After Over 2500 People Failed, Former Manager of Multibillion Dollar Franchise Bags Shaquille O’Neal and Big Chicken’s Trust

Published 09/25/2023, 8:30 AM EDT

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Shaquille O’Neal is giving stiff competition to Colonel Sanders in the chicken business. Reports indicate a new location of Big Chicken is under development. It adds to the 300+ expansion plans by the NBA legend’s restaurant business. The rapid advancement of Shaq’s fast casual dining empire is credited to the expert he put in charge. And Shaq’s trustworthy man is raising the bar with every new outlet.

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Big Diesel attributes his success in the business world to his knack for handpicking reliable experts to run his ventures. Big Chicken also has a strong leader on top. Thanks to the CEO, Shaq’s dreams of bringing smiles and food to people’s faces is coming true.

Shaquille O’Neal’s Washington franchise in the works

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A Big Chicken franchise is usually announced with more fanfare. However, word of a new outlet in Washington already broke this month. A shopping center in Tacoma might be the location for the new Big Chicken restaurant. Local news outlets revealed that the fast food chain has filed for permits with the City of Tacoma. The potential location is at the Westgate North Shopping Center according to floor plans.

Washington already has a few Big Chicken outlets including at the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.

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Tacoma local, Tony Puckett, is the franchise owner of this new location. “Tony has been in the restaurant industry for his entire adult life, starting as a manager at The Cheesecake Factory and moving into business ownership with Subway nearly 17 years ago,” a rep for Big Chicken stated.

He’s an active owner and can often be found in and out of his restaurants on a daily basis.”

It speaks of Big Chicken’s high standards for franchisees. Much like the Los Angeles Lakers legend himself, Puckett is a veteran in the franchise business. After starting his career with Cheesecake Factory, he operated Subway franchises. After launching in 2018, Big Chicken entered the franchising business in 2021.

It recruited Josh Halpern as the CEO to increase the group’s presence across the country. Halpern is transforming the company into a franchisee-first business. Which means he holds the franchisees to high standards.

Josh Halpern runs Shaq’s empire

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After running food and beverage outlets under the $112 billion Anheuser-Busch InBev umbrella, JRS Hospitality brought Josh Halpern on board.

Very quickly, Shaq gloated about his absolute trust in the CEO. Halpern is also protective of the Big Diesel image behind Big Chicken. During a recent interview, Halpern compared a Big Chicken franchisee screening process to getting into an Ivy League school.

He has rejected 2500 applicants to date because not anyone can just operate a Shaquille O’Neal business. Similar to Puckett from Tacoma, Halpern is looking at experienced multi-unit operators to join the Big Chicken gang. The ones who do pass his screening process are hailed as “incredible marketers.”

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Halpern’s methods bring results and that’s why Shaquille O’Neal is content leaving the reins in his hands.

WATCH THIS STORY | A Year After Lashing Out at ‘Plumber’ Claim, Shaquille O’Neal Defend 95-Year-Old “Luckiest” SOB and Celtics Fan

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Written by:

Caroline John

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Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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