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Industry Casual dining restaurant
Founded 1947 in Charleston, West Virginia
Headquarters Nashville, Tennessee
Key people
Alex Schoenbaum, Founder
David Davoudpour, CEO

Shoney’s is a privately held restaurant chain that operates primarily in the Southern United States, with locations also being in the Midwestern and Lower Mid-Atlantic states of the United States and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. It is named after Alex Schoenbaum, who was the owner of the original chain of Big Boy restaurants in the southeastern United States in the 1950s. The corporate entity is Shoney’s North America Corp., and David Davoudpour is chairman and chief executive officer. Davoudpour acquired Shoney’s in 2006 through Royal Hospitality Corp. in Atlanta. He is founder and chairman of Royal Hospitality. As of early 2011, there were approximately 230 company-owned and franchised Shoney’s restaurants in 17 states, stretching from Maryland to Florida in the east, from Missouri to Texas in the west, with the northernmost location being in Ohio.


In 1947 Alex “Shoney” Schoenbaum opened the Parkette Drive-In next to his father’s bowling alley in Charleston, West Virginia.[1] Schoenbaum became a Big Boy franchisee on February 7, 1952, now calling his several locations the Parkette Big Boy Shoppes.[2][3] In May 1954 a public "Name the Parkette Big Boy Contest" was announced and in June 1954 Schoenbaum's five Parkette Drive Ins were rebranded as Shoney's.

Shoney's [the Parkette] was originally the Big Boy franchisee for West Virginia; however, Schoenbaum rapidly grew the Shoney's chain through subfranchising, expanding his Big Boy territory through the southeastern United States, excluding Florida only because the rights already belonged to fellow Big Boy franchisee Frisch's.

Schoenbaum's earliest subfranchisees operated under their own name. In 1955, Leonard Goldstein became a subfranchisee in Roanoke, Virginia. Originally operating as Shoney's, he eventually changed to Lendy's Big Boy after another Shoney's subfranchisee called Yoda's Big Boy opened across town. In 1956 a subfranchise was sold to the Boury brothers in northern West Virginia, who operated as Elby's. Elby's Big Boy units were originally listed with Shoney's units on the back of the Shoney's menu and even in the late seventies Elby's West Virginia operations were listed as Shoney's operations in the Shoney's comic books. Also in 1956, Shoenbaum sold a subfranchise to Abe Becker in Rochester, New York for Becker's Big Boy. After this, all subfranchises went by Shoney's.

Doubling in size every four years, Shoney's became the largest Big Boy franchisee, operating over one third of the Big Boy restaurants nationwide. As Shoney's dominated Big Boy, a 1959 franchisee named Raymond Danner would dominate Shoney's — acquiring the company in 1971.

In 1969 Shoney’s created a fast-food seafood concept called Mr. D’s, named after Ray Danner, co-founder of Shoney’s, Inc.[4] The name was later changed to Captain D's and grew to more than 100 restaurants. The company (Shoney’s, Inc.) went public in 1971 and was listed as “SHO” on the New York Stock Exchange. At various times, the corporate portfolio also included a lodging chain (Shoney’s Inns), four casual dining concepts (Fifth Quarter, The Sailmaker, Barbwire’s and Pargo’s), and Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken.

In 1982 Shoney's began launching restaurants in Florida and Kentucky, branded as "Shoney's Towne and Country" because Frisch's owned the Big Boy rights in these states. Nonetheless, Frisch's sued for trademark infringement claiming a strong association of the "Shoney's" name with "Big Boy".[5] While these lawsuits failed, similar suits by Frisch's against Elby's complicated Elby's Big Boy advertising in the upper Ohio Valley. So in 1984 Shoney's broke affiliation with Big Boy. At the time it was the largest Big Boy franchisee with 392 Shoney's Big Boy restaurants. As a result, the Big Boy sandwich was renamed the “All-American Hamburger” and Shoney Bear was created as a corporate mascot.

At its peak in 1998, the restaurant chain operated or franchised over 1,300 restaurants in 34 states. None of those businesses remain a part of the Shoney’s restaurant enterprise today.

In 2000 the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was acquired by Texas-based investment group Lone Star Funds two years later.[6] On January 1, 2007, Lone Star announced that the Shoney's chain — at this point down to 282 restaurants — was being sold to David Davoudpour, founder and CEO of Atlanta, Georgia-based Royal Capital Corporation, the largest franchisee of Church's Chicken restaurants.[7] Davoudpour set up a new company, Shoney's North America, LLC, as a subsidiary of Royal, and currently serves as chairman and CEO. Lone Star had originally planned to sell the chain to Centrum Properties, a Brentwood, Tennessee investment group, but Centrum later sued to get out of the deal.

As part of his revitalization efforts, Davoudpour has established an aggressive quality improvement process that includes a new menu, new restaurant prototypes and rebuilds, and a new Executive and Operations team focused on adding unique twists to the Southern comfort food menu for which Shoney's is known.

In January 2014, Shoney's opened its first mall location, in Sugarloaf Mills, Lawrenceville, Georgia. It also includes a full bar.[8]

Shoney's Inn[edit]

In 1975, Shoney's Inc. founded Shoney's Inn, a hotel chain. Mr. Davoudpour announced in 2014 that Shoney's is in process of redevelopment of the Shoney's Inn, Hotels and Suites brand and that he has plans to open locations in the near future.[9]


  1. ^ "Shoneys Inc Facts, information, pictures | articles about Shoneys Inc". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  2. ^ "Parkette Advertisements". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston WV. February 6, 1952. pp. multiple. Retrieved June 8, 2013. You Can Get A Parkette Big Boy Tomorrow! 
  3. ^ "Parkette Advertisements". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston WV. February 7, 1952. pp. multiple. Retrieved June 8, 2013. You Can Now Get A Big Boy At The Parkette. Don't Miss This Sensational Treat! 
  4. ^ Wohletz, Jenn (2013-08-27). "Captain D's is better than Long John Silver's -- but still stuck on the shore". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  5. ^ "Frisch's loses appeal to stop Shoney's plans". Daily News. Bowling Green KY. April 28, 1985. pp. 10B. Retrieved June 8, 2013. 
  6. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; LONE STAR FUNDS BUYS SHONEY'S RESTAURANT CHAIN". The New York Times. 2002-01-25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  7. ^ "Royal Hospitality Acquires Shoney's | Business Wire". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  8. ^ "Sugarloaf Mills, GA - Shoney's". 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  9. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

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