Training Spotlight: Big Boy Restaurants
By Janay Robinson


Big Boy is without a doubt one of the grandfathers of casual dining restaurants. Big Boy Restaurants made its debut in the era of drive-ins in sunny California in 1936. As emphasis moved from drive-ins to coffee shops and family restaurants in the 50s and 60s, Big Boy kept up with the times and moved to a curb-side and dine-in model. The Big Boy we know today houses just under 100 locations nationally (nearly 400 internationally) with 86 restaurants located in Michigan alone.

Headquartered in Warren, Michigan in Metro Detroit, Big Boy has quite the resume in franchising. The restaurant chain first introduced franchising to their model in 1952 and at their highest peak operated with over 1,000 locations in the United States and Canada alone. Unlike modern franchisees, the historic Big Boy franchisees differed somewhat from one another in pricing and menus. There was a strong desire by new leadership to change the inconsistency in the late 80s but to this day some locations continue to offer distinctions from the standard Big Boy menu.

How does Big Boy train their franchisees?
Before new franchisees are brought on to the Big Boy team, they spend a lot of time with current team members. Steve Facione, Vice President of Development for Big Boy Restaurants explains, "From the beginning, in the discovery process, Terry Crocker and I spend a lot of time with them to understand what their goals are. Our goal is to have successful franchisees and ensuring goals are inline on both sides before contracting helps achieve that."
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New franchisees spend a lengthy amount of time understanding each role in the restaurant. The typical onboarding training program lasts between six and eight weeks. Franchisees visit Big Boy's headquarters and work in a corporate store throughout training.

"Franchisees engage in a lot of one-on-one training during onboarding. They get the opportunity to work directly with department heads in a corporate store. From this the franchisee gains the full experience of what it would be like to run their own restaurant." Facione adds when asked about engagement. "The development team also spends a considerable amount of time with the franchisee going over real estate, the designing, and construction of their store. The franchisee is very involved in every aspect of the process."

Once onboarding and construction is complete, Big Boy transitions training to the franchisee's new location. An opening team is sent out to help with the grand opening and training of all new team members and managers. The opening team helps develop leadership skills and business acumen within the management team. Training focuses on guest service, product and equipment training and reviewing local marketing opportunities.

After onboarding and initial on-site training, Big Boy offers ongoing training for franchisees. Facione explains "Each franchisee gets assigned a regional business director who will work with them on an ongoing basis to provide support. That support comes in many forms. One-on-one meeting are held to provide feedback to you on your store operations. Also, the business director and a training team provides on-site training for roll-out of new products."

In addition to the support provided by the business director, Big Boy also keeps franchisees well informed through various forms of communication. Facione explains, "We like to keep communication flowing from both sides at all time. We provide everyone in the company with a community newsletter that hits inboxes every Monday. Franchisees also have access to our intranet where they can access all documentation that the company offers right at there fingertips."

A Big Boy franchise delivers unbelievable brand recognition and loyalty, highly desirable territories, and new "inline" restaurant design focused on lower investment and operating costs to new franchisees. Currently seeking franchisees that want to be multi-unit owners, Big Boy's initial investment fee falls between $600,000 to $3,000,000. Franchisees also have a net-worth requirement of $500,000, with $250,000 required to be liquid cash.

For more information on Big Boy Restaurants franchising, visit

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