaq's Fun House on Friday, Feb. 11, 2022, at the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision/AP) (Mark Von Holden, 2022 Invision)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Former NBA great Shaquille O’Neal has left a big mark on the restaurant industry in recent years and now he is expanding his culinary footprint into Central Florida.

O’Neil’s Big Chicken restaurant franchise is set to open 45 stores in Florida, according to a LinkedIn post from the business.

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The expansion comes as the company formed an agreement with DMD Ventures, based out of Davies, for development rights to Big Chicken in South and Central Florida, according to its website.

Big Chicken said the stores will be coming to Orlando, Tampa, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, but did not offer any exact locations. News 6 has reached out to DMD Ventures for additional information and this story will be updated if we receive a response.

DMD Ventures’ website said the first of the 45 locations will be opening in 2023.

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“The Big Chicken concept is built around Shaq’s remarkable life, and he puts his heart and soul into marketing the brand and making sure it lives up to the trust he’s built with fans,” DMD Ventures said in its pitch to potential investors.

According to Big Chicken’s website, the chain started in 2018 by “JRS Hospitality, an accomplished Las Vegas-based ownership group; Authentic Brands Group, a multi-national, multi-billion-dollar brand development, marketing and entertainment company; and Hall of Fame basketball star Shaquille O’Neal.”

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The website boasts that the menu is made up of “O’Neal’s home-cooked childhood favorites with today’s trending flavors. From crispy chicken sandwiches and tenders to Cheez-It-crusted mac n’ cheese and hand-crafted ice cream shakes, each menu item tells a story all while offering guests an inside look into the life and personality of Shaquille O’Neal.”

Sandwiches from Big Chicken (Big Chicken/DMD Ventures)

DMD Ventures also manages franchises of Twin Peaks and Papa John’s, which O’Neil is also invested heavily in, according to its website.

According to Big Chicken, the company now has 200 franchises in development, including the 45 locations in Florida.



About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.