Big Boy Restaurants

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Big Boy Restaurants
Big Boy Restaurants International, LLC
Limited liability company
Industry Casual dining restaurant
Predecessors Elias Brothers
     Restaurants, Inc.;
Marriott Corporation;
Robert C. Wian Enterprises;
Bob's Pantry
Founded Glendale, California, U.S., (August 6, 1936; 81 years ago (1936-08-06))[1]
Founder Bob Wian
Headquarters Warren, Michigan, U.S.
Number of locations
79 (U.S.);
279 (Japan)[2]
Area served
Michigan (71 stores)
California (5 stores)
Ohio (2 stores)
North Dakota (1 store)
Japan (279 stores)
Key people
Robert Liggett, Jr.,
     (Chairman and President)
Keith E. Sirois, (CEO)
Bruce Ferguson, (CFO)
Website bigboy.com

Big Boy Restaurants International, LLC is an American restaurant chain headquartered in Warren, Michigan, in Metro Detroit.[3] 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.[4] The restaurant became known as "Bob's, Home of the Big Boy Hamburger" then 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. The company is the operator or franchisor for 79 Big Boy restaurants in the United States.[5][6][7][8] Big Boy Restaurants International also licenses 279 Big Boy restaurants operating in Japan.[2][9]

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.[10][11] (As a franchisee, the bankruptcy threatened Frisch's future use of the Big Boy trademark.) Thus Frisch's is no longer a franchisee, but Big Boy Restaurants International and Frisch's are now independent co-registrants of the Big Boy name and trademark.[12] Frisch's operates or franchises 121 Big Boy restaurants in the United States.[13][14][15]

Origin[edit]

Big Boy statue
A Big Boy statue common to many restaurants in the chain.

The Big Boy mascot[edit]

The chain is best known for its trademark chubby boy in red-and-white checkered overalls holding a Big Boy sandwich (double-decker cheeseburger). The inspiration for Big Boy's name, as well as the model for its mascot, was Richard Woodruff (1932–1986) of Glendale, California.[16] When he was six years old, Woodruff walked into the diner Bob's Pantry as Bob Wian was attempting to name his new hamburger. Wian said, "Hello, Big Boy" to Woodruff, and the name stuck. Warner Bros. animation artist Ben Washam sketched Richard's caricature, which became the character seen on the company trademark.

In 1955 Bob Wian hired Manfred Bernhard, son of graphic designer Lucian Bernhard,[17] to create a new image for Big Boy. The "West Coast Big Boy" mascot was revised, fiberglass statues molded, schemes created for menus and building designs, and a comic book for children launched.

In 1951, Bob Wian's original franchisee Dave Frisch developed a slightly different Big Boy character. He was slimmer, wore a side cap and striped overalls. Having reddish or blonde hair he was portrayed in a running pose.[note 1] Known as the "East Coast Big Boy", he was copyrighted by Frisch's and used for statues and comic books for Frisch's, and its subfranchisees Manners and Azar's. Before 1954 Parkette (Shoney's) used both versions, though never together.[18][19] Since 1956, the Wian "West Coast Big Boy" design was used exclusively by all franchisees other than Frisch's, Manners and Azar's. In the late 1960s both characters were redrawn to appear similar, incorporating the checkered outfit, pompadour and hamburger above the raised arm from the West Coast design, and the running pose and direction of the East Coast design. In the 1980s, the hamburger was removed from the West Coast design; representing a de-emphasis of the hamburger in North American Big Boy restaurants, it also accommodated the Japanese Big Boy restaurants, which do not serve hamburgers on a bun.

Big Boy statues[edit]

Changing Big Boy logos
The changing Big Boy
  1. 1937. The first Big Boy (left) was derived from a sketch by Warner Brothers animation artist Bennie Washam in 1937. A frequent customer, Washam doodled the character on a napkin for Bob Wian for a free lunch.[20] The logo, redrawn holding a hamburger (right), was typically used by Wian and several early franchisees: Parkette (Shoney's),[18] Elias Brothers[21] and Frejlach's.[22] The orientation was also reversed.
  2. 1952. Wian's first franchisee, David Frisch, developed his own Big Boy character. Dated 1952, the design was copyrighted in 1951 and became known as the East Coast Big Boy. He was the model for fiberglass statues used by Frisch's, and subfranchises Azar's and Manners. This Big Boy varied between blond and reddish blond hair. Unlike West Coast designs (A) and (C), he held the hamburger in both hands and was always running to his left.
  3. 1956. This scheme introduced the modern Big Boy character and is the model for the iconic fiberglass statues. It replaced Wian's original figure (A), and was actually seen in 1955 Shoney's advertisements. Typically drawn with the hamburger atop his right arm, occasionally the hamburger was raised atop his left arm.[23] Shown is a common version of the several renderings used. By 2009, a new styled version is sometimes being used again.[24][25]
  4. 1969. Revised East Coast Big Boy...
  5. 1969. Revised West Coast Big Boy...
    Differences between the East and West Coast designs, including the statues, created confusion along the Ohio-Michigan border where Frisch's and Elias Brothers operated. This motivated a common Big Boy mark, derived with elements of both predecessors, (B) and (C). He retained the look of the West Coast figure (C) but assumed the running pose and orientation of the East Coast figure (B). Nonetheless similar West and East Coast versions were realized, maintaining the facial style of the previous marks, respectively. Frisch's continued to use (D) through 2016.
  6. 1981. To emphasize a full menu the hamburger was removed from the West Coast design.
  7. 1988. After buying Big Boy, Elias Brothers lowered the left arm completely.

Early versions of the West Coast Big Boy statues were gigantic, measuring up to 16 feet tall[26][27] with later versions as short as 4 feet.[28] The early statues always included the Big Boy hamburger above mascot's raised right arm; much later versions eliminated the hamburger with both arms clutching the suspenders instead. The hamburger remained a part of the Frisch's East Coast statues, though the slingshot was eliminated from the figure's back pocket. Although still used by that chain, some Frisch's restaurants currently display the West Coast statue instead.

In recent years, Big Boy statues have come into conflict with local zoning ordinances. In 2002 Tony Matar, a Big Boy franchisee in Canton, Michigan was cited in violation of local sign ordinances. The town claimed the statue was a prohibited second sign; Matar asserted that the 7 foot statue was a sculpture, not a sign.[29] A 2004 compromise allows the existing statue to remain with the words "Big Boy" removed from the figure's bib.[30] When a Brighton, Michigan franchise closed in early 2015 for financial reasons, zoning codes caused the entire sign—topped with a rotating Big Boy statue—be taken down before the restaurant could be reopened.[31] In contrast the planning commission in Norco, California—known as Horsetown USA—was concerned that the statue was not western enough. In response, the restaurant's Big Boy statue is now outfitted wearing a cowboy hat and boots.[32]

A few other modified statues are in official use. In Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park a Frisch's statue is painted wearing a 1970s Reds baseball uniform with a Reds ball cap added. Frisch's Big Boy hamburgers are sold at two of the park's concession booths.[33] Rather than modifying a typical statue, the Big Boy restaurants in Manistique[34][35] and St. Ignace[36], Michigan display full scale moose statues dressed in checkered overalls with "Big Boy" printed across the chest. To conform with Gaylord, Michigan's Alpine theme, the local restaurant's statue previously wore a green Tyrolean hat.[37] (The restaurant was rebuilt in 2016, and no longer displays the modified statue.)

In March 2017 Frisch's unveiled a restyled statue. The new statue resembles the West Coast design but wears striped overalls used on the original East Coast Big Boy.[38] The debut statue wearing a Reds uniform is placed near the existing statue at the Great American Ball Park; another is planned for an unnamed Frisch's restaurant.[39] Frisch's will gradually swap the new statues for existing restaurant statues in need of repair.[38]

Because of the closing or separation of former Big Boy restaurants, many West Coast statues were acquired by private individuals, often traded through eBay.[40][41] Smaller versions of the statues are sold as coin banks and bobblehead figures.[42] The three dimensional Big Boy figure was also used on early ash trays,[43] salt and pepper shakers,[44] wooden counter displays and as small unpainted pewter models.[45]

Gigantic air inflatable Big Boy figures are available and typically used for restaurant openings and special promotions, where permitted.[46]

Adventures of the Big Boy comic book[edit]

Notable Big Boy comic book cover pages
The Adventures of the Big Boy comic book
  • Top row (left to right): No. 1, July 1956, West Coast and East Coast versions; No. 13, July 1957, West Coast and East Coast versions.
  • Bottom row: No. 155, June 1969, West Coast and East Coast versions; No. 156, July 1969, combined version; No. 1, Shoney's version, 1976 (month unknown).

Adventures of the Big Boy (or Adventures of Big Boy) was a promotional comic book given free to children visiting the restaurants. Intended to "give the kids something to do while they waited for their food",[47] the book involves the escapades of Big Boy, his girlfriend Dolly and dog Nugget. From the comic books children could also join the Big Boy Club, a kids club offering them free Big Boy hamburgers, decoder cards, pin-back buttons and other premiums. The serial – sometimes called "King of the Giveaways" – once had distribution estimated at three million copies.[48]

Manfred Bernhard commissioned Timely Comics to produce the book. In the first year Adventures of the Big Boy was managed by Sol Brodsky, written by Stan Lee and drawn by Bill Everett, Brodsky, and Dan DeCarlo.[49][47][50][note 2] DeCarlo continued drawing in the second year and Lee writing the series through 1961.[51][note 3] For 17 years, starting in the mid 1970s, Manny Stallman drew the (Marriott) series,[52] followed by Bob Bindig who drew the series until 1995.[47][53][note 4]

Variations[edit]

Because of the distinct East and West Coast Big Boy mascots, dual versions of Adventures were produced, identical except for the detail of the Big Boy figure.[55] In July 1969 the versions merged, and a fluffy brown haired Big Boy appeared.[55] In 1976 Shoney's discontinued use of the Marriott book, publishing their own instead. Contracted to Paragon Products, this version featured an older, leaner Big Boy, with his siblings Katie and Tripp replacing Dolly and Nugget,[47] and was adopted by the JB's and Azar's Big Boy franchises.[56] After 75 issues it became Shoney's Fun and Adventure Magazine introducing a Shoney's mascot ("Uncle Ed" bear) in place of Big Boy, allowing it to serve Shoney's non-Big Boy restaurants.[47][note 5]

Cancelled[edit]

In 1996, after 39 years and 466 issues,[56] Big Boy cancelled the comic book and hired Craig Yoe's Yoe! Studio to revamp the characters and produce a magazine styled replacement.[57][58]

The Big Boy hamburger[edit]

Anatomy of the Big Boy hamburgers, Wian's, Big Boy system and Frisch's.

The signature Big Boy hamburger is the original double deck hamburger.[59]

The novel hamburger started as a joke. In February 1937, members of an area big band, who were regular customers, visited Bob’s Pantry, one asking, "How about something different, something special?"[60] [emphasis added]. Bob Wian improvised, creating the first (then unnamed) Big Boy, intending the thing "look ridiculous, like a leaning tower".[60] Demand for "the special" soared but Wian sought a "snappy" name, which became Big Boy.[60][note 6] In 1938 the Big Boy hamburger cost 15¢.[62][63]

The Big Boy hamburger inspired and was the model for other double deck hamburgers. This includes McDonald's Big Mac, Burger Chef's Big Shef and Burger King's Big King.[64][65]

The Big Boy consists of two thin beef patties placed on a three layer bun with lettuce, a single slice of cheese, and either mayonnaise and red relish (a combination of sweet pickle relish, ketchup and chili sauce),[66] Big Boy special sauce (often called thousand island dressing) or (in some locations) tartar sauce on each slice of bun. (Regardless, the Big Boy condiment used was often simply referred to as "special sauce" on menus chainwide.) Wian used a sesame seed bun while Frisch's used a plain bun and included pickles. The Big Boy hamburger originally called for a quarter pound (4 ounces) of fresh ground beef, but later, franchisees were permitted to use frozen beef patties, and the minimum content reduced to a fifth of a pound to offset increasing food costs. Other specifications were exacting, such as the bun's bottom section being 1½ inches high and the center section ¾ inches, and 1½ ounces of shredded lettuce used.[67]

Originally, the Big Boy hamburger was the only common menu item required of all Big Boy franchisees.[67]

Other core menu items[edit]

Just as Bob Wian's Big Boy hamburger was served by all franchises, the early franchises also contributed signature menu items. Frisch's provided the "Brawny Lad" and "Swiss Miss" hamburgers, Shoney's contributed the "Slim Jim" sandwich and Hot Fudge Ice Cream Cake, while Strawberry Pie was introduced by Eat'n Park. Hot Fudge Cake and Strawberry Pie remain popular dessert items chainwide but other items were not necessarily offered by all franchises, and franchises would sometimes change the item's name: The "Slim Jim" became the "Buddie Boy" at Frisch's, and Elby's renamed the "Swiss Miss" as the "Brawny Swiss".[68][69] Similarly, when franchisees left Big Boy, they would typically rebrand the Big Boy hamburger: it became the "Superburger" (Eat'n Park),[70] the "Buddy Boy" (Lendy's),[71] the "Big Ben" (Franklin's),[72] the "Classic Double Decker" (Shoney's),[73] and the "Elby Double Deck hamburger" (Elby's).[74]

Big Boy offers breakfast, burgers and sandwiches, salads, dinner combinations, and various desserts.[68][75]

Philosophy and practices[edit]

Bob Wian developed rules and philosophies about how Big Boy should operate. Besides the (construction of the) Big Boy hamburger he attributed most of his success and that of his franchisees to following these rules.[60] His fundamental restaurant principles were: "serve the best quality food, at moderate prices, in spotless surroundings, with courtesy and hospitality."[76][67] Wian said he had five basic rules for building his business: " 'be a good place to work for, sell to, buy from, and invest in. And be a good neighbor in the community.' "[77] He also attributed growth to, "capable management and a conservative policy of not trying to seat more people than can be served or opening more restaurants than can be serviced."[77] If some disruption occurred at a restaurant, such as a new manager or renovation, Wian would postpone advertising until operations would return to his standards.[78]

Typical of Big Boy restaurants, Elby's Big Boy used a nine step process waiting on dining room customers:[79]

  1. Greet customers within one minute of being seated, serving water and taking beverage orders.
  2. Serve beverages and take meal orders.
  3. Call in meal orders to kitchen.
  4. Place setups (e.g., silverware) and condiments, serve salad items.
  5. Watch kitchen (number panel) for completed order and promptly serve meals to table.
    (The kitchen should complete orders within 8 minutes, 10 minutes for steaks.)
  6. Check back with customers within a few minutes: "Is everything OK?"
  7. Return and place check on table: "'I'll return shortly."
  8. Suggest dessert and take dessert orders.
  9. Serve desserts or deliver final check, remove empty dishes.

Bob Wian preferred employees with little or no restaurant experience which afforded training in the Big Boy tradition.[67] Other than wait staff, employees typically started as dishwashers and bus boys, and advanced to short order cooks, and then possibly to management.[67][76]

Regional franchises[edit]

Operation and history[edit]

In addition to the Big Boy name, the "Big Boy" concept, menu, and mascot were originally licensed to a wide number of regional franchise holders (listed in the next section). Because many of the early franchisees were already in the restaurant business when joining Big Boy, "Big Boy" was added to the franchisee name just as the Big Boy hamburger was added to the franchisee's menu. In this sense it is confusing when referring to a chain, as each named franchisee was itself a chain and Big Boy could be considered a chain of chains. People tend to know Big Boy not simply as Big Boy but as the franchise from where they lived such as Bob's Big Boy in California, Shoney's Big Boy in the south or Frisch's Big Boy in much of Ohio, among the many others.

Each regional franchisee typically operated a central commissary which prepared or processed foods and sauces to be shipped fresh to their restaurants.[80][81][82] Other items were prepared at the restaurants daily, such as soups and breading of seafood and onion rings.

Through the 1950s and 1960s the emphasis changed from drive-in restaurant to coffee shop and family restaurant. New franchisees without existing restaurants signed on. A larger standard menu was developed. Most adopted a common graphic design of menus and promotional items, offered by Big Boy but personalized to the franchise. Stock plans of restaurant designs were provided by Los Angeles architects Armet and Davis or Chicago architectural designer Robert O. Burton, and modified as needed.

In the 1960s, Big Boy and other drive-in restaurants could not compete with the spreading fast food restaurants such as McDonald's and Burger King. Big Boy built its last drive-in in 1964 and by 1976 only 5 of the chain's 930 restaurants offered curb service.[1][83] Big Boy redefined itself as full service in contrast to fast food. Nonetheless, in the late 1960s and 1970s Bob's, Shoney's and JB's also opened Big Boy Jr. stores, designed as fast food operations which offered a limited menu. Sometimes called drive-ins, these junior stores did not use carhops.[84] In 1993 Marc's Big Boy similarly developed Big Boy Express stores using dual drive-thrus and no interior dining area.[85] Two Express stores were built, offered for sale a year later and closed in 1995.[86][87]

Several franchises also joined and concurrently sold Kentucky Fried Chicken in their Big Boy restaurants; these included Marc's,[88] McDowell's,[89][90] Lendy's and one or more Shoney's subfranchises. The practice was discouraged and Big Boy eventually provided a similar scheme of selling buckets of take out chicken, marketed as Country Style[91] or Country Cousin Chicken.[92] Franchises who resisted the change were forced to remove Kentucky Fried Chicken menu items and physically relocate those operations.[90]

Big Boy's origins as a drive in restaurant, required a much smaller investment to open and much lower costs to operate: a small building having no dining room or limited counter space. Thus persons of modest assets could become Big Boy operators. It was the profits from these operations which allowed not only additional drive ins, but operators to build the modern restaurants with large pleasant dining rooms. Many of the early successful franchisees would probably not have assets (converted to present value) sufficient to join Big Boy today.

By 1979 there were more than a thousand Big Boy restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, and about 20 franchisees. Shoney's, Elias Brothers and Frisch's—charter franchisees—controlled the vast majority.[93] These mega franchisees paid practically no fees, e.g., Frisch paid $1 per year for its core four state territory. After Bob's, the four original franchisees (in order) were Frisch's, Eat'n Park, Shoney's (originally called "Parkette") and Elias Brothers, all clustered near the state of Ohio. All, including Bob's, remain in operation today, albeit Elias Brothers is simply known as Big Boy, and Eat'n Park and Shoney's dropped Big Boy affiliation in the 1970s and 1980s.

Big Boy developed named franchisees in several ways. Very quickly the Big Boy name and even the Big Boy character were being widely used without permission. Bob Wian, needing Big Boy restaurants operating in multiple states for national (U.S.) trademark protection, offered very generous franchise agreements to Frisch's, Eat'n Park and Parkette (Shoney's). In 1952, Wian instituted a formal franchise process and Elias Brothers became the first such "official" franchisee. Bob Wian also settled trademark infringements allowing the rogue operator to become a licensed franchisee, such as McDowell's Big Boy in North Dakota.[94] Franchisees were permitted to subfranchise; these early subfranchisees often used their own name and operated independently: Frisch's licensed Azar's, and Manners; Shoney's licensed Arnold's, Becker's, Elby's, Lendy's, Shap's, Tune's, and Yoda's.[95][96] Elby’s licensed Franklin's Big Boy in eastern Pennsylvania. Acquisitions and mergers also occurred. In the early 1970s Frisch's acquired Kip's Big Boy; JB's acquired Vip's, Kebo's, Leo's and Bud's which were rebranded JB's. After buying Big Boy, Elias Brothers bought Elby's and TJ's. Elby's was unique in leaving and rejoining the Big Boy system. When Marriott purchased Big Boy (Wian Enterprises) in 1967, this included Bob's Big Boy. The name “Bob’s” would be used by all Marriott owned Big Boys and became common in parts of the eastern U.S. and elsewhere, far away from Bob’s historic territory.

Frisch's now owns the "Big Boy" name in a defined four state region, and Azar's and Bob's are licensed by Frisch's Big Boy and Big Boy Restaurants International, respectively. Many of the other former franchise owners (Shoney's, particularly) have expanded into the former territories of other franchise holders.

After buying the Big Boy system from Marriott, Elias Brothers planned to phase out franchise names[97], only generally realized by Big Boy Restaurants International after 2000.[98] This was intended to strengthen the trademark but also prevent defections, such as happened with Shoney's Big Boy retaining identity as Shoney's.[99][100] The same occurred with Eat'n Park, Elby's, Lendy's, JB's, and Abdow's who kept their names after leaving Big Boy. Big Boy now permits operators to informally identify by location such as Tawas Bay Big Boy in East Tawas, Michigan.[101]

Unlike most modern franchises, the historic Big Boy franchisees differed somewhat from one another in pricing and menus. After purchasing Big Boy in 1987, Elias Brothers intended to standardize the name and menu, but Bob's, Frisch's and McDowell's (now known as Bismarck Big Boy) continue to offer distinctions from the standard Big Boy menu.[102]

Franchising costs today[edit]

Big Boy Restaurants International and Frisch's Big Boy Restaurants both continue to offer franchises in their exclusive territories, each having 20 year terms. As of 2014 Big Boy Restaurants International charges a $40,000 franchise fee, and an ongoing 4% royalty and up to 3% advertising fees based on weekly gross revenue.[103][104] (In most of Michigan the franchisee pays a 2% advertising fee and must spend an additional 1% on local advertising. Franchisees in the upper peninsula of Michigan or outside of Michigan pay a ½% advertising fee and must spend 1½% on local advertising.)[105] As of 2015 Frisch's Big Boy charges a $30,000 franchise fee,[106] and an ongoing 3¾% royalty and 2½% advertising fees on gross revenue.[107] The majority of Big Boy Restaurant International units are franchised[103] while the majority of Frisch's units are currently company owned.[108] Big Boy Restaurants International franchise agreements are not renewable but new agreements are required.[103]

Roster of named franchisees[edit]

Named Big Boy franchisees are listed below with territories, time span, founders and additional notes, as known:

  • Abdow's (Western and Central Massachusetts, Connecticut, 1959–1994, founded by George and Ron Abdow and their sister Phyllis Abdow-LaVallee)[109] Abdow's opened as a Hi-Boy franchisee in 1959 and changed the corporate name to Abdow's Big Boy in 1965.[110] Other reports say Abdow's was a Big Boy franchise beginning 1959. Abdow's left Big Boy in 1994 over menu conflicts with Elias Brothers, removing 18 restaurants from the national chain.[111] Now defunct, many converted to Elxsi Corporations's Bickfords Family Restaurants or remain vacant.

  • Arnold's (Folsom, PA, 1955-?, founders unknown) Arnold's and Tune's operated in the Philadelphia area.[112]

  • Azar's (Northern Indiana, Colorado, 1953+,[113][114] founded by brothers Alex, David and George Azar) Opened in Ft. Wayne, Indiana as a Frisch's subfranchise and in 1967 expanded to the Denver, Colorado market. Operated 26 units in 1984.[114] One Azar's Big Boy remains in operation in Ft. Wayne. Alex Azar's son, George Azar, is now CEO.[115] Alex Azar became an original member of the Big Boy Board of Directors.

  • Becker's (Buffalo and Rochester, NY area before TJ's, 1956–19??, founded by Abe Becker) Shoney's opened a restaurant in Rochester in the mid 1950s which may have become Becker's Big Boy.[95] Trying to expand too quickly created a financial crisis and the end of the franchise.[116]
Historic Big Boy franchisee logos
Logos of historic Big Boy franchisees.
Franchisees were once required to use their own name with the Big Boy name and character. Some changed logos periodically and these show designs used while a Big Boy affiliate, most dating from the mid 1950s to the mid 1960s. Eat'n Park, Shoney's and JB's are no longer affiliated with Big Boy. Logos for Arnold's, Bud's and Chez Chap were not available to the artist.

  • Bob's (California, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey; and Indiana, Ohio, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania toll roads and airport locations operated in several states by the Marriott Corp. or others, 1936+, founded by Robert C. "Bob" Wian) The original Big Boy chain, which in Wian's time was confined to Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Because Marriott developed and acquired Big Boy restaurants elsewhere, principally the northeastern U.S., "Bob's" developed a more diverse territory and identity, however, currently "Bob's" operates only in Southern California. Bob's units are the only operators under the domain of Big Boy Restaurants International now permitted to use a franchise name for public identity. Wian was the original chairman of the Big Boy Board of Directors.

  • Bud's (Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, 1966–197?) Operated two units. Acquired by JBs in the 1970s.[117]

  • Chez Chap (Westmount, a suburb of Montreal, Quebec, 1978–?, founded by Chapman Baehler) Baehler was Bob Wian's stepson.[118]

  • Eat'n Park (metro Pittsburgh, 1949–1975, founded by Larry Hatch and William Peters) Hatch and Peters were supervisors at Isaly's in Pittsburgh.[119] On Isaly's business in Cincinnati, Hatch saw the success of the Frisch's Big Boy Drive-In prompting contact with founder Bob Wian, who needed national exposure to gain national trademark protection.[120] Within a year Eat'n Park opened as the second Big Boy franchisee. When the 25 year franchise agreement expired Eat'n Park dropped Big Boy, attributed to the loss of drive-in popularity but primarily motivated by the end of the $1 per year license fee the franchise had enjoyed.[121]

  • Elby's (Northern West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Eastern Ohio, Maryland, 1956–1984, 1988–2000, founded by George, Ellis and Michael Boury) Named after a brand of flavoring syrup sold by the Bourys' restaurant supply business.[82] Originally acquired the Big Boy rights to northern West Virginia through Shoney's.[95][96][122] In 1960 Elby's expanded into Ohio, licensed through Frisch's. Six years later, Bob Wian awarded Elby's franchisor rights to Pennsylvania (excluding the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas). When Frisch's refused existing terms on a fourth Ohio unit in 1971,[123] Elby's withdrew from Big Boy affiliation in Ohio, leading to a long running trademark battle by Frisch's.[124] In August 1984 Elby's dropped Big Boy entirely four months after Shoney's—franchisor for Elby's West Virginia stores—broke affiliation.[114][122] Opened units in Maryland after leaving Big Boy. The Elby's name and most company restaurants were sold to Elias Brothers in 1988 becoming Big Boys again. (George and Michael Boury retained nine Ohio units that could not become Big Boys because of nearby Frisch's operations; they were rebanded as Shoney's restaurants until placed for sale in 1993.[125]) Although officially stripped of the Elby's name, identity was so strong that the Elby's name continued in print advertisements.[99][126] The last remaining Elby's closed in 2000 in response to the Elias Brothers financial crisis.

  • Elias Brothers (Michigan, Northeastern Ohio, Ontario, Canada, 1952–2000, founded by Fred, John and Louis Elias) In 1938 the brothers opened Fred's Chili Bowl in Detroit and later the Dixie Drive-In in Hazel Park, which would become the first Elias Brothers Big Boy. Considered the "first official franchisee" because they were the first to formally apply to Bob Wian.[127] Worked with Wian, Schoenbaum and Manfred Bernhard to create the iconic 1956 Big Boy character design and launch the comic book. Owned the Big Boy system from 1987 through 2000 when the bankrupt company was sold to Robert Liggett. Many Michigan units continue operations stripped of the Elias Brothers name and these are the vast majority (90%) of Big Boy Restaurants International's American Big Boy stores. Fred Elias became an original member of the Big Boy Board of Directors.

  • Franklin's (Eastern Pennsylvania, 1966–1984, founded by Marvin and Joseph Franklin) Subfranchised by and originally operated as Elby's.[128] After dropping Big Boy affiliation, Franklin's adopted a Benjamin Franklin theme renaming the signature hamburger "Big Boy" as "Big Ben".[72] Sold the 12 unit chain to Hershey's Foods and Friendly's Restaurants in 1985.[129]

  • Frejlach's (Illinois, 1954–196?, founded by Irvin Frejlach) Added Big Boy to their established chain of ice cream shops.[22] Unlike other franchisees, the stores did not directly use the Big Boy name; they remained Frejlach's Ice Cream Shoppes not Frejlach's Big Boy.[130] The company also owned rights to McDonald's restaurants in Cook County (Chicago), Illinois which were sold back to Ray Kroc in 1956. Irvin's brother Lucian "Lou" Frejlach became an original member of the Big Boy Board of Directors.

  • Frisch's (Ohio, Kentucky, S. Indiana, Tennessee; Florida until the early 1990s, 1947+, founded by David Frisch) The Cincinnati restaurant chain and first franchisee, began serving Big Boy hamburgers in 1946, but opened their first Big Boy Drive-In restaurant in 1948; Frisch's now operates 96 Big Boys and franchises 25 Big Boys to others. Frisch's subfranchised to Azar's and Manners, which used the Frisch's styled Big Boy, to Milton and David Bennett in 1955, who operate as Frisch's in northwest Ohio and also licensed Elby's to operate three Big Boy units in the upper Ohio Valley until 1971. In 2001 Frisch's became the perpetual owner of the Big Boy trademark in most of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Tennessee, and received $1.2 million to relinquish all other Big Boy territories to Big Boy Restaurants International, to whom Frisch's is no longer a franchisee or licensee.[131] On August 24, 2015, Frisch's was sold to an Atlanta-based private equity fund, ending family ownership and control of the chain.[15][122][132]

  • JB's (Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Washington, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Nebraska, Kansas, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut; 1961–1988, founded by Jack M. Broberg.) The first JB's Big Boy opened in 1961 in Provo, Utah. In the 1970s JB's expanded by acquiring neighboring Big Boy franchisees: Vip's, Leo's, Kebo's and Bud's. After Marriott refused granting additional territory, in 1984, JB's sued to leave Big Boy. The parties settled, JB's paying $7 million in exchange for additional territory, including central and northern California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona where it operated as Bob's Big Boy; JB's also purchased 29 existing Bob's Big Boy restaurants from Marriott.[133][134] Citing a lack of benefit except use of the Big Boy symbol for its over $1 million annual franchise fees, in 1988 JB's allowed its Big Boy franchise to expire, removing 110 units from the Big Boy system.[135] As of December 2016, fifteen JB's Restaurants operate in five states.[136]

  • JB's (Canada - Ontario, Alberta and Quebec, 1969–1979, founded by John Bitove, Sr.) Bitove, a well known Canadian businessman, was the franchisee for Canada generally, along with Roy Rogers Restaurants, both Marriott owned brands. JB's of Canada grew to 32 Big Boy restaurants before selling to Elias Brothers.[137]

  • Kebo's (Seattle and Tacoma, Washington area before JB's dba Bob's, ?–1974, founded by W. Keith Grant.) "Kebo" came from the owners, Keith, Ed and Bob. Two units were sold to JB's in 1974.

  • Ken's (Maryland, Washington DC[138], 1963–?, founded by Bill Bemis) named in honor of Bill Bemis' father Ken Bemis, who founded the White Log Coffee Shop chain.[139][140] Three Maryland Ken's Big Boys operated in 1969.[138] "Ken's" became "Bob's" in the early 1970s.

  • Kip's (Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, 1958–1991, founded Fred Bell, Thomas W. Holman and James Reed) Bell owned and operated Kip's of Texas, while Holman and Reed owned and operated Kip's of Oklahoma and Kansas.[141] Acquired by Frisch's in 1972. Kip's territory was transferred to Big Boy Restaurants International in 2001. Bell became an original member of the Big Boy Board of Directors.

  • Lendy's (Western Virginia, 1955–1964, founded by Leonard Goldstein) Owned by Goldstein but operated as Shoney's 1955-1959.[96] Territory proximity to Yoda's angered Goldstein and concurrent franchise with Kentucky Fried Chicken antagonized franchisor Alex Schoenbaum, prompting Lendy's to leave Big Boy.[142][143] Renamed the "Big Boy" hamburger as the "Buddy Boy" and created a Buddy Boy mascot similar to Frisch's Big Boy character.

  • Leo's (Spokane, Washington, Montana, 1966–1971, founded by Leo A. Hansen, Jr.[144]) The first Leo's Big Boy opened in Great Falls, Montana in 1966. Grew to four units before being acquired by and renamed JB's in 1971.

  • Manners (Northeastern Ohio (Cleveland TV market), 1954–1979, founded by Robert L. and Ramona Manners) Franchisee through Frisch's, used the Frisch styled mascot design. Like Frisch's, Manners was already established having opened Manners Drive-In in 1939, 15 years before becoming a Big Boy franchisee.[145] Paid Frisch's $10 per month for each location. In 1968 Manners Big Boy was sold to Consolidated Foods (now known as Sara Lee Corporation). Marriott purchased the 39 units in 1974 and five years later dropped the name "Manners".[146] Marriott sold 26 remaining restaurants to Elias Brothers in 1985.[147]

  • Marc's (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, 1958–1995, founded by Ben Marcus and Gene Kilberg[60]) Owned by the Marcus Corporation, Marc's Big Boy debuted in Milwaukee in November 1958.[148] The chain grew to 4 units by 1962, 22 units by 1970[149] and eventually operated as many as 64 Big Boys over a 4 state territory.[150][85] A two-year experiment completely removing Big Boy at two of its stores ended in 1991 demonstrated no effect on business. In 1992, the Marc's format was upscaled and renamed Marc's Big Boy Cafes;[150] in 1993 13 Big Boy Cafes were converted to Marc's Cafe and Coffee Mills, and the company launched 2 Big Boy Express drive-thru stores.[85][note 7] The following year, the 13 Cafe and Coffee Mill restaurants were sold to a group of employees, with 3 remaining Big Boys and 2 Big Boy Express units offered for sale.[86] In 1995, the company closed its last Big Boy operation.[87] Some former units later operated as Annie's American Cafe and as Perkins Restaurants. However, in 2017 the Marcus Corporation sells Big Boy hamburgers at the Kil@wat restaurant in its downtown Milwaukee hotel;[150][151] in March 2017, the sandwich is priced at $12 on the lunch menu[152] and $10 on the dinner menu where it is listed as an appetizer and served quartered.[153]

  • McDowell's (North Dakota, 1954–1960 independently as "Big Boy Drive-Inn", 1960+ as franchise, founded by Harley McDowell) A trademark infringement suit against McDowell was filed by Wian in 1959 ultimately resulting in a franchise agreement.[94] Operates exclusively as a drive through. McDowell's name was dropped and the remaining store is now called the Bismarck Big Boy. Along with Big Boy hamburgers, the single restaurant sells flying pizza-burgers and french fries by the pound with chicken gravy.

  • Mr. B's (New Hampshire, 1963–1969,[154] founded by Manfred Bernhard)[155][156]

  • Shap's (Chattanooga, Tennessee, 1959–1964?, founded by I. Shapiro, Pem Cooley, and E. D. Latimer) Franchised by Shoney's. Shap's was abbreviated for Shapiro's. Operated two small units in Chattanooga. Latimer bought out the other partners and changed the name to its franchisor's, Shoney's.[157]

  • Shoney's/Parkette (Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Philadelphia, PA, 1952–1984, founded by Alex Schoenbaum), Originally called the Parkette, in 1952 it became Parkette Big Boy Shoppes. An unrelated "Parkette Drive-In" had opened in Kentucky[158] so in 1954, a public contest for a new name resulted in Parkette becoming Shoney's, which was also a reference to founder Alex "Shoney" Schoenbaum. Shoney's was a charter Big Boy franchisee and by 1984 became the largest franchisee operating 392 Shoney's Big Boy units.[159] Shoney's also subfranchised to Arnold's, Becker's, Elby's,[122] Lendy's, Shap's, Tune's, and Yoda's.[95][96] Shoney's paid $13 million to break its contract with Big Boy in April 1984, allowing expansion into neighboring states where other franchisees had exclusive rights to the trademark.[114][160] Schoenbaum became an original member of the Big Boy Board of Directors.

  • Ted's (Rhode Island, Eastern Massachusetts) Massachusetts was divided between Ted's Big Boy in the east and Abdow's Big Boy in the west, corresponding to the division of Rhode Island and Connecticut between the two franchises.

  • TJ's (Rochester and Syracuse, NY, founded by Anthony T. Kolinski, John Gazda and John Giamartino, 1972–?)[161] The five stores were purchased by Big Boy (Elias Brothers). The two Rochester stores were closed in 1992, and one Syracuse store was sold to a local investor.

  • Tote's (St. Louis area before Shoney's, c 1960s, founded by Edward R. Todtenbier)[164]

  • Tune's (Philadelphia and Levittow rn, PA, 195?–1963, founders unknown) In the mid to late 1950s Alex Schoenbaum seeded various franchises including Tune's.[95][165] Two drive-in restaurants opened.[166] By the early 1960s, the Levittown unit closed[167] and the other was rebranded as Shoney's.

  • Vip's (New Mexico, Texas,[168] Wyoming,[169] 1962–1982. founded by Daniel T. Hogan and James O'Conner[170]) Vip's refers to two distinct restaurant chains. The Big Boy franchisee relevant here, Vip's Big Boy of New Mexico, was acquired by JB's Big Boy in 1972 but continued using the Vip's name until rebranded in 1982.[171][172] The other, Vip's Restaurants of Salem, Oregon, was not a Big Boy franchisee but sold units to JB's Big Boy, which operated them as Bob's Big Boy.[133] The non-Big Boy, Salem-based chain had 53 locations at its peak, all sold and rebranded, including 35 to Denny's in 1982 and 16 to JB's in 1984.[173]

  • Yoda's (Western Virginia, founded by Jack Young and Bill Schroeder) Young was Leonard Goldstein's (Lendy's) brother-in-law. Merged with Lendy's.[143][96]

Outside of the United States[edit]

A Big Boy Restaurant in Chōfu, Tokyo, Japan.

Mady's Big Boy of Windsor, Ontario was not a franchisee, though sometimes identified as one and using a similar looking mascot.[174] In 1965 Bob Wian sued Mady's for trademark infringement but failed because (his) Big Boy was judged not widely known in Canada. The case is considered important in Canadian and international trademark law.[175] In 1973 Elias Brothers bought Mady's and established an Elias Big Boy on Mady's original site.[176] John Bitove, Sr. owned the rights to Big Boy for the remainder of Canada, which he sold to Elias Brothers in 1979.[137]

Outside of North America, Big Boy Japan owns and operates 279 Big Boy Hamburger Steak & Grill Restaurants in Japan. Founded in 1977, Big Boy Japan now also operates 45 Victoria Station restaurants in Japan and is a subsidiary of Zénsho Holdings Co., Ltd.[2][9][177] The Japanese Big Boy Restaurants do not offer the Big Boy hamburger or most other American Big Boy menu items, offering a distinct menu instead.[178] They also offer beer and wine.[178] Zensho had purchased Big Boy Japan from the ailing Daiei in 2002 for 8.65 billion yen.[179][180]

Big Boy also operated (or planned to open) restaurants in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Brazil, the Philippines and Thailand.[181]

Big Boy Restaurants International[edit]

The Michigan-based owner of the Big Boy chain, which chiefly franchises previous Elias Brothers Big Boy restaurants in Michigan, has suffered a gradual loss of franchised restaurants. About 175 Big Boys existed in July 2006[182] compared to 79 in September 2017.

On April 16, 2017 the last Big Boy restaurant in the city of Detroit closed.[183] The Big Boy in Fenton, Michigan is expected to close in 2017.[184] Both properties have been sold to developers. Likewise in 2016 the Jackson, Michigan Big Boy closed after the site was purchased by a developer.[7]

Other franchisees are simply leaving the Big Boy chain. In April 2017, the Danville Big Boy, the only unit in Illinois, dropped Big Boy and will operate as the Border Cafe.[8] In 2016 both the Ann Arbor, Michigan restaurant (on North Zeeb Road)[185] and the restaurant in Houghton Lake, Michigan continued to operate but not as Big Boy restaurants.[7] The Tecumseh, Michigan restaurant announced that it will allow its franchise agreement to expire on November 1, 2017, but will continue to operate independently.[186] Company-owned restaurants have also closed for under-performance.[6][187]

Big Boy Restaurants International is trying a new fast casual concept known as Big Boy's Burgers and Shakes in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.[188][184]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Big Boy" wasn't written on the chest of the East Coast mascot. It was sometimes written on the side cap, but frequently it was written on the sleeve and the franchise name written on the side cap.
  2. ^ Mike Sekowsky may have also drawn in the first year.[47]
  3. ^ Lettering in early issues was credited to Artie Simek; coloring and possibly some drawing was by Stan Goldberg.[49]
  4. ^ Lorina Mapa drew Adventures of the Big Boy, she said for five years;[54] Jerry Buckley also drew several issues at the end of the run.[47]
  5. ^ Comic book artist Sheldon Moldoff drew Adventures of the Shoney's Big Boy from 1980 past the conversion to the Shoney's Fun and Adventure Magazine.[47]
  6. ^ Some reports say the Big Boy was first called the Fat Boy hamburger until discovering Fat Boy was a protected trademark.[27][61]
  7. ^ Marc's Big Boy Express units were modeled on Rally's Hamburger stores which operated in the Midwest.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Slavin, Barbara (August 9, 1978). "Drive-ins and carhops are things of the past". The Day. New London, CT. New York Times News Service. p. 5. Retrieved April 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "About Us". Big Boy Japan. Retrieved July 25, 2015. (in April 2015) ... Big Boy 279 stores [translated by Google] 
  3. ^ "[1]." Big Boy. Retrieved on November 23, 2012. "4199 Marcy St. Warren, MI 48091"
  4. ^ Hansen, Christian (2002). The Big Boy Story: "King of Them All". Santa Barbara: Haagen Printing. p. 11. ISBN 978-0967194363. 
  5. ^ "Locations: Big Boy". bigboy.com. Retrieved September 19, 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Hotts, Mitch (September 1, 2017). "Big Boy in Mount Clemens closes after 40 years". The Macomb Daily. Township, MI: Digital First Media. Retrieved September 9, 2017. [T]he eatery closed after the last shift on Sunday night [August 27, 2017]. 
  7. ^ a b c
    • DesOrmeau, Taylor (September 26, 2016). "Big Boy in Jackson closes its doors". Jackson Citizen Patriot. Retrieved October 19, 2016. [The Jackson, Michigan] Big Boy officially closed Monday, Sept. 26, [2016]. ... The restaurant opened as a Big Boy between 1960 and 1961, the source said. 
    • Reznich, Thomas (October 6, 2016). "Goodbye Big Boy". Houghton Lake Resorter. Retrieved October 18, 2016. The Big Boy that graced the top of the Big Boy restaurant sign on M-55 at Houghton Lake was lowered to the ground Oct. 3.... Libby Whittington, daughter of restaurant building owner Barb Whittington, ... said the restaurant will continue to operate, but will now be known as Mikey’s. 
  8. ^ a b Bailey, Jennifer (April 13, 2017). "Big Boy Restaurant gets new name". Danville Commercial News. Retrieved May 7, 2017. [T]he restaurant no longer has a contract with Big Boy and the owners are opening their own restaurant at 369 Lynch Rd.
         The name of the restaurant will now be Border Cafe.
     
  9. ^ a b "Zensho Group: Big Boy, Hamburger Steak & Grill Restaurant". Zénsho Holdings Company. Retrieved December 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Transfer Agreement between The Liggett Restaurant Group and Frisch's Restaurants, Inc.", January 12, 2001.
  11. ^ "Agreement Regarding Use of Trademarks", November 7, 2007.
  12. ^ Biank-Fasig, Lisa (January 10, 2001). "Ohio turf gets larger for Frisch's". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved September 5, 2016. Craig Maier, chief executive of Frisch's, said the bankruptcy nearly cost the Cincinnati company its right to franchise Big Boys.
         "In a bankruptcy proceeding, franchise contracts are considered to be no different than a contract to owe money," Mr. Maier said. "They could have said, 'You are no longer franchisee of the Big Boy system.' " 
     
  13. ^ "Big Boy Restaurant & Bakery/Frisch's Big Boy". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved June 15, 2015. The Big Boy system has restaurants operated by and franchised to others by Big Boy Restaurants International LLC and Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. ... Headquarters: Big Boy Restaurants International LLC – Warren, Mich./Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. – Cincinnati, Ohio ... CEO: Big Boy International – Keith Sirois/Frisch’s – Craig F. Maier 
  14. ^ "Order of United States Patent and Trademark Office, Concurrent Use Proceeding Number 94002189", Big Boy Restaurants International, LLC and Frisch's Restaurants, Inc. August 18, 2009.
  15. ^ a b "Frisch's Restaurants Announces Transaction with Affiliate of NRD Partners I, L.P. at $34 Per Share" (Press release). Cincinnati: Frisch's Restaurants. PR Newswire. May 22, 2015. Retrieved May 28, 2015. Agreement Contemplates Continued Operation of all 95 Company Owned Frisch's Restaurants along with 26 Franchised Locations 
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  17. ^ Hansen, Christian (2002). The Big Boy Story: "King of Them All". Santa Barbara: Haagen Printing. p. 12. ISBN 978-0967194363. 
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  19. ^ "Now your enjoy the famous Parkette Foods in downtown Charleston [advertisement]". Charleston Daily Mail. March 13, 1953. p. 20. Retrieved September 16, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
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  21. ^
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  27. ^ a b Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A. (January 1, 2002). Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age. JHU Press. p. 77. ISBN 9780801869204. 
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  34. ^ Pohlen, Jerome (2014). Oddball Michigan: A Guide to 450 Really Strange Places. Chicago Review Press. p. 95. ISBN 9781613748930. 
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  36. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. November 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2017. 
  37. ^ Francaviglia, Richard V. (1996-06-01). Main Street Revisited: Time, Space, and Image Building in Small-Town America. University of Iowa Press. p. 126. ISBN 9781587290718. 
  38. ^ a b Weingartner-Monroe, Nancy (April 2017). "Frisch's Big Boy Loses His Checkered Pants". FranchiseTimes.com. Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
  39. ^ Vilvens, Sheila (March 31, 2017). "Frisch's serves up new Big Boy statue". Cincinnati.com. Archived from the original on May 2, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2017. 
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  93. ^ a b "'Big Boy' Trademark Suit Opens, Glendale Firm Asks Verdict". The Independent Star News. Pasadena. July 26, 1959. p. 11 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  94. ^ a b c d e Schaffer, Frank (April 17, 1962). "Charleston Drive-In Zooms To Huge 10-State Business". Charleston Daily Mail. pp. 12, 17. Retrieved February 26, 2013 – via newspaperarchive.com. Then came the expansion outside West Virginia with franchised stores. Before 1956, Shoney's restaurants were operating in Richmond, Salem, Hampton, Norfolk and Newport News, Va., Rochester, N. Y., Philadelphia, Chattanooga, Charlotte and Wheeling [WV].  In this list, the Rochester franchise is Becker's, the Wheeling franchise is Elby's, the Philadelphia franchises are Tune's and Arnold's, and the Chattanooga franchise is Shap's. Not listed are Lendy's and Yoda's based in Roanoke, Virginia.Free to read
  95. ^ a b c d e Shoney's Home of the Nationally Famous Big Boy [Menu]. 1959. back cover. Archived from the original on May 28, 2017. In West Virginia... Elby's of Wheeling - 2 locations, Elby's of Moundsville... In Virginia... Lendy's of Roanoke, Lendy's of Lynchburg, Yoda's of Roanoke  Note: This is a photograph of a c. 1959 Shoney's menu cover posted on Ebay, which lists then current Shoney's Big Boy restaurants including self-named subfranchises in Shoney's territory.
  96. ^ "Elby's rejoins Big Boy franchise system". The Doylestown Intelligencer. August 19, 1988. p. B-9. Retrieved September 6, 2017 – via newspaper archive. [T]he entire chain is being united under the Big Boy name, which means our Elby's name, as well as all other franchise names, will eventually be phased out...The chain is also moving toward a consistent core menu. This means that all Big Boys across the country will offer the same basic items, along with certain regional favorites. Free to read
  97. ^ "Sign of the times"Paid subscription required. The Grand Blanc News. September 19, 2004. p. GB-4. Retrieved September 9, 2017 – via Newsbank. The Elias Brothers sign at the corner of Grand Blanc Road and Saginaw Street in Grand Blanc comes down after more than 30 years. [T]he national Big Boy chain ... no longer wants to be referred to as Elias Brothers, and it wants all of its signs to have the same look. 
  98. ^ a b "Elby's rejoins Big Boy chain". Observer Reporter. Washington, PA: Observer Publishing Company. August 3, 1988. p. C-6. Retrieved February 14, 2013 – via Google news. 
  99. ^ Frisch's Restaurant, Inc. v. Shoney's Inc., 759 F.2d 1261, 1265-6 (6th Cir. 1985) (“In the case at bar, the district court concluded that the "Big Boy" mark was neither an indicator of origin nor distinctive, but was "a relatively weak mark". ... By emphasizing "Shoney's Big Boy Restaurants", as it did in its advertising, Shoney's has identified itself as the source of the services.”).
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  101. ^
    • "Bismarck Big Boy Restaurant". BisManCafe. Retrieved March 22, 2016.  continue to offer distinctions from the standard Big Boy menu.
    • "Around the Mountain State". Point Pleasant Register. August 4, 1988. p. 14. Retrieved June 27, 2013. [A]ll restaurants in the chain will operate under the Big Boy name with standardized menus across the nation. Individual franchise names will be phased out gradually. 
    • "Menu". Bob's Big Boy. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
    • "Menu". Frisch's Big Boy. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
    • "Big Boy Restaurant menu: Bismarck, ND". All Menus. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
    • "Food". Big Boy. Retrieved March 22, 2016. 
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  104. ^ "Big Boy Franchise Management Franchise Agreement" (PDF). Franchise-Info,ca. 2012. pp. 8–9. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  105. ^ "Frisch's Big Boy Franchise". www.franchisegrade.com. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  106. ^ "Frisch's Big Boy Analyst Notes & Comparative Analysis". www.franchisegrade.com. Retrieved March 28, 2017. 
  107. ^ "Frisch’s At-A-Glance" (PDF). frischs.com. Retrieved March 27, 2017. 
  108. ^ "George Abdow, co-founder of Springfield-area Abdow's Big Boy restaurant chain, dies at 82". The Republican. Springfield, MA. May 29, 2013. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  109. ^ Massachusetts Secretary of State Corporate Search: Abdow's Big Boy of Riverdale, Inc. 
  110. ^ "Big Boy Bounced from New England". Kingman Daily Miner. Kingman, AZ. April 15, 1994. p. 1. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  111. ^
  112. ^ "Formal Opening". Valparaiso Vidette Messenger. Valparaiso, Indiana. August 13, 1970. p. 20. Retrieved April 29, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Azar's was started in Fort Wayne in 1953... Free to read
  113. ^ a b c d Leininger, Keith (December 6, 1984). "Cherubic Big Boy Caught in a Pickle". News-Sentinal. Fort Wayne. Retrieved October 22, 2017 – via NewsBank. (Subscription required (help)). 
  114. ^ Wyche, Paul (December 1, 2013). "Azars shifting family business from food to property". The Journal Gazette. Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Newspapers. Archived from the original on April 18, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  115. ^ Baker, Jim (March 18, 2010). "Out of the Past: Johnson's Drive-In, Route 5 in Athol Springs, 1957" (PDF). The Sun. Hamburg (NY). p. 12. Retrieved April 12, 2013. The Johnson family continued to run the business until 1959 ... When the Johnson's left the business, they sold out to the Becker family of Rochester who owned the "Big Boy" franchise restaurants. They had successful restaurants in Buffalo, but for whatever reason, they never re-opened the former drive-in at the circle. It is believed that they tried to expand too fast and fell on hard financial times. 
  116. ^ Rickner, Amanda (March 15, 2012). "JB’s Restaurant being demolished, property listed for $1.2 million". Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Bozeman MT: Pioneer News Group. Retrieved October 8, 2013. The restaurant was constructed in the early 1970s, according to city building records. For a time, it was a Bud’s Big Boy restaurant before becoming JB’s. 
  117. ^ Rochester, Helen (August 9, 1978). "Lunch in Westmount: Modified Big Boy is no treat". The [Montreal] Gazette. Southam Press. Retrieved April 14, 2014. 
  118. ^ "Peters, co-founder of Eat'n Park, dead at 87", Nation's Restaurant News, August 28, 2000.
  119. ^ "Obituary: William D. Peters / President of Eat'n Park restaurants". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 20, 2000. Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  120. ^ Kapner, Suzanne, "After 46 years, Eat'n Park still revs sales, appetites", Nation's Restaurant News, Sept 18, 1995.
  121. ^ a b c d Frisch's Restaurant, Inc. v. Elby's Big Boy, 661 F.Supp. 971 (S.D. Ohio, E.D. 1987).
  122. ^ "Advertisement: Grand opening our 16th special". Cambridge Daily Jeffersonian. January 11, 1971. p. 9. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  123. ^ "Narcotics Evidence Is Found Illegal". Cumberland Evening Times. August 1, 1973. p. 27. Retrieved September 7, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  124. ^
    • Amatos, Christopher A. (April 2, 1989). "Elby's franchise switch makes it Shoney's today"Paid subscription required. Columbus Dispatch. p. 7D – via Newsbank. Shoney's, ironically, ... has never been in Columbus because of restrictions imposed by the Big Boy system, of which Shoney's was once a member. West Virginia-based Elby's also was once a Big Boy franchise. 
    • "Franchisee's 9 Shoney's Restaurants in area up for sale"Paid subscription required. Columbus Dispatch. March 25, 1993. p. 1G. Retrieved September 8, 2017 – via Newsbank. The nine units consist of seven in Columbus and one each in Newark and Heath. 
    • Amatos, Christopher A. (August 5, 1993). "Owner closes five area JT's Restaurants"Paid subscription required. Columbus Dispatch. p. 1B. Retrieved September 8, 2017 – via Newsbank. In May [Boury Enterprises] dropped the Shoney's franchise and converted six of the nine units to JT's Family Restaurants. It sold three closed restaurants to Shoney's.... Shoney's said that it plans to reopen in November, December and January the three stores it purchased. 
  125. ^ "Elby's Big Boy Strawberry Festival (Advertisement)". Observer Reporter. Washington, PA: Observer Publishing Company. April 26, 1994. p. B-2. Retrieved February 14, 2013 – via Google news. 
  126. ^ Hansen, Christian (2002). The Big Boy Story: "King of Them All". Santa Barbara: Haagen Printing. p. 111. ISBN 978-0967194363. 
  127. ^
    • "Elby's Opens in Scranton". The Weirton Daily Times. Thompson - Brush - Moore Newspapers. December 23, 1969. p. 5. Retrieved November 10, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
    • "Opens 16th Elby's". The Gettysburg Times. September 7, 1970. p. 3. Retrieved November 10, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
    • Dino, Jim (August 28, 2015). "Former Friendly’s sold to investors". Standard Speaker. Hazelton, PA: Times-Shamrock Communications. Retrieved November 10, 2016. In the late 1970s, Marvin Franklin changed 13 Elby’s restaurants he owned in Pennsylvania and elsewhere on the East Coast into Franklin’s Family Restaurants, with a menu similar to its predecessor. 
  128. ^ "Firms agree on sale of 70 Elby's locations". The Altoona Mirror. Mirror and United Press International. April 5, 1986. p. D3. Retrieved November 10, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  129. ^ 1956 Oak Park Telephone Directory. 1956. p. 133. 
  130. ^ Kosdrosky, Terry (February 2001). "New Owner of Big Boy Gobbles Up Franchise Rights". Crain's Detroit Business. 17 (7). p. 32. 
  131. ^ "Frisch’s Big Boy Celebrates Founder’s Day May 3". [Official] Frisch's Big Boy of Northwest Ohio. Retrieved July 29, 2013. Toledo brothers Milton & David Bennett purchased the franchise rights to build and operate Frisch’s Big Boy restaurants in Northwest Ohio. Bennett Enterprises owns and operates 13 family-style restaurants with drive-thru service under the name Frisch’s Big Boy. 
  132. ^ a b Big Boy Restaurants 1986 50th Anniversary Western-Central US Road Map (Map) (1986 ed.). Big Boy Restaurants. back cover. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  133. ^ FundingUniverse. "History of Summit Family Restaurants Inc.". www.fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved December 8, 2016. 
  134. ^ Bradsher, Keith (March 18, 1988). "Chubby 'Big Boy' May Disappear as Restaurant Changes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 22, 2017. 
  135. ^ "Locations". JB's Restaurants. Retrieved December 8, 2016.  Using Salt Lake City zip code 84101, and a 500 mile radius.
  136. ^ a b "Executive Summary: John Bitove, Sr.". Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  137. ^ a b "Ken's" (jpg). Adventures of the Big Boy (comic book). No. 151 (Ken's ed.). WEBS Advertising Corp. January 1969. back cover. Archived from the original on October 2, 2017. Retrieved October 2, 2017.  (front cover; archive)
  138. ^ "White Log Coffee Shop, Los Angeles, CA". Pacific Coast Architecture Database. Retrieved March 22, 2016. Designed for the chain of coffee shops started by Kenneth Bemis 
  139. ^ Winter, Robert; Gebhard, David (2009). An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles. Gibbs Smith. p. 249. ISBN 9781423608936. 
  140. ^ "EZ’s Coffee Shop (formerly Kip's Big Boy) at Northwest Highway & Hillcrest, North Dallas To Be Demolished?". Preservation Dallas. Archived from the original on December 12, 2010. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  141. ^ "Lendy's Web Page, part 4". Archived from the original on August 5, 2011. 
  142. ^ a b "Lendy's Web Page, part 2". Archived from the original on August 5, 2011. 
  143. ^ "Owner Realizes Early Ambitions". Spokane Daily Chronicle. May 1, 1970. p. 23. Retrieved June 14, 2013. 
  144. ^ Higgins, Bette Lou (August 9, 2009). "Restaurants". The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved September 9, 2016. The first California-style drive-in in the Cleveland area, Manners Drive In, opened in 1939 (17655 Lake Shore Blvd.). It operated 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and was opened by Robert L. and Mona Manners. Manners introduced the double-decker hamburger in 1954. By 1964 there were 30 Manners Big Boy Restaurants in northeast Ohio ... In 1968 Manners merged with Consolidated Food Corp. of Chicago. In 1974 Marriott purchased 39 Manners Drive Ins from Consolidated Foods.... In 1995 the Big Boy Corp. was operating under the Elias Big Boy name. 
  145. ^ Feran, Tom (September 2, 2005). "Manners Big Boy's secret is on the tip of my tongue". The Plain Dealer. Cleveland: Newhouse Newspapers. Archived from the original on April 21, 2011. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  146. ^ Byard, Katie (February 16, 1985). "Michigan Firm To Purchase 26 Ohio Big Boys"Paid subscription required. Business. Akron Beacon Journal. p. B-7. Retrieved September 23, 2017 – via NewsBank. Elias Brothers Restaurants Inc.... has agreed to purchase the 26 Bob's Big Boy outlets in Northeast Ohio from owner and Big Boy franchiser Mariott Corp.... Mariott purchased the Northeast Ohio Big Boy outlets, then under the name of Manners Big Boy Restaurants, from Chicago- based Consolidated Foods Corp. in the mid-1970s. 
  147. ^ "Milwaukee Welcomes BIG BOY [Advertisement]". The Milwaukee Journal. November 21, 1958. A free Coca-Cola with every food order during our opening week. Just clip the Marc's symbol from this ad and turn it in with your order. 
  148. ^ "The Marcus Corporation - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on The Marcus Corporation". Reference for Business. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2016. 
  149. ^ a b c Chris, Foran (January 24, 2017). "Our Back Pages: When they locked up Big Boy". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on May 2, 2017. Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  150. ^ Fredrich, Lori (April 7, 2017). "On the Burger Trail: Big Boy burger at Kil@wat". OnMilwaukee.com. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  151. ^ "Kil@wat lunch menu" (PDF). Retrieved January 24, 2017. 
  152. ^ "Kil@wat dinner menu" (PDF). Retrieved March 8, 2017. 
  153. ^ "New Hampshire Corporate Record: Keene Big Boy, Inc.". Archived from the original on May 2, 2017. Retrieved February 12, 2013. 
  154. ^ Hansen, Christian (2002). The Big Boy Story: "King of Them All". Santa Barbara: Haagen Printing. p. 75. ISBN 978-0967194363. On a plane trip to Keene, New Hampshire ... to visit with [Big Boy] franchisee Manfred Bernhard, creator of the Big Boy Comic Book. ... Manfred greeted us at the plane in his car, loaded us in, and we drove in an opposite direction to his restaurant, Mr. "B's". 
  155. ^ Glassett, Janie. "(Mr. B's Image at) Janies's Big Boy Webpage". Archived from the original on July 25, 2008. Retrieved February 11, 2013. 
  156. ^ Jolley, Harmon (July 16, 2002). "What Did That Building Used To Be? - Shap's". The Chattanoogan.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  157. ^ "The Parkette at the Beginning". Parkette Drive-In. Retrieved December 4, 2016. Joe Smiley opened the Parkette [Drive-In] on November 11, 1951.... Joe created his own version of the Double-Decker hamburger called the 'Poor Boy'. Joe brought this burger idea with him from West Virginia. 
  158. ^ "Print ads in The Contest of the Century", The Charleston Gazette and The Charleston Daily Mail, Charleston, WV, 1952–55, retrieved June 27, 2012 
  159. ^
    • Zuckerman, David (May 7, 1984). "Shoney's secedes from Big Boy system". Nation's Restaurant News. Penton Media. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
    • "Graph of Shoney's net income since 1974; At Shoney's, details count". The New York Times. June 8, 1984. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 29, 2016. Shoney's started expanding outside of its franchise territory in 1982 by opening coffee shops without Big Boy markings in neighboring states. A fellow Big Boy franchisee sued to stop the move, but after Shoney's won a favorable court ruling in March, Marriott quickly agreed to scrap the franchise agreement for $13 million in cash. 
  160. ^ Gazda v. Kolinski, 91 A.D.2d 860 (N.Y. App. Div. 1982).
  161. ^ "Obituary: Lucian Frejlach". Oshkosh Northwestern. Gannett. February 9, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014. 
  162. ^ "This comic book is a gift from Tops". Adventures of the Big Boy. No. 126 (Q: Tops Big Boy ed.). December 1966. back cover imprint.  Lists eight loctions; six are in the Chicago metropolitan area: Norton Grove, La Grange, Aurora, Glen Ellyn, Downer's Grove, Berwyn, and the other two: Springfield, Jacksonville, are in central Illinois.
  163. ^ "Tote's Home of the Big Boy New Restaurant Opening [Advertisement]". Saint Charles Journal. April 27, 1967. p. 35. Retrieved November 2, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  164. ^ "[Advertisement] We Are Famous!" (PDF). Philadelphia Inquirer. September 18, 1959. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  165. ^ "Levittown's Newest Citizen is here [Advertisement]". Bristol Daily Courier. December 5, 1957. p. 34. Retrieved November 2, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  166. ^ "Big Boy Restaurant Discontinues Operation". Bristol Daily Courier. April 15, 1959. p. 3. Retrieved November 2, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  167. ^ "Restaurant Chain Expands to E.P.". El Paso Herald Post. August 29, 1963. p. 32. Retrieved September 9, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. VIP's Big Boy restaurants of New Mexico, Inc. today announced a merger with the Big Boy restaurant organization in El Paso, which will serve as headquarters for expansion throughout West Texas. ... The firm has taken over a restaurant as 8409 Dyer Street formerly known as KIP's Big Boy Restaurant. Free to read
  168. ^ "Matchbook - Vip's Big Boy Hamburgers Cheyenne Torrington WY FULL". ebay. Archived from the original on July 28, 2015. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  169. ^ "New Restaurant Is Planned Here". Albuquerque Journal. Albuquerque: Journal Publishing Co. January 19, 1962. p. 2. Retrieved October 19, 2012 – via newspaperarchive.com. Free to read
  170. ^ "JB's Big Boy Plans Fall Stock Offering". The Deseret News. Salt Lake City. September 1, 1972. p. 4T. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  171. ^ "Children's project gets $1,000 gift". Santa Fe New Mexican Sun. August 15, 1982. p. 4. Retrieved November 2, 2016 – via newspaperarchive.com. Commenting on the name change from VIP's Big Boy to JB's Big Boy, Clark D. Jones, president of the Salt Lake City-based restaurant chain, said it was done with several new changes in the restaurants and to add more cohesiveness to the operation of the company. Free to read
  172. ^ "VIP's officials announce sale of restaurants". The Register-Guard. Eugene, Oregon. August 18, 1984. p. 9B. Retrieved June 17, 2013. 
  173. ^ "[Advertisement] Mady's Big Boy Turns Back the Clock on Food Prices!". The Windsor Star. March 23, 1968. p. D3. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  174. ^ McDonald's Corporation v Joburgers Drive-Inn Restaurant (Pty) Ltd. and Another; McDonald's Corporation v Dax Prop CC and Another; McDonald's Corporation v Joburgers Drive-Inn Restaurant (Pty) Ltd. and Another [1996] ZASCA 82 (27 August 1996), Supreme Court of Appeal (South Africa)
  175. ^ Kent, Jack (December 26, 1973). "Business Highlights: Elias Big Boy to open here". The Windsor Star. Windsor, ON, Canada. p. 20 – via Google News. 
  176. ^ Matsutani, Minoru (January 25, 2011). "Family restaurants falling from flavor". Japan Times. Tokyo: Toshiaki Ogasawara. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  177. ^ a b "Big Boy Japan Menu Items". Big Boy Japan. Retrieved February 9, 2013. 
  178. ^ "Daiei seen selling restaurant chains". CNN. December 1, 2002. 
  179. ^ "Daiei to sell 2 units to Zensho group". Japan Weekly Monitor. December 9, 2002 – via The Free Library. 
  180. ^
    • Weir, Nancy (April 1, 1992). "Memories of unforgettable food". Gadsden Times. p. C1. Retrieved March 22, 2016. [T]oday there are 963 franchise units in the United States, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia 
    • "Big Boy restaurant returns to Owosso". The Argus-Press (180 ed.). Owosso, MI: The Argus-Press Company. July 1, 1998. p. 1. Retrieved March 23, 2016 – via Google News Archive. Today, Elias Brothers Restaurants, based in Warren, franchises nearly 900 units in the United States, Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Brazil and the Philippines. 
    • Hamstra, Mark (May 8, 1995). "Big Boy sets foot on European soil". Nation's Restaurant News. Vol. 29 no. 19 – via MasterFILE Premier.   (subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries)
    • "Big Boy comic book contest announced". The Argus-Press. Owosso, MI: The Argus-Press Company. June 20, 2001. p. 6. Retrieved March 23, 2016 – via Google News Archive. Big Boy Restaurants International LLC is the exclusive worldwide franchiser of more than 455 Big Boy Restaurants in the United States, Japan and Egypt. 
  181. ^ Hayes, Jack (July 24, 2006). "Family brands undergo updates to meet diners' changing needs". Nation's Restaurant News. Vol. 40 no. 30. p. 78 – via MasterFILE Premier. ...the chain now boasts approximately 175 directly franchised and company-owned locations...   (subscription may be required or content may be available in libraries)
  182. ^ Aguilar, Louis (April 1, 2017). "Death of Detroit’s last Big Boy sparks east side angst". Detroit News. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  183. ^ a b Rummell, Sally (March 2, 2017). "‘People love their Big Boy’". Tri-County Times. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  184. ^ Durr, Matt (April 21, 2016). "Ann Arbor area Big Boy closes suddenly". MLive.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 
  185. ^ Shapiro, Dmitriy. "Tecumseh Big Boy to drop franchise affiliation". The Daily Telegram. Archived from the original on May 7, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017. The family-owned restaurant on M-50 on the western edge of Tecumseh is planning not to renew its contract when the current 20-year franchise agreement expires Nov. 1.
         [The owners] said ... they felt that it was the right time to move on when 'six or seven years' prior, the company told its franchisees to undertake a complete renovation if they wanted a new contract ... adding that most of the franchises appear to be making the same decision.' 
     
  186. ^ Hotts, Mitch (September 6, 2017). "Big Boy on Gratiot in Eastpointe also shuts down". The Macomb Daily. Township, MI: Digital First Media. Retrieved September 9, 2017. The landmark Big Boy on Gratiot Avenue near Nine Mile Road closed in August [2017]. 
  187. ^ "Big Boy’s Burgers and Shakes". burgersandshakes.com. Retrieved April 9, 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hansen, Christian (2002). The Big Boy Story: "King of Them All". Haagen Printing. ISBN 978-0967194363. 
  • Langdon, Philip (1986). Orange Roofs, Golden Arches: The Architecture of American Chain Restaurants. Knopf. ISBN 978-0394741291. 

External links[edit]

Big Boy Company Sites
Other Sites

Acknowledgement[edit]

NewspaperArchive.com provided complimentary access which repeatedly improved this article and offers readers free access to clippings of those cited sources.