Personal recollection: I have been going to Big Boy's all my life, mostly the Walled Lake location pictured below as I used to live in that area. I loved it but don't go as much as I used to. The menu changes that occurred several years back were a negative for me. It will take me some time to get together a proper set of photos and articles for this chain.
Big Boy Restaurant Group, LLC is an American restaurant chain headquartered in Warren, Michigan, in Metro Detroit. Frisch's Big Boy Restaurants is a restaurant chain with its headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Big Boy name, design aesthetic, and menu were previously licensed to a number of regional franchisees.
Big Boy was started as Bob's Pantry in 1936 by Bob Wian in Glendale, California.:?11? The restaurants became known as "Bob's", "Bob's Drive-Ins", "Bob's, Home of the Big Boy Hamburger", and (commonly as) Bob's Big Boy. It became a local chain under that name and nationally under the Big Boy name, franchised by Robert C. Wian Enterprises. Marriott Corporation bought Big Boy in 1967. One of the larger franchise operators, Elias Brothers, purchased the chain from Marriott in 1987, moved the headquarters of the company to Warren, Michigan, and operated it until bankruptcy was declared in 2000. During the bankruptcy, the chain was sold to investor Robert Liggett, Jr., who took over as Chairman, renamed the company Big Boy Restaurants International and maintained the headquarters in Warren. In 2018, Big Boy was sold to a group of Michigan investors and renamed Big Boy Restaurant Group, with David Crawford as Chairman, CEO, and co-owner of the new company. The company is the operator or franchisor for 69 Big Boy restaurants in the United States and two in Thailand. In January 2020, Tamer Afr replaced Crawford as chairman, CEO, and co-owner.
Immediately after Liggett's purchase, Big Boy Restaurants International—then known as Liggett Restaurant Enterprises—negotiated an agreement with the other large franchise operator, Frisch's Restaurants. The Big Boy trademarks in Kentucky, Indiana, and most of Ohio and Tennessee transferred to Frisch's ownership; all other Frisch's territories transferred to Liggett. Thus Frisch's is no longer a franchisee, but Big Boy Restaurant Group and Frisch's are now independent co-registrants of the Big Boy name and trademark. Frisch's operates or franchises 121 Big Boy restaurants in the United States.