What Franchises Does Shaq Own

We all know Shaquille O’Neal’s qualities on the basketball court, but only a few people know that he is also a successful entrepreneur who often invests in franchising. So we will present to you what franchises does Shaq own; we will mention the numbers of franchise units and brands that have a business partnership with him.

Customers can find Shaq franchises in different industries, but the fast-food industry is his favorite franchising branch. Also, he recently started his chicken business, and because of that, we will reveal some information about this new franchising concept on the market.

All Franchises That Shaq Own

Big Chicken – 3 franchises

Shaq started his Big Chicken brand in 2018 when he opened his first restaurant in Las Vegas. At present, this brand has three franchise units, but their long-term business plan is to have franchises in every corner of the United States.

So when we talk about what franchises do Shaq own, we must mention that Big Chicken plans to open more than ten new franchised restaurants in 2022. Also, they will open a few locations on the cruise ships. 

People who will go on vacation with Carnival Cruise Line will have the opportunity to visit these restaurants and witness what they offer on the menu. This chicken brand also targets expansion in the malls and other locations with a high fluctuation of the people. Also, this franchising company provides a possibility of starting franchises in standalone buildings. 

If you are an aspiring franchise owner who wishes to become a business partner with this basketball legend, you will need a high starting budget!

The Big Chicken franchise cost is between $653,000 and $1.600,000, which means opening this restaurant will be available only to entrepreneurs with a significant investing budget.

This is the first of all Shaq franchises that he has started from scratch. Usually, he opts for investing in the franchising opportunities of the already well-known brands, so this is his first independent business venture.

The Big Chicken can be the next big thing in the franchising industry. Shaquille O’Neal’s net worth is more than $400 million, so he has the necessary investment funds to back up his brand. 

Also, this basketball legend is still very popular among people, so the marketing of this company’s franchising opportunity will not be a problem.

Papa John’s – 9 Franchises

Shaquille O’Neal owns nine Papa John’s franchised restaurants; Shaq franchises are all based in Atlanta. Also, he is a member of this company s board of directors, so his opinion is very influential inside this company headquarters.

The O’Neal partnership with Papa John started in 2019 when he invested more than $800,000 in opening franchises from this pizza brand. Also, he is this brand’s leading spokesman, so his business tasks are more related to marketing; it is not so unexpected when we know how many fans he has.

This company has been in a slight business decline ever since 2017 when Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has had some disputes with the NFL. So they probably contacted Shaq to help them get close again to the pizza lovers, who started to go to their competition rather than visiting these pizzerias.

Positioning Shaquille O’Neal on their board of directors was a clever marketing decision. This news was on all media, and they slowly but steadily started to get back on the growth business track they had before 2017.

There is no information about this basketball legend’s plans to open more of these franchised pizza joints in the future. But Shaq, with his nine Papa John’s franchises, is one of the company’s largest franchisees, not only in height but also by a number of the franchise units.

Auntie Anne’s – 17 Franchises 

Auntie Anne’s is a pretzel company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. At present, they are one of the leading brands in the Baked Goods Industry. Also, they are a top-rated franchising opportunity among aspiring entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a bakery business.

Shaq began opening Auntie Anne’s franchises in 2007. These pretzels shops are his first investment in franchising, which means that his career as a franchise owner started with this brand. Today, by the number of franchise units, he is one of the most prominent investors in this company.

At present, Aunties Anne’s have more than 1,900 franchises across the whole of the U.S; Shaq owns 17 of them. His franchises operate in Detroit, Buffalo, and the N.Y. area locations. 

To start a franchise from this brand, entrepreneurs must invest between $100K to $450K, which means that this basketball superstar has already invested more than $2,500,000 in this franchising company. 

However, these franchises are a very wise investment option, and that is because entrepreneurs can make a good profit by owning them. O’Neal has an excellent understanding of business, and he invested money at the right time; that is when this company was at its peak.

So when we count what franchises does Shaq own, we must include 17 units of this pretzel brand. He is not included in marketing campaigns at this company, as it is with Papa John’s and Big Chicken. So we think that he will not opt for opening new ones in the near future.

Krispy Kreme – 1 franchise

Krispy Kreme is a donut company founded in 1937 in North Carolina. At present, this franchising company has more than 1,100 locations worldwide, so we must put them on the list of the top 10 U.S doughnut brands.

Shaq owns only one Krispy Kreme franchise; his unit is located in the Atalanta. He bought this store in 2016, and since then, he hadn’t had too much luck with it. His shop twice has had a fire in it, and currently, it is out of the business for a certain period.

The first time his unit has burned out because of the gas leakage, and the second time some homeless people had caused the Shaq Krispy Kreme franchise to get destroyed in the fire. He didn’t take any criminal charges procedures against suspects because it was done by misfortune, so he again has shown his big heart.

This franchise location is now in the rebuilding phase because it was all destroyed, and it was necessary to start all again from scratch. But we must include this store on the list of Shaq franchises because it is expected to reopen its door in 2022.

Krispy Kreme is one of the favorites for the Shaq among all other franchises that he owns because he is a big lover of doughnuts. He only invests in franchising industries close to his lifestyle, so it is not so unusual that most of his franchises are in the Food Industry.

Also, he is the leading spokesman for this brand, and he puts a lot of effort into promoting them when he has the opportunity to do that. So it will not be so unexpected that we heard that he is opening a few more franchises from this brand in the future.

24-Hour Fitness – 40 Franchises

24 Hour Fitness is a gym brand founded in 1983. The O’Neal opened the first location in 2004, and ever since then, he has been in a business partnership with this franchisor. At present, this chain has approximately 300 franchise units, and 40 of them are Shaq franchises.

This company is presented in 11 U.S states, but lately, they have had some financial difficulties. However, the franchisor problems do not negatively impact the Shaq franchises; his locations have more regular customers than ever at this moment.

This franchisor before had more than 400 locations across the United States, but 24 Hour Fitness has filed for bankruptcy in 2020, and they closed in that year almost 100 locations. 

Business ups and downs are expected. At present, this company has a stable financial situation, so most business analysts predict that they will be back on the winning track soon. 

24 Hours Fitness founder and CEO is Mark S. Mastrov, and they are the largest privately owned and operated fitness chain in the United States. Also, they are in the top 5 franchisors by the number of gyms, and Shaq, as their leading spokesman, has helped them a lot to become what they are today.

So when we talk about what franchises does Shaq own, we must mention this fitness brand. Usually, he invests in food franchises, but gyms are a big part of his life, so it is no wonder that he decided to make his business mark in this industry.

How Many Five Guys Franchises Does Shaq Own

At present, Shaquille O’Neal doesn’t own any of the Five Guys franchises. He sold all of them in 2016 because he started other business ventures, and he decided to expand his portfolio of franchises in different directions. 

Also, in 2016 he started his restaurant, and probably that was the main reason why he decided to sell all franchises of this franchising company. So when we count what franchises does Shaq own, we must exclude Five Guys from that number.

At one moment, this basketball legend had 155 Five Guys franchised restaurants which were 10% of all locations of this brand. He has shown excellent business timing by opening these restaurants and selling them at the right time.

Five Guys was the fasted growing restaurant chain in America, and Shaq was the part of this company when they were on their business peak. He invested more than 100 million dollars in his franchises, and he multiple initial investments a few times before he sold all of his restaurants.

In 2016, when O’Neal sold all his Five Guys locations, this company was in excellent business momentum. It means that he sold them for more money than he invested in its openings. So he probably had a nice payday at the end of the partnership with this franchisor.

Who Manages Shaq Franchises

Shaq has business associates, and they are in charge of managing all his businesses, not only franchised ones. He owns more than 60 franchises across the United States, so it would not be physically possible for him to manage all his businesses even if he wants.

This basketball legend is more investor; he doesn’t know too much about the business operations of his franchises. But he is wise enough to put the right people in the managerial positions on his franchises.

He invests in many industries, and almost every time, he has had shown that he has excellent timing for investing. His franchises are doing very well in terms of profit, which means he knows how to choose the right business team.


We have counted all franchises that Shaq owns, and this is an impressive number of locations related to him. This businessman has shown that he is not a typical basketball player. It is expected that his business ventures will soon make him more money than he has earned throughout his NBA career.

All aspiring franchise owners should try to invest by the philosophy that Shaquille O’Neal has ”don’t invest in industries that do not interest you personally, nor in the products, you don’t use.


Written by:

Stuart MacPherson

Hi, I'm Stuart. I've been running my own small business since 2019 after leaving a successful career in finance. I created FranchiseTheory to share my enthusiasm for franchising and the franchise business model.

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