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Global Franchise

By In the News

Slim Chickens enters 2023 with new deals and plans for expansion

The better-chicken brand has more than 300 development deals and more openings across the globe than ever before.


 Slim Chickens has established more than 300 signed agreements across the globe, attaining a total of 1,100 units in development deals. The brand also celebrated its 200th store opening, conquered 15 new franchise territories with its development deals, and opened 50 new locations in 2022.

In addition to its rapid franchise growth, Slim Chickens boasts a 3.8 million AUV and has held a robust 44 per cent increase in comp stores sales growth over the last four years. The company has made history with more openings across the United States and globally than ever before.

Vice president of franchise development, Jackie Lobdell, says: “This year we have tallied up an impressive year of growth into new markets on a national and global scale more than ever before, and we could not be prouder. We are honored to have a dedicated team of skilled and knowledgeable franchisees who continue to extend our southern hospitality to new markets around the world.

“As the chicken craze continues to flourish, our leadership team, training methods, resources, and established franchisees will continue to maintain our positive growth trajectory. We remain resilient and relentless time and time again and look forward to further grabbing the attention of highly qualified restaurant operators who want to be a part of our story in communities around the world.”

In addition to the brand’s success in 2022, Slim Chickens has been recognized by several restaurant and franchise trade publications for its robust reputation in the industry. The franchise was named the Breakout Brand of the Year by QSR Magazine and was recognized as a Top Recession-Proof Business by Franchise Business Review. The brand was also named in the top percentile as one of the Fastest Growing Franchises by Entrepreneur and a Mover and Shaker by Fast Casual. Most recently, Franchise Times Magazine ranked the better-chicken brand at number five in its Fast and Serious List of smartest-growing brands, and the company was also acknowledged as a 2023 Top Franchise by Franchise Business Review.

Sam Rothschild, COO of Slim Chickens, says: “We have spent a lot of time and investment in the people that enable us to do this. We understand what it takes to support our franchisees and we have the systems and processes in place to do so. We are honored to have the quality of franchisees that we have today but are eager to continue the momentum.

“There is still a lot of opportunity in the U.S. to grow Slim Chickens and we have started to open in Michigan, Wisconsin, the Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Not only are we rapidly expanding domestically but we are thrilled to continue to enter new markets abroad as well.”

As the leading better-chicken brand continues its momentum and upward trajectory, it’s looking to extend its southern hospitality and fuel the demand for its hand-breaded cooked-to-order tenders across the United States, as well in countries such as France, Spain, Germany, Poland, Turkey, and the GCC.

Link to the full story here: https://bit.ly/3Tqeuta

Restaurant Development + Design

By In the News


Best Practices for Intentional Restaurant Design


Chain restaurants have multiple locations that are instantly recognizable by customers. But more brands are building a degree of distinction into locations to give them a little flair, some ties to the local community, and “an extra degree of thoughtfulness,” says Ke


ndra Payne, director of design and project management, Slim Chickens, Fayetteville, Ark. “It doesn’t feel like we’re stamping out the same restaurant over and over, but we’ve really put some intentional effort and care into each restaurant.” Adding variation also helps each franchisee have ownership of their store, she adds.

Here Payne shares six best practices for intentional restaurant design.

  1. Keep some things the same.

Slim Chickens likes to keep equipment and furniture consistent from store to store for scalability and affordability. “We really want everyone to stay with the standard package so most of the design is similar, which helps with our vendor partners,” says Payne. “And we always want our signage to look the same. The placement might be different, and some places might not allow certain things on the exterior. But we want franchisees to stay as close to the prototype as possible.”

It’s important for guests to have a level of familiarity when they enter each store, Payne says, and that they can recognize the restaurants from afar. “We want to feel almost like a family. So, we want the interiors to feel the same, we want the guest flow to feel right, and we want people to know where to go so they immediately feel at ease.” To that end, the stores are all laid out almost identically, except for second-generation units, when she says, she has to “work within the constraints of what’s there.”

  1. Be open to changes. 

Slim Chickens likes to use brick in its building’s exteriors, and ideally brick that’s been produced locally to pr

ovide a tie-in and sustainability. Some municipalities don’t allow this, though, Payne says, so the company is open to going with lap siding to keep that rustic feel. Slim Chickens is also open to featuring thin brick facing on the interior.

  1. Focus on community first.

To bring some difference to each location, Slim Chickens focuses on community first. This might mean featuring a mural calling out something local like a state bird; focusing on geography, such as famous bridges and parks; an industry driver (textiles, for example, or steel); or famous people. The concept shies away from sports teams but tries instead to focus on something more longstanding. “Plus, we’re not a sports bar,” Payne adds.

  1. Similar but distinct.

Some Slim Chickens franchisees like to feature guitars on their walls, which are often sourced from local pawn shops. “They give the franchisee a chance to reflect some of their personality into the space while also remaining consistent with our brand,” Payne says.

  1. Incorporate brand messaging.

A lot of Slim Chickens’ interior graphics feature brand messaging.The company is developing some new music-themed posters, “and adding some color into the space,”Payne says. There will be five of these available later in the year, and stores can choose which ones to feature — usually three. “The posters are an homage to the blues festival posters of the past and use the Slim Chickens name in fun ways to bring color and whimsy into the stores,” Payne says.

  1. Let loose with second-gen stores.

Slim Chickens has a lot more leeway with its second generation stores and Payne says she prefers these “because they’re more challenging and allow me to be a bit more creative with the layouts — we might do different seating or lighting.”

Second-gen stores are also a good opportunity to test new things, she says, but at the same time, they have to be cost-conscious. “There sometimes is a challenge that cannot be overcome, maybe millwork can’t fit in that space, or in the position we need, or ceiling heights can vary widely, so we might have to think about not having an open ceiling, or how that affects the lighting.” Seating also might need to be changed up, taking out banquettes and adding a corner booth, for example. These locations, she says, “provide me some relief and makes me think much more around design and function.”

Link to the full story here: https://bit.ly/3ZMEgdH


By In the News

Top Chicken Franchises to Buy in 2023

Turn your fried chicken obsession into a business by buying into one of the top chicken franchises.


Although trends, especially in the food industry, typically die down over time, one market garnered so much popularity, it became its own franchise category: chicken. Popularity skyrocketed in 2019 during the “chicken sandwich wars,” when Popeyes released a new fried chicken sandwich that was relatively unknown until Chick-fil-A touted its sandwich as the original. Not only did Popeyes and Chick-fil-A see an increase in revenue, but other concepts also began introducing their own competing chicken products to the point where some franchises are committed to chicken alone. If you’re a fan of fried chicken — or any chicken — or simply want to jump into an exciting industry that continues to expand, a chicken franchise might be right for you.

These are the top 12 chicken franchises for 2023, based on our 44th Annual Franchise 500 List.

4. Slim Chickens

Number of U.S. franchise units: 126

Whether it is chicken tenders, wings, or wraps, the mission of Slim Chickens is to serve the best hand-breaded chicken using the freshest ingredients. Since its inception in 2003, the foundation for Slim Chickens has always been serving customers the best meals with 100 percent all-natural premium tenderloins.

Slim Chickens strives to be known to go above and beyond in creating its food. Slim Chickens franchise locations serve main course chicken meals with side dishes including southern-fried pickles or fried mushrooms. Customers might want to save room for delicious strawberry cheesecake and chocolate brownie desserts. As a fun change of pace, all items are typically served in mason jars.


Link to the full story ranking here: LINK

Slim Chickens Recognized Nationally with Accolades in Top Franchise Enumerations

By In the News

Breakthrough Better-Chicken Brand Receives Notable Ranking in Both Entrepreneur and Franchise Business Review Magazine

February 10, 2023 // Franchising.com // FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Slim Chickens has been named in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500® list as well as in Franchise Business Review’s 2023 Top Franchise list, which are both considered the world’s best and most comprehensive franchise rankings. The brand achieved a spot in the top 23% in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500® list and ranked 27th overall in the Top 50 Midsize category in Franchise Business Review’s list. This year also marks Slim Chickens’ fourth-consecutive year on the Franchise 500® list. The recognition received by Slim Chickens highlights the successes accomplished by the brand in 2022.

“Being named a top brand in two of the largest franchise publications is an incredible honor,” said Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens. “We’ve seen outstanding growth in 2022 and have no intention of slowing down that momentum in 2023. I am more than excited to see where the year of development takes us and look forward to providing our southern comfort food to Slimthusiasts across the world.”

There are several key factors that go into the Entrepreneur Franchise 500® evaluation, including costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500® in ranking order. Being placed as 115th and in the top 23% of franchises on the list highlights the successful year Slim Chickens had, including the opening of 50 new locations across the world.

Franchise Business Review’s Top 2023 Franchise list provides the only rankings and awards for franchise companies based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance. Slim Chickens was among over 360 franchise brands, representing nearly 38,000 franchise owners, that participated in Franchise Business Review’s research. The brand’s franchisees were surveyed on 33 benchmark questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems, including training & support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations, and financial opportunity.

“We have spent a lot of time and investment in the people that enable us to do this,” says COO Sam Rothschild. “We understand what it takes to support our franchisees and we have the systems and processes in place to do so. We are honored to have the quality of franchisees that we have today and are eager to continue the momentum. There is still a lot of opportunity in the U.S. to grow with Slim Chickens and we have started to open in Michigan, Wisconsin, the Carolinas, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Not only are we rapidly expanding domestically but we are thrilled to continue to enter new markets abroad as well through our ongoing internal support processes.

With hundreds of thousands of happy customers, the brand has developed a strong devoted fanbase, also known as “Slimthusiasts,” helping to fuel demand for the hand-breaded, cooked-to-order tenders. Slim Chickens has distinguished itself in the “better chicken” segment by offering high-quality food and 17 house-made dipping sauces, allowing customers to enjoy a different flavor profile with each visit. Its menu is broader than many in the category, offering chicken tenders, fresh salads, sandwiches, chicken and waffles, chicken wings and unique side items. Fans also resonate with the southern contemporary look and feel and the open and inviting layout of Slim Chickens restaurants, which speak to the hospitality mindset that anchors the brand.

To view Slim Chickens in the full ranking in both publications, visit www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500 or https://franchisebusinessreview.com/lists/top-franchises/.

For more information on the Slim Chickens franchise opportunity, visit slimchickensfranchise.com.

About Slim Chickens

Slim Chickens, a leading fast casual franchise which features dine-in and drive-through in the better-chicken segment, opened in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Offering high-quality food with a focus on fresh, delicious ingredients, the brand prides itself on its southern flair and commitment to hospitality, all in a fast-casual setting. Food is cooked to order, and the differentiated menu features chicken tenders, fresh salads, sandwiches, chicken and waffles, chicken wings and unique side items, alongside 17 house-made dipping sauces.

Today, there are more than 200 Slim Chickens locations open and 1,100 restaurants in development.

For more information on the Slim Chickens franchise opportunity, visit slimchickensfranchise.com.

To read the full story on Franchising.com click here: http://bit.ly/3lnerBE

Slim Chickens Adds 35 spots, 11 New Markets This Year

By In the News

September 4,2022

FAYETTEVILLE — Slim Chickens continues to expand its footprint nationwide with its restaurants moving into new markets even as the industry as a whole faces ongoing challenge from inflation and worker shortages.

The Fayetteville-based fast casual chicken restaurant chain said it obtained 120 new development agreements this year. That puts the company with more than 1,100 restaurants in various stages of planning.

In 2022 Slim Chickens has opened more than 35 spots in 11 new markets. In total, the chain has opened more than 185 locations in 30 states. It also has an overseas presence, with 27 locations in the United Kingdom.

The chain’s average unit volume in 2021, which equates roughly to revenue, is almost $2.5 million per restaurant, a new record. For the chain’s high-volume locations, that figure rises to $3.8 million, a nearly 14% increase compared with the year-ago period.

Slim Chickens was founded in 2003 and is privately owned. Ten stores in Northwest Arkansas are owned and run by the company while the remaining locations are franchise operations.

Slim Chickens competes in the fast-casual segment, where restaurants provide a slightly more formal dining experience compared with fast-food operations. While fast-casual restaurants don’t have a wait staff, servers generally carry food to tables.

Sam Rothschild, chief operations officer for Slim Chickens, said in a recent interview that business is strong and the chain is seeing success in new markets as well as in areas where the brand is well known.

Rothschild said drive-thru, delivery and meal pickup, all areas that the chain saw grow during the pandemic are all still key elements but added the chain is seeing customers return to its restaurants for sit-down dining.

Read the full story in Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette here: https://bit.ly/3I7YKac

Slim Chickens Opens First Location in North Carolina

By In the News

March 15, 2022

Slim Chickens, a leading fast-casual franchise in the better-chicken segment, has opened its newest restaurant — and its first in North Carolina — at 5535 Prosperity Ridge Rd. in Charlotte. Seasoned restaurant group Break Bread Ventures is at the helm of the deal.

“We are so excited to open our first location in North Carolina,” says Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens. “Partnering with talented and passionate operating groups like Break Bread Ventures makes adding Slim Chickens to new communities across the country easy — we can’t wait for everyone in Charlotte to get a taste of Slims!”

Slim Chickens first opened in 2003 in Fayetteville, Ark. Today, there are more than 155 Slim Chickens locations open and 800 restaurants in development. The brand recently launched a strategic multi-unit franchise growth initiative to reach 600 units in 10 years. For more information, visit www.slimchickensfranchise.com.

Read the full story is in Retail & Restaurant here: https://bit.ly/3tf1E5G

Slim Chickens signs 254 multi-unit agreements in 2021

By In the News


Slim Chickens, a fast-casual franchisor in the better chicken segment of the industry, is celebrating a strong 2021 so far with 254 multi-unit franchise agreements inked since January.

The brand has also opened 17 new locations this year, with plans for a further 35 before 2022.

“We knew we’d have a good year, but this year is on track to be one of the best yet,” said vice president of franchise development, Jackie Lobdell. “The chicken segment is exploding, and our leadership team, training, resources and franchisee validation continue to grab the attention of highly qualified restaurant operators who want to be a part of our story.”
Since the pandemic began in March 2020, Slim Chickens has achieved 14 per cent positive comp store sales growth, as well as systemwide revenue growth of over 35 per cent.

It has expanded into multiple new markets with its latest signings, including Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Tennessee, Colorado, and Virginia.

Founded in 2003, Slim Chickens currently operates more than 130 locations and has over 600 restaurants in development. This positions the brand well on track to achieve its goal of 700 units in 10 years.

This full article is online here: https://bit.ly/2To96MR.

Slim Chickens Plots Expansion in Fast- Casual Space

By In the News

Nov 23, 2021

Slim Chickens Development Co., a fast-casual franchisor, has signed several recent developments that will expand the 151-unit Slim Chickens chain, which features dine-in and drive-thru.

The company in November announced a deal for 10
locations in the Dallas area, with franchisees Farouk Jamal and Ali Poonja, after a 32-unit deal in September for cities in Arizona with Barnett Management Co.

Atlanta-based investment firm 10 Point Capital bought a significant stake in the Fayetteville, Ark. Based Slim Chickens concept in 2019, when it had just over 80 units. Jackie Lobdell, Slim Chickens’ vice president of franchise development, said in an interview, said, “Slim Chickens is in the better-chicken segment and specializes in chicken tenders and fries at our core.

“We focus on food,” she said. “We’re all about the food. we started in Fayetteville, Ark., 2003. We started franchising about eight years ago.”

Of the brand’s current 151 restaurants, nine of them are company-owned, Lobdell said. Lobdell said the brand seeks seasoned restaurant operators as franchisees, especially among franchisees of other brands that are looking to diversify into the chicken segment.

The pandemic and supply-chain issues did stall some development this year, she said. “We had planned this year for 45 to 50” new restaurants. “I think we’re going to be closer to between 40 and 45,” Lobdell said. “So it did have an effect, but we’re full steam ahead.”

Slim Chickens tenders are offered with a choice from among 17 dipping sauces. The brand is also known for its desserts offering in Mason jars.

The brand this fall opened its larges campus location at Liberty University I Lynchburg, Va.

“That is one of our largest campus locations,” Lobdell said. “It’s actually a freestanding building but on campus property and interestingly enough the president of Sodexo … went out to take a look at it because our numbers were so high.”

For the full story in Nation’s Restaurant News click here: https://bit.ly/3CY93rK