Warren, Michigan-Big Boy Restaurants International Inc., franchisor of a chain of more than 455 namesake family-dining units, said Jim Talghani signed a franchise development deal to add 16 units over the next eight years in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nevada.

The first two units as part of the deal are slated to open in Las Vegas by October 2004, with four more on track to open within the next three years.

Separately, Big Boy said it had added a Stuffed Ciabatta Bread sandwich to its menu in Michigan and Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. Ranging in price from $5.99 to $6.99, the chain's varieties of the lightly grilled Italian bread sandwiches are Turkey and Swiss; Chicken Club; Mile High Roast Beef; and Chicken Santa Fe. -Nation's Restaurant News