How Shaq took over the seas with his chicken business after curious visit to Carnival Cruise Line

Dollita Okine March 05, 2024
Shaquille O’Neal founded Big Chicken in 2018. Photo: Instagram/bigchickenshaq

NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal is making waves with his fast food chain, Big Chicken, which he founded and launched in Las Vegas in 2018. The entrepreneur has continued to rack up more businesses, and he told AfroTech that he only pursues opportunities that he believes can change people’s lives.

He explained, “I try not to base everything on a monetary value. I get a lot of deals. ‘Wear the shirt, put your name on it, we’ll sell it.’ I like investing in things that’s going to change people’s lives. I heard Jeff Bezos say that once, and that’s how he invests. So, I follow the strategy, and it’s been working very well for me.”

As per Houston Press, the 51-year-old’s business was impacted by his upbringing and consumption of several chicken dishes prepared by his mother. O’Neal told the outlet, “This is my creation—Excuse me, this is my mama’s creation. Coming where we come from, me and this little guy had to eat chicken a lot. Chicken sandwiches, chicken tacos, chicken everything.”

O’Neal now offers his own take on a classic with menu items such as chicken sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, crispy chicken Caesar salad, and crispy chicken grilled cheese.

According to a report, O’Neal was inspired to grow his business after embarking on a Carnival cruise without knowing what the Carnival Cruise Line was all about despite living by the Cruise Line near New Orleans. Satisfied with the experience on the ship, he started promoting the cruise line.

The former NBA player then joined Carnival Cruise Lines as the CFO (Chief Fun Officer) and casually brought up his plans to bring more chicken businesses to the Carnival Cruise Line after approximately a year of doing business with them.

This interaction between O’Neal and Carnival Cruise Line paved the way for Big Chicken to make its maiden appearance on the Carnival cruise ship, Radiance, in 2020. This massive expansion of Big Chicken not just on land but also in the water provided O’Neal with the necessary boost for his franchise to take off and continue developing, the report said, adding that the Big Chicken business grew and spread to thirteen additional states.

“Big Chicken has been a dream of mine, and now that our land-based restaurant is open, it’s only natural to bring it to sea, as well. I’m really excited that Carnival Radiance guests will be able to enjoy my own delicious creations alongside all the other great food offerings on board,” O’Neal said in a news release.

There are currently multiple Big Chickens in the United States, including those in Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, metro-New York’s UBS Arena, and two other Carnival Cruise ships.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 5, 2024


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