Krispy Kreme, Domino’s Pizza, Jamba Juice. The roster of aging (“maturing?”) American franchises seeking new life in Southeast Asia will soon expand with a venerable burger brand rooted in Southern Californian car culture.
Carrying a torch lit over eight decades ago that went on to spawn hundreds of restaurants at its peak, Big Boy Thailand plans to open its first restaurant in Bangkok early next year, a spokesman said today.
“We’ve got a passion for bringing classic American pastimes and food to Asia,” said Keith Baird, marketing director of Destination Eats, which recently acquired the rights from Big Boy Restaurants International.
Destination Eats, which also operates Hooters, The Drunken Leprechaun and some regional Hard Rock Cafe locations, hosted the first of several pop-up events this past weekend at the AMCHAM Fourth of July party in the Bang Na district.
The event was complete with a Big Boy mascot that Baird said required two internal fans to cool and frequent breaks for the human inside. Another event is set for November at the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show.
The first of what would become Bob’s Big Boy opened in 1936 in Glendale, California. As they grew, they fused Southern California auto culture with several restaurants featuring car hops, where waitresses used roller skates to serve people parked in their cars.
Bob’s Big Boy changed hands several times before it was bought from its bankrupt owners in 2000. There are now only five restaurants in metropolitan Los Angeles, if you believe the Wikilords.
Baird said they were “sticking to the major recipes” provided by the American owner and are currently evaluating locations with tentative plans to open in January.