Will Big Boy replace its mascot for good? Girl character replaces the iconic logo

The boy holding a burger is stepping aside ... at least for a little while.
Big Boy has been the fast-food chain's mascot for 84 years.
Big Boy has been the fast-food chain's mascot for 84 years.David Tonelson / Shutterstock
/ Source: TODAY

Big Boy, the hamburger-carrying mascot of the fast-food chain with the same name, is throwing in the towel (or rather the checkered overalls) to make way for a new girl in town named Dolly.

Well, Dolly isn't exactly new. Those who know Big Boy beyond his cameo in "Austin Powers" may recall that Dolly first appeared in the burger chain's classic comic books, "Adventures of the Big Boy."

This week, however, the chain announced that Dolly will be replacing the iconic Big Boy mascot to help unveil a new item.

According to Big Boy's director of training Frank Alessandrini, Dolly (who first appeared on the scene in the 1950s) is Big Boy's best friend and she has also appeared on kids' menus and coloring pages throughout the years. Now, she's stepping into the spotlight and has already replaced the classic Big Boy boy logo on the company's social media accounts and its website. For the time being, no physical Dolly statues will be made to stand outside restaurants.

"Big Boy has always had his own burger. We're excited that Dolly, after so long, got her own sandwich," Alessandrini told TODAY Food.

Unlike Big Boy, Dolly has blond hair and brown eyes. She also sports a dark blue overall dress and a red shirt. Instead of a burger, she's seen holding a crispy chicken sandwich.

The burger chain debuted The Dolly Chicken Sandwich on Monday. To promote it, workers at most locations handed out vouchers to the first 20 people in line good for one free chicken sandwich a week for a year. Perhaps Big Boy is trying to compete with Popeyes as its new sandwich features a crispy chicken filet served on a brioche bun with pickles and the chain's signature Big Boy tartar sauce.

The Dolly Sandwich is the first in a series of new menu items the chain is planning to debut soon, though Alessandrini declined to disclose any specific dates or more details about what customers can expect.

Currently, there are 77 Big Boy locations nationwide; the chain is primarily based in Michigan, but there are several outposts in California, two in Ohio and one in North Dakota.

The logo change is coming at a time when many food brands have been adjusting their imagery in the wake of racist and political backlash. The companies behind Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben's, for example, will soon be changing their logos after years of complaints.

Despite the timing of Dolly's arrival, Alessandrini said that Big Boy's decision to promote the new sandwich with a female mascot is only part of a marketing campaign and the shift was planned before the pandemic.

"It’s not political," he said of the new mascot. "We're just promoting a new chicken sandwich with a character we’ve always had. But Big Boy has not gone anywhere, his statue is still in front of all of our restaurants and will remain there."