SCMF Musings: Big Boy vs. Big Boy – Who Knew?

Big Boy make-over

While scanning headlines, this one caught our attention: Big Boy Restaurant Gets A Makeover

Big Boy Makeover

Wait… what?

In our eyes, we were seeing this fella:

Big Boy SoCal

Classic. Iconic. So what gives?

Our #SCMF adventure took us on an interesting route.

First, we found out that the “Big Boy” in the headline was NOT referring to the mascot of the Warren, Michigan chain. They say this about themselves:

Big Boy® is much more than restaurant or a brand. Big Boy is an American icon. For 80 years, we have been serving classic American comfort food while providing friendly and personal service. We exceed category expectations while retaining a strong connection with our powerful brand heritage. From our food to our statue, there are many reasons why people love Big Boy. Be part of our rich history. Become a franchisee today.

After some digging around, we found out that apparently, there was a split-off resulting in the creation of a chain called: Frisch’s Big Boy.

Frisch Big Boy

And this is what they say about themselves on their website:

Frisch’s is a regional company that operates full service family-style restaurants under the name “Frisch’s Big Boy.” All Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants are currently located in various regions of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. The Company owns the trademark “Frisch’s” and has exclusive, irrevocable ownership of the rights to the “Big Boy” trademark, trade name and service marks in the states of Kentucky and Indiana, and in most of Ohio and Tennessee. All of the Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants also offer “drive-thru” service. The Company also licenses Big Boy restaurants to other operators, currently in certain parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

Okay, so its the Frisch’s Big Boy that’s getting the make-over.

Per an AP story appearing in the local paper (Cincinnati Enquirer), the Frisch’s Big Boy (FBB) mascot has looked the same since the mid-1970s and seemed overdue for a makeover.

via GIPHY

A Frisch company executive was quoted saying:

We didn’t take this change lightly; we wanted to keep him recognizable but we wanted to update him. He’s not skinny, he doesn’t have six-pack abs, but he’s healthy…

Frisch Big Boy compare

Frisch’s Big Boy evolution…

Noteworthy: Frisch’s Big Boy is no longer hoisting his signature sandwich and his formerly chubby cheeks noticeably tighter.

To us, he kinda looks like a young Pep Boys with those coveralls he’s wearing.

Pep Boys meet Frisch's Big Boy

The AP story focused on the complete refresh of the Frisch chain which included the burger-less, skinny cheeks, not-so-big, boy.

  • Menu additions
  • A revamped, brighter restaurant with a kids’ zone,
  • Experimentation with “brupper” (think the “br” from breakfast smashed into the “upper” of supper). Frisch’s Big Boy Restaurants is expanding its popular breakfast bar service on Wednesdays to dinner time, calling the offering “Brupper.”

Guess everyone wants in on the breakfast all-day trend.

McDonald's All-Day Breakfast Menu

What About the Michigan Big Boy?

From what we can tell, the Michigan folks are sticking with tradition.

Big Boy® is much more than restaurant or a brand. Big Boy is an American icon. For 80 years, we have been serving classic American comfort food while providing friendly and personal service. We exceed category expectations while retaining a strong connection with our powerful brand heritage. From our food to our statue, there are many reasons why people love Big Boy. Be part of our rich history. Become a franchisee today.

Their website promotes the classic double-decker and “Sweet Desserts” and their “Block Buster Breakfast” (R).

Big Boy classic

Note: Their “Keep It Classic” slogan seems to say it all.

They’ve embraced social media as a modern means of promoting their classics. Check out their Instagram here:
Big Boy Instagram

And we’ve enjoyed their sponsorship of the Detroit Tigers MLB broadcasts via the “Big Boy Big Play of the Game.”

Big Boy Detroit Tigers

If anything, the Michigan Big Boy looks kind of speedy (boy in motion). Fun and classic, there’s no reason for a makeover.


That’s a Wrap!

So now we know — a Big Boy is not necessarily THE Big Boy. Definitely helps having a curious mind.

Note: We’ve included some interesting content and links if you want to explore the topic further.

Thanks for reading and #SCMF!

—The Gang


History of Big Boy®

In 1936, Bob Wian sold his prized DeSoto Roadster to purchase a small hamburger stand in Glendale, California. He named it Bob’s Pantry.

Original Big Boy Story

One night in 1937, a regular customer requested something different for a change. Bob went to work and the first double-decker hamburger was born.

Customers couldn’t get enough of Bob’s new creation. One fan in particular was a chubby six year old boy in droopy overalls. He would often help Bob sweep up in exchange for a free burger. In honor of his young friend, Wian decided to name the better burger the Big Boy. Another regular customer, a movie animator, sketched the now famous character on a napkin. The rest is 78 years of history!




Documentary – “Death of an Icon” – (2015) Directed by Matt Jaissle.

The Big Boy restaurant in Milan, Michigan opened in 1978 and closed in 2015. This document was filmed on the very last day. *The views and opinions expressed in this documentary are those of the participants interviewed, and are not necessarily those of the filmmakers, The Big Boy Corporation, it’s holdings, franchise owners or management.


Get your Big Boy swag here:

BigBoy-swag


Fine-End-Nap

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