Big Chicken, founded by Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, has signed a franchise agreement to open 10 restaurants in Tennessee with local restaurateur Jim Richards.
“With four decades of restaurant industry experience under my belt, I know the importance of creating a ‘wow’ experience for customers,” Richards said in a company press release. “The food, service and overall experience at Big Chicken are truly unmatched and as someone who’s lived in the area for over 40 years, I’m confident we’ll become a quick hit for folks in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.”
Richards served as the VP of franchise services for The Krystal Company for 10 years before launching his own company, GPR Hospitality LLC, where he owns and operates 13 Five Guys restaurants in Tennessee and North Georgia as well as Fiamma Pizza Company with partner Brion Voges. With strong connections of his own in the industry, Voges, along with Richards’ other business partners and associates, Andrew Gardner, Bruce Bowman and Rodney Hutson, will also be involved in operating the Big Chicken locations planned for Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga.
“Jim’s extensive experience in restaurant ownership is extremely impressive and his excitement about the business is infectious,” Big Chicken CEO Josh Halpern said in the release. “Nashville is a prime market and one we’ve been excited to expand into and Knoxville and Chattanooga are incredible college town markets that we’re excited to enter as well. We look forward to supporting Jim and his team as they introduce Music City and Eastern Tennessee to big flavor, big food and big fun!”
Since the announcement of Big Chicken’s franchising initiative just one year ago, the brand has more 150 locations in its development pipeline.