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Slim Chickens’ Ambitious Growth Plans are Coming True


Slim Chickens closed 2023 breaking records, opening 53 units and flying into 2024 with a stack of development deals under its wing. In 2024, the brand plans to open more than 70 new stores and has north of 1,200 coming down the pipeline.

The made-to-order chicken concept is hitting an upsurge, experiencing 70 percent restaurant growth in the past three years, amassing to 270-plus locations and 10 new territories, including the world’s largest airport in Istanbul, Turkey; Germany; and U.S. states like Indiana, Wisconsin, and Nevada.

From a sales perspective, the brand is pulling in AUVs of 3.8 million*, and same-store sales have grown 40 percent in the past four years.

Amid all this expansion, the brand’s commitment to serving quality, fresh food with sincere customer service hasn’t wavered. Senior VP of operations Christina Vaughan believes this is the unlock of Slim’s success.

“Our freshly cooked food and variety of sauces are foundational to us, but then you throw in this special magic of Southern hospitality in the mix,” Vaughan says. “It’s really driving our guests and franchisees, creating great AUVs … They resonate with how we think about bringing people together for meals.”

She points to the brand’s ability to craft a high-touch experience for guests, starting with a warm greeting and ending with a sincere “thank you.” As Slim Chickens has diversified its guest experience throughout the years—driving traffic into third-party or drive-thru channels—it has remained true in its belief to be a community-centric restaurant.

“Our intention is to allow guests to have a high-touch opportunity no matter what channel they come through. I think even as we think about our new technology, we still know that Southern hospitality will lead the way for us,” Vaughan says. “We encourage building a community around our restaurant in both our corporate and franchise locations.”

Slim Chickens is playing in a red-hot market where the war over chicken continues. Vaughan says the brand’s focus on enticing new customers and elevating loyal ones keeps it competitive. The company remains at the forefront of innovation with a high-tech stack of kiosks, a curated app, and the development of AI at the drive-thru.

“We make sure we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to advances that make it easier for our employees. We believe in giving our employees a great experience, who in turn do the same for our guests,” Vaughan adds. “We’re always testing new technology and equipment pieces that will make our employees’ lives better.”

While some may see technology as a barrier to interacting with guests, Vaughan says Slims is using the rollouts to improve the guest experience by allowing them to order at their own pace and take their time viewing the entire menu, which is broader than most chicken-orientated fast-casual restaurants. She views kiosks and digital confirmation boards as a complement to Southern hospitality, not a competitor.

“I believe our guests can have a frictionless encounter with us, through the drive-thru, in-store pickup, or third party. We want to make sure they can order easier with us still providing accurate and consistent food,” Vaughan adds. “There’s no doubt we’re harnessing guests who want to be more tech-savvy, but retaining those who don’t.”

Existing franchised units will have individualized installation plans tailored to their current layout and facilities, whereas new openings will automatically feature digital kiosks and confirmation boards. Vaughan has already seen higher check averages and reduced equipment and labor costs as a result of the rollout.

“We are franchise-focused right now, and our goal is to reach 1,000 units,” Vaughan says. “As long as we continue to bring franchisees on board with multi-unit experience from other brands, a belief in our mission, and a people-first culture, we can continue to provide mouthwatering chicken and a successful opportunity to grow with not just our restaurants but the people we serve, too.”

Read the full story in QSR Magazine here- LINK