After nearly a century of service, Big Boy is out.

By Mike Pomranz
July 06, 2020
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Big Boy is one of those rare chains where the mascot may be better known than the restaurants itself. Even if you’ve never eaten at one of Big Boy’s 70-plus U.S. locations, you’ve almost certainly seen the checker-clad kid who’s been the face of the company since it was founded in the 1930s. But after all those years, Big Boy is finally getting a break. The chain announced that, starting today, though the name will still be Big Boy, the company’s mascot will be a little girl: Dolly.

Rest assured that, no, Big Boy has not done anything wrong, or been canceled for bad behavior. Rather, the switch to a female face is a pre-planned promotional move tied to an on-trend new menu item.

“We are rolling out a brand-new chicken sandwich,” Frank Alessandrini, Big Boy’s director of training, said according to Michigan’s WOOD TV, based in the company’s home state. “Dolly has been with Big Boy since as far as we can go back with our comic books […] we decided that she’s going to be the star of this sandwich as Big Boy was the star of his double decker sandwich.”

Peter Bennett / Getty Images

According to Wikipedia, which—to be fair—is the source Big Boy references on their own website, Dolly was originally introduced in the Adventures of the Big Boy comic book series as Big Boy’s girlfriend. Frankly, Big Boy never struck me as boyfriend material, but hey, I didn’t know the guy personally. Regardless, in an effort to compete in the ongoing Popeyes chicken sandwich wars, Big Boy decided a big move was in order.

For now, indeed, Dolly is featured front and center as the company’s new mascot online. But whether this is a permanent change or just a promotional stunt isn’t entirely clear.

“It is Dolly’s time to shine now with our chicken sandwich. So, she’s taken the forefront right now. She’s in charge,” Alessandrini added. “The name will always be Big Boy but as far as the logo, she’s leading the charge and we’ll see when he comes back if he does.”