Shaq Expands His Food Empire With Big Chicken Restaurants

Shaquille O’Neal once signed the richest contract in sports history and then went on to win four NBA titles. These days Shaq has a new business he’s trying to conquer: chicken sandwiches. O’Neal, is the co-owner of a restaurant venture called Big Chicken, which launched its first location three years ago in Las Vegas. Last year, a second opened in Glendale, California.

Now, O’Neal is focused on sports arenas, the type of venue he knows the best. Big Chicken recently opened a location at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, home to the National Hockey League’s newest team, the Kraken. And on Thursday, O’Neal made a brief stop through New York to get a glimpse of UBS Arena, the new $1.5 billion home of the NHL’s New York Islanders.

O’Neal started Big Chicken with his friend Matt Silverman, and agent Perry Rogers. It’s not his first foray into the food industry. O’Neal owns various Papa John’s locations, and even makes an appearance in a commercial for the pizza chain. In 2019, he joined the company’s board. Restaurants have been one of O’Neal’s biggest plays in his post-NBA life. He told CNBC that opening up quick service restaurants (QSRs) has been a passion since his days at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Said O’Neal of that book that got him going, “The dummies guide to starting your own business.”