From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Shoney's North America, LLC
Industry Casual dining restaurant
Predecessors Shoney's, Inc.;[1]
Shoney's Big Boy Enterprises, Inc.;
Danner Foods, Inc. (merger);
Shoney's Big Boy Franchising Companies;[2]
Parkette Foods, Inc.
Founded 1947; 70 years ago (1947) in Charleston, West Virginia, United States (Parkette);
1959; 58 years ago (1959) in Madison, Tennessee, United States (Danner Foods)
Founder Alex Schoenbaum
Raymond L. Danner, Sr.
Headquarters Nashville, Tennessee
Key people
David Davoudpour, CEO

Shoney’s is a privately held restaurant chain headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Operating primarily in the South, Shoney's also has restaurants in the Midwest and Lower Mid-Atlantic states. Founder Alex Schoenbaum became a licensee of Big Boy Restaurants (originally known as Parkette) in 1952. Two years later the name was changed to Shoney's, and aggressive subfranchising followed. Thirty years later, having outgrown its Big Boy territory, Shoney's dropped the Big Boy affiliation.

The current corporate entity is Shoney's North America Corp., with David Davoudpour as chairman and chief executive officer. Davoudpour acquired Shoney's in 2006 through Royal Hospitality Corp. in Atlanta. He is the founder and chairman of Royal Hospitality. As of 2016, there were around 150 company-owned and franchised Shoney's restaurants in 17 states, stretching from Maryland to Florida in the east, and 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.[3] Schoenbaum became a Big Boy franchisee on February 7, 1952, now calling his several locations the Parkette Big Boy Shoppes.[4][5] 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 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 names. 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, Lendy's, and Yoda's units were originally listed with Shoney's units on the back of the Shoney's menu. Also in 1956, Schoenbaum sold a subfranchise to Abe Becker in Rochester, New York, for Becker's Big Boy. Two Philadelphia area subfranchises, Tunes and Arnold's, were opened during this period as well. In 1959 Shap's Big Boy was subfranchised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, later assuming the Shoney's name. After this, all subfranchises went by the name 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.[6] The name was later changed to Captain D's and grew to more than 100 restaurants. 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".[7] While these lawsuits failed, similar suits by Frisch's against Elby's complicated Elby's Big Boy advertising in the upper Ohio Valley. Therefore, 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 remains 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.[8] 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 the Atlanta-based Royal Capital Corporation, the largest franchisee of Church's Chicken restaurants.[9] Davoudpour set up a new company, Shoney's North America, LLC, as a subsidiary of Royal and currently serves as its 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.

In January 2014, Shoney's opened its first mall-based location, in Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville, Georgia. It includes a full bar.[10]

Shoney's Inn[edit]

In 1975, the restaurant chain founded Shoney's Inn, a motel chain. After the motels were sold off in 1991, Shoney's continued to collect royalties on the name. Between 2002 and 2006, the last remaining Shoney's Inns were re-branded as GuestHouse.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

In the season 3 Rick and Morty episode "The Rickshank Rickdemption", Rick's cerebellum is represented as a Shoney's.

In episode 8 of season 9 of King of the Hill, "Mutual of Omabwah", Peggy and Hank discuss whether the Shoney's off exit 25 is a good Shoney's.

In his 2016 song "Nights", R&B singer Frank Ocean references Shoney's.


  1. ^ "Shoney's Lists 1976 Earnings". Charleston Daily Mail. December 25, 1976. p. 3B. Retrieved February 5, 2017 – via Free to read
  2. ^ "Shoney's merges with Danner Foods of Nashville". Kingsport News. XXXIV (23). Kingsport TN. February 3, 1971. p. 2. Retrieved February 5, 2017 – via Free to read
  3. ^ "Shoneys Inc Facts, information, pictures | articles about Shoneys Inc". Retrieved July 15, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Parkette Advertisements". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston WV. February 6, 1952. p. 5. Retrieved February 5, 2017. You Can Get A Parkette Big Boy Tomorrow! Free to read
  5. ^ "Parkette Advertisements". Charleston Daily Mail. Charleston WV. February 7, 1952. pp. multiple. Retrieved February 5, 2017. You Can Now Get A Big Boy At The Parkette. Don't Miss This Sensational Treat! Free to read
  6. ^ 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. 
  7. ^ "Frisch's loses appeal to stop Shoney's plans". Daily News. Bowling Green KY. April 28, 1985. pp. 10B. Retrieved June 8, 2013. open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; LONE STAR FUNDS BUYS SHONEY'S RESTAURANT CHAIN". The New York Times. 2002-01-25. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  9. ^ "Royal Hospitality Acquires Shoney's | Business Wire". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  10. ^ "Sugarloaf Mills, GA - Shoney's". 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  11. ^ Freed, Jason (January 4, 2011). "Boomerang to relaunch Shoney's Inns". Hotel News Now. Retrieved October 4, 2016. 

External links[edit]