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By In the News

Slim Chickens’ Best Year Yet is Merely a Stage-Setter for 2024

The Chicken Chain is Now Taking Aim at 1,000 Domestic Locations

01/09/2024 

Slim Chickens Has Grown By 70 Percent in The Past Three Years.

In the summer of 2019, Slim Chickens was an 84-unit brand with wide prospects. It had just secured funds from 10 Point Capital, the firm behind the growth of Tropical Smoothie Café (they exited in 2020) and, more recently, Walk-On’s and founder Brandon Landry’s offshoot second venture, Smalls Sliders.

The mark: Open 600 new locations over the next decade. Even then, as ambitious a figure as that was, namely in a category stuffed to the brim with competitors, CEO Tom Gordon knew it was merely “the first target on the wall.” Slim Chickens expected to eclipse the number. So did 10 Point Capital.

But all things considered, the fast casual had to start somewhere.

Accelerate to the present—a pandemic wedged in between—and Slim Chickens is coming off its most robust year yet. The chain opened 53 locations and believes it will debut north of 70 in 2024. Slim Chickens signed over 400 development deals across two years and experienced 70 percent growth through the last three, opening a store per week to get to the 250 or so on the map today. Fifty-four agreements were inked in Q4 alone, with operators looking to expand in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; central Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas. There are 1,200-plus stores in the pipeline, the brand says.

Meanwhile, average-unit volumes closed 2023 up 13.6 percent, with its Group 1 locations, according to a recent FDD Item 19, averaging $3.864 million per location.

Slim Chickens’ U.S. net grow in 2022, 2021, and 2020, was 31, 28, and five restaurants, respectively.

It entered 10 new territories last year, including the world’s largest airport in Istanbul, Turkey, and cracked into Nevada, Wisconsin, and the University of Arkansas Fort Smith.

One final metric—same-store sales climbed 40 percent over four years.

Gordon isn’t catching his breath. Slim Chickens new goal is 1,000 domestic and 500 international restaurants, he shared with QSR. “We talk about those goals all the time,” Gordon says. “And when we hit them, I don’t know. But those are the things that our organization strives for, and we look forward to developing out those areas that will allow us to hit those numbers.”

“Not just for us,” he adds, “but for franchisees and franchisee satisfaction, and the franchisees’ ability to build their business and grow their business.”

Gordon and cofounder Greg Smart thought up Slim Chickens in the latter’s garage. In 2003, it launched in a former sushi restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It would be two years before the brand cut the ribbon on store No. 2 and 11 before it decided to franchise. Six regional deals were struck that first year (2014) and Slim Chickens entertained its share of outside suitors hoping to infuse capital into a brand that’s fandom outsized its unit count. The brand ran into 10 Point Capital at a conference and discussions began. While Slim Chickens wasn’t initially interested, the groups found common ground. COO Sam Rothschild, a former consultant for the brand who also served as SVP of operations at Applebee’s International before joining in 2014, said previously Slim Chickens was attracted to 10 Point Capital’s history in scaling franchise concepts. Or put differently, the brand sought a partner who could drive impact beyond financing.

The capital backing enabled Slim Chickens to speed up the process. It could recruit more, hire additional talent, and operate from a less budget-constrained position when it came to payroll and travel, and other realities of trying to become a franchisor of choice throughout the country and beyond. Yet to an earlier point, one thing 10 Point Capital didn’t need to do was manufacture interest in Slim Chickens. It had already grown from a little more than a dozen units in 2014 to the 84 at time of investment. The following year, it had 45 franchise commitments. That would balloon to 112, 180, 235, 334, and 477 over the ensuing five years.

Interested parties all observed similar ticks, regardless of zip code—Slim Chickens’ Southern DNA and broad menu, from 17 house-made dipping sauces to tenders to chicken and waffles to mac and cheese bowls to fried mushrooms, okra, and pickles, didn’t struggle to grab buzz in perhaps the hottest battleground in all of quick service—from 2010 to 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, annual consumption of chicken in the U.S. increased from 82.8 average pounds per capital to 101.7 (projection; it was 100.6 in 2022). Beef declined in that same window from 59.3 to 57.9.

Gordon says change within chicken foodservice has stabilized a bit of late, but the last decade was revolutionary.

“I think we’ve been fortunate to be able to compete, stand out, and grow, in the face of several competitors that have done the same,” he says. “There’s lots that are smaller and regional and there’s room for everybody. I’m not against any brand. But we want to make sure that we continue to deliver on the promises we make to our franchisees and our guests that are going to get the quality, great products, with a smile, every time they come into the restaurants. That’s our mantra.”

Slim Chickens’ ascension forced it to become, and stay, agile. Growth is flowing through non- and traditional outlets, in the U.S. and overseas (namely the U.K.). There are conversions, stadiums, train stations, airports, malls, campuses, and on it goes. The brand listens to franchisees and responds.

Coming out of the pandemic, about 90 percent of the fleet were standalone drive-thru units, with some outliers—endcaps, inline locations on college campuses, and military bases.

Oreo cookie jar dessert

Gordon says Slim Chickens will continue to “do a lot of those,” speaking of drive-thrus. However, there’s undoubtedly a rolling focus to ensure the brand is presenting options to franchisees who want to grow with the brand, and for those who need a flexible entry point. One thing Gordon adds that Slim Chickens kept working on is making sure builds are friendly to third-party couriers trying to pick up food for delivery. “Make it easy for them to get in and out of our stores,” he says, “because that channel continues to grow.”

The brand’s continued U.K. growth provided strong learnings as well, since the entirely of that effort unfolded through in-line restaurants. Gordon says Slim Chickens can take what works there and deploy them to some of the biggest U.S. cities in the future.

Slim Chickens had had to make a few tweaks to its menu overseas and deal with different media regulations, but, generally, the observation isn’t all that different than what the brand experienced in its early days. “It’s about the same,” Gordon says. “People love the food. They love the product.”

“… When it all comes down to it with restaurants,” he continues, “you’ve got to serve great food and you’ve got to have great service, and you’ve got to do it with a smile. The fundamentals remain the same.”

Gordon says he feels fortunate to be at the controls of a brand that’s main directive is execution and evolution, not trying to sell a story or product that needs to be finessed. It’s helped insulate Slim Chickens during what’s admittedly been a rocky landscape. Permitting and construction are slower than they used to be. Interest rates have soared. So the ability to control and adjust to timelines has become a full-time occupation. As has learning to manage a P&L where rent doesn’t choke the business and operators understand how to deal with the dramatic jumps in labor. “I think we’re still, what is it, maybe two years now, learning how to live in the post-COVID world. We’ve got to give up on that excuse at some point,” Gordon says. “… It seems like every five or six years you have to retool and figure out how to take on the next five or six years. That’s the position for us now.”

At this stage in his leadership, Gordon says what he can’t ever do is limit opportunity. Slim Chickens’ role as a franchisor will be to remain operator centric no matter how large it grows, or how fast it gets there. Right now, the top aim is to take care of the current year pipeline with an eye on 2025.

The company has added tools as it’s expanded. It’s become better at site selection, architecture, and organizing how restaurants sit on lots and how drive-thru radiuses and parking lots work, etc., Gordon says. It’s become more efficient in plotting out markets and knowing where to go to maximize efficiency anywhere in the country. “Those are getting better as a function as learning,” he says. “It’s a function of recruiting high-caliber talent who knows how to do this work. And it’s a function of collaborative efforts with quality franchisees where we can work through issues and problems and opportunities and get to a result that makes sense for everybody together. That’s the magic and beauty of franchising and that’s why we do it.”

The brand evolved on the tech side, too, with kiosks, the present development of AI at the drive-thru, a curated Slim Chickens app, and online ordering platform.

The future is wide open: Slim Chickens plans to fill the U.S. as well as both sides of the Atlantic in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, the European Union, Turkey, and the GCC.

“People want it. We’ve sold out a lot of the country. There’s territory left,” Gordon says. “But the job now is really to put the stores on the ground and to make sure the franchisees are happy with how it’s gone.”

Read the Full Story in QSR Magazine here: LINK

 

By In the News

FastCasual reveals 10 most-read stories of 2023

The holidays are upon us and 2023 is almost over, which means it’s time for us to reveal the year’s most-read stories.

Published:12/27/2023

The holidays are upon us and 2023 is almost over, which means it’s time for us to reveal the year’s most-read stories. From restaurant openings and the loss of an industry leader to changes in ownership and award-winning brands, 2023’s most popular stories are below.

 

  1. Slim Chickens opens 2nd Maryland location
    Readers were interested in Arkansas-based Slim Chickens’ opening of its second location in Maryland, in the city of California.

“We are so excited to open a new location in Maryland bringing even more opportunities for chicken lovers to enjoy our southern comfort food paired with a variety of homemade dipping sauces,” Jackie Lobdell, Vice President of Franchise Development at Slim Chickens, said in a company press release. “Established operating groups like D&D Slims that are dedicated and eager to share Slims’ flavorful food and welcoming environment are the type of investors we are seeking to connect with.”

Read the full story in Fast Casual here- LINK 

By In the News

2024 Fast & Serious Winners: 11-20

12/28/2023

#11 Slim Chickens

Fast-casual chicken restaurants

CEO Tom Gordon is quick to credit franchisees and those running day-to-day restaurant operations for Slim Chickens’ growth. His corporate staff and the work culture they’ve built are likewise responsible. The chicken-focused chain, which is down slightly on this ranking from its No. 5 position last year, grew systemwide sales 117.9 percent from 2020 to 2022, hitting $361 million from 175 units. “We have done a lot of things right, but I think the two biggest reasons for our success is the restaurant owners we have selected to grow with and how our staff supports them,” Gordon said. “It has been so critically important to our sustainable growth to have selected franchisees who have had restaurant experience and have them sign multi-unit deals in the right markets.” Gordon also said a big strategy win for his company was tinkering with the prototype design of new restaurants that have a smaller footprint and emphasize drive-thru capabilities. It has helped the company better offset rising real estate and construction costs. “Every franchisee we sign now has a multi-store deal and we’re collaborating with them to build out all our restaurants in a thoughtful way, and I think that’s been another key to our success,” he said. As for the biggest challenges facing Slim Chickens moving forward, Gordon echoed what a lot of franchisors talk about these days: the high cost of construction and ongoing issues plaguing the supply chain. “Supply chain still presents some spotty moments for us, but as long as we continue to hire great people, great team members and continue to support them, we feel we can manage those things,” Gordon said.

Read the full story in Franchise Times- LINK

By In the News

Slim Chickens Opens New Restaurant at University of Arkansas

09/26/2023 

Slim Chickens announced its new restaurant opening in the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith located at 5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72904. Spearheaded by reputable multi-unit operating group, Compass Group/Chartwells, this is their fifth restaurant location.

The better-chicken brand has opened more than 240 locations across the United States and the United Kingdom. The brand is known and loved for its hand-breaded, cooked-to-order tenders and passionate group of followers within the markets it operates. With more than 1,150 locations in development, the brand’s momentum continues to prove its stronghold in its segment.

“We are thrilled to bring the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s campus the opportunity to enjoy our quality cooked-to-order chicken tenders and inviting atmosphere,” says Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens. “We are thankful for established operations groups like Compass Group/Chartwells who are just as dedicated to sharing our name and beloved recipe with more communities as we continue to solidify our reputation in Arkansas and across the country.”

The brand prides itself on its cooked-to-order fresh food and strong devoted fanbase, also known as “Slimthusiasts.” 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 segment, 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, as well as the open and inviting layout of Slim Chickens restaurants, which speak to the hospitality mindset that anchors the brand.

“We are so happy to open a location to the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith campus. As we continue to extend our presence and original quality recipes across the United States and globally, each location we open signifies the success in the service and support systems we have created for Slim Chickens franchisees,” adds Sam Rothschild, COO of Slim Chickens. “We are so thankful for operators like Compass Group/Chartwells who are dedicated to sharing our southern hospitality and cooked-to-order chicken tenders with more members of the community.”

Slim Chickens’ franchise opportunity differentiates itself with prime markets available for multi-unit development, a passionate leadership team and world-class franchisee support system. As Slim Chickens expands, it is awarding franchise opportunities to qualified, experienced and passionate multi-unit groups looking to add a dynamic segment to their portfolio.

Read the full story in QSR Magazine linked here: LINK 

By In the News

Slim Chickens Opens in Little Elm

September 13, 2023 // Franchising.com // AUBREY, Texas – Slim Chickens announced today its new restaurant opening at 750 Union Pl., Aubrey, TX 75068. Spearheaded by the Slim Brothers, this is the established multi-unit operating groups eighth location.

“We are thrilled to open another location in Denton County and in the state of Texas,” said Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens. “Operators like the Slim Brothers and communities like Little Elm attest to the dedication and hunger we have to continue to share our quality cooked-to-order chicken and inviting atmosphere in current and new markets across the country.”

The brand prides itself on its cooked-to-order fresh food and strong devoted fanbase, also known as “Slimthusiasts.” Slim Chickens offers 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 segment, 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, as well as the open and inviting layout of Slim Chickens restaurants, which speak to the hospitality mindset that anchors the brand.

“We are thrilled to open another location in the state of Texas,” said Sam Rothschild, CMO of Slim Chickens. “We are so thankful for operators like the Slim Brothers who are dedicated to sharing our southern hospitality and cooked-to-order chicken tenders with more members of the community.”

Read the full story in Franchising.com here: LINK 

By In the News

Flexible Formats Driving Slim Chickens’ Powerhouse Growth Strategy

Nimble leader in the better-chicken segment establishes its dominance.

08/28/2023 

Slim Chickens exterior

With its soaring success and rapid growth, Slim Chickens is a revolutionary player in the fast-casual restaurant industry. The better-chicken brand, known for its southern comfort food and hand-breaded chicken tenders, is making major strides across the U.S. and internationally as it heads into 2024. The widespread interest is attributed to the brand’s unique loyal following, adaptability to externalities, and high-touch executive team that is in tune with franchisees’ bottom line.

Opening 70 locations a year and on track to increase store openings by 50 percent into 2025, Slim Chickens is a powerhouse. Evident through its remarkable $3,864,513* AUV, it boasts a striking 13.6 percent year-over-year increase, making it an irresistible franchising option.

As the restaurant scene continues to evolve, Slim Chickens continues to evolve with it, constantly innovating to stay in tune with the latest technology and real estate trends and expectations of established multi-unit operators.

LOCATIONS: More than 235 total, 40 international IN DEVELOPMENT: More than 1,150 units AUV: $3.8M* SYSTEMWIDE Y.O.Y GROWTH: 35 percent

Now more than ever, operators are seeking flexibility, and Slim Chickens is ahead of the curve. The brand has developed a new store format that reduces costs while maintaining the distinctive Slim Chickens atmosphere, which allows the brand to accommodate smaller footprints without compromising on quality or customer experience.

Within the past six months, Slim Chickens has inked more than 50 new development deals, with over 34 new openings and 10 new territories, including Turkey, Nevada, and Wisconsin. Celebrating recent non-traditional openings at the Istanbul Airport and the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Slim Chickens showcases the robust systems it has in place, which consistently yield attractive returns for investors and garner a loyal following, solidifying its name in the industry.

Contributing to Slim Chickens’ allure is its reputation for brand consistency. Customers are satisfied around the globe for the anticipated mouthwatering food and welcoming Southern contemporary ambiance that anchors the brand. Whether on the go or dining in, it’s a compelling force and an asset to multi-unit operators in the ambitious chicken segment.

Bringing its presence to over 235 locations and 1,150 signed agreements in the pipeline, Slim Chickens projects to sign an additional 60 development deals this year, expanding its Southern hospitality into key markets through both traditional and non-traditional formats, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Canada, Germany, Malaysia, and the GCC.

As it continues its upward trajectory, the brand remains committed to providing franchisees and customers alike with an exceptional and unforgettable dining experience. With expansion plans reaching even greater heights, Slim Chickens invites talented, multi-unit operators to join its journey of growth and redefine the fast-casual dining experience.

Read more about Slim Chickens in Fast Casual here: LINK

By In the News

Franchisee works up from being a Denny’s busboy to owning the first Slim Chickens in New Mexico

Dennis Ekstrom was one of the largest Denny’s franchisees but now he has turned his attention mostly on Slim Chickens.

Slim Chickens 1.jpeg

08/04/2023 

If founders, chefs and other creatives are the beating heart of the restaurant industry, then franchisees are the veins delivering their ideas to all corners of the globe. Franchising is critical to the success of the industry, allowing brands to quickly scale their big ideas using other people’s capital. And whether it’s a mom-and-pop restaurant owner with one or two franchised restaurants or a seasoned veteran whose influence in the industry is well-known, franchisees — with all their individual attributes, styles and personalities — make a huge impact on the success of a business.

In this week’s installment of Franchisee Spotlight, we’re speaking with Dennis Ekstrom, who started out his career as a dishwasher at Denny’s, worked his way up to director of operations at the breakfast chain, and then left to become one of the biggest Denny’s franchisees in the U.S. He now owns many Denny’s and Del Taco stores, as well as the first Slim Chickens in New Mexico, with more to come.

Store count: 18 Denny’s, Del Taco, and Slim Chickens restaurants in New Mexico and Arizona, with several more Slim Chickens on the way in El Paso and Las Vegas

Background

I have over 50 years of history with Denny’s restaurants. I actually started out with them as a busboy and worked my way up through every rank in the Denny system and became a regional director out of Dallas, Texas, running 2- 300 restaurants for them back in 1995. I left that career at the height of glory and ended up getting involved with my first Denny’s  franchise ever… We built the largest Denny’s franchise company in the nation: 94 Denny’s over many years together. I sold all of those in 2019 [because I got ill] just before COVID. Since then, I managed to build five new Denny’s locations in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and then a couple of Texas. At the same time, we had 10 Del Taco restaurants that I decided to purchase myself, and I have a new one opening next week.  I have an active pipeline for all 3 brands along with new openings in August for Slim Chickens and Del Taco and a new Denny’s under construction. I’m a busy guy just go-go-go.

The key to successful ownership

There’s nothing like ownership: you learn everything in the world going up through the ranks. That’s how you grow up. In my case, you never forget where you come from. I relate to anybody and everybody and my whole theme and philosophy is you take care of your people and they take care of you. That’s the key to everything I do and exactly where I’m at today is because of many different people who believe in me and themselves and we put it all together for an all-star team. I have a lot of long-term highly tenured people that have been with me for a very long time for all the right reasons.

Moving up the corporate ladder

It does come down to energy, drive, and initiative. I was extremely competitive and just wanted to succeed and excel. As a young boy, I’ve always worked extra hard at everything I’ve done. harder than the person next to me…. All of those things combined really explains what I do as an individual. It gets in your blood and your DNA, and you can’t do anything else other than win.

Adding a third brand

We kept hearing about Slim Chickens and decided to do our homework. I actually flew out and met the entire team of executives and founders of the brand. They courted me, I courted them, and I fell in love with the brand. It’s a first-class company… a very simple, down-home brand. It’s not complicated. It doesn’t have a gigantic menu, like a Denny’s or Del Taco. It’s more focused. The business model was very attractive to me: it’s not 24 hours. It opens at 10:30 am and closes at midnight, so you don’t have to be open around the clock…. I initially signed up for the development rights of the entire state of New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. I opened up my first store and set a sales record for opening day for the brand… I plunged in and I bought the rights to the state of Wyoming and basically all of Las Vegas, so I’m pretty committed at this point. It’s the breakout brand of the decade to me.

Biggest challenges

The biggest challenge that we face is remaining competitive and keeping that cutting edge. It all comes down to attracting the right talent. If you have the right talent, people follow and they build their followings. You have to be one step better than your competitors. Competition only allows you that the opportunity to fail, and I’ve never failed in my life…. The biggest challenge is to keep that broad perspective and understand today’s market and the changes that everybody’s gone through over the past two or three years in business and exploiting that to the benefit of your brand and your people…. The people that have been with me all these years have raised families and built some beautiful careers for themselves as part of our brands.

Expansion goals moving forward

Denny’s was my first born, Del Taco my second born, and my newborn is Slim Chickens. All of the brands are in growth mode with an active pipeline. My goal is to create a $100 million company all wrapped up between all three brands. That’s a pretty big target. It’s going to take me about four to five years to make that happen, but that’s what I’m striving for.

Slims’ development rights are a little bit broader than what I have with Del Taco and Denny’s….

So that’s why Slims will probably get more focus from me over time, but I’m in love with all three brands. You can’t have a favorite child. I look at all three of my brands as one big family.

By In the News

Slim Chickens Earns Beloved Reputation with Eighth Location in Alabama

Slim Chickens Extends its Quality Cooked-to-Order Chicken Tenders in Athens

August 18, 2023 // Franchising.com // ATHENS, Ala. – Slim Chickens announced today its new restaurant opening at 1814 US Hwy. 72 East, 35611. Established multi-unit operating group, Legends Development, is spearheading the opening.

“We are thrilled to bring our southern hospitality and quality cooked-to-order chicken tenders to the community in Athens,” said Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens.

The brand prides itself on its cooked-to-order fresh food and strong devoted fanbase, also known as “Slimthusiasts.” 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 segment, 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, as well as the open and inviting layout of Slim Chickens restaurants, which speak to the hospitality mindset that anchors the brand.

“We are thrilled to introduce our southern atmosphere and cooked-to-order chicken tenders to the residents of Athens,” said Sam Rothschild, CMO of Slim Chickens. “We are so thankful for operators like Legends Development who are dedicated to sharing our southern hospitality and cooked-to-order chicken tenders with more members of the community.”

Read the full story in Franchising.com here: LINK 

By In the News

Slim Chickens making ‘Sparks’ in Nevada

07/06/2023

Fayetteville, Arkansas-based Slim Chickens has opened in Sparks, Nevada, at 351 Los Altos Parkway, under the direction of multiunit operating group, Roper Foods.

“We are thrilled to bring our southern hospitality and quality cooked-to-order chicken tenders to the community in Sparks,” Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens, said in a company press release. “With this being the first location opening in the area, it signifies the dedication and hunger we have for growth in new markets across the country.”

Slim Chickens has over 230 locations across the United States and the United Kingdom.

Read the full story in Fast Casual here: LINK 

By In the News

Slim Chickens Signs Big Deal to Grow in Maryland

06/ 21/2023 

Slim Chickens announced it has inked a deal for eight locations throughout Maryland. Spearheaded by established multi-unit operator, Phoenix Foods, LLC, plans to bring at least eight locations to Baltimore, Baltimore City, Harford, Carol, and Anne Arundel counties.

The better-chicken brand has opened more than 230 locations across the United States and the United Kingdom. With more than 1,100 locations in development, the brand’s momentum shows no signs of slowing down.

“As a generational franchisee, I looked up to my father who was the first franchisee of Burger King. I grew to learn and love all the ins and outs of the restaurant business,” says Brad Hoag, owner of Phoenix Foods, LLC. “Fast forward to my career, it has been gratifying to be presented with several opportunities in the fast-casual segment which I am the most passionate about. I am thrilled to bring a reputable name like Slim Chickens to my hometown where residents can enjoy quality cooked-to-order chicken and an inviting atmosphere in all day parts.”

Local to Baltimore, Hoag takes his extensive experience as an established multi-unit operator as well as a reputable local restauranter. Taking after his father, he is a seasoned franchisee as a former developer and operator of 10 Qdoba Mexican Grill locations eventually selling the units to Qdoba corporate and hosts 10 Burger Kings locations throughout the area. In addition, Brad also assumes a partnership with a local famous chef-driven concept known as Nalley Fresh in the Baltimore area. Interested in introducing a concept that can be offered in all-day parts, he brings Slim Chickens to the area to introduce Southern Hospitality and a beloved quality recipe that is unique to the chicken segment.

“Phoenix Foods, LLC is an ideal operator to extend Slims’ throughout Maryland. Backed by extensive experience in operating multiple fast-casual concepts and a reputation for quality service in the restaurant space, the group is a valuable addition to our team,” says Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens. “Brad’s deep roots in the Maryland market and compassion for his community will quickly make Slim Chickens a go-to mealtime destination.”

The brand prides itself on its cooked-to-order fresh food and strong devoted fanbase, also known as “Slimthusiasts.” Slim Chickens has distinguished itself in the industry 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 segment, 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 open and inviting layout of Slim Chickens restaurants, which speak to the hospitality mindset that anchors the brand.

“We are thrilled for our partnership with Phoenix Foods, LLC, and for the opportunity to share our southern hospitality and cooked-to-order chicken tenders with more communities throughout Maryland,” says Sam Rothschild, CMO of Slim Chickens. “Reputable operating groups like Phoenix Foods LLC are prime examples of who we look for to extend our inviting atmosphere, original recipe, and southern hospitality with more people across the globe.”

The Slim Chickens franchise opportunity differentiates itself with prime markets available for multi-unit development, a passionate leadership team and world-class franchisee support system. As Slim Chickens expands, it is awarding franchise opportunities to qualified, experienced and passionate multi-unit groups looking to add a dynamic segment to their portfolio.

Read the full story in QSR Magazine here: LINK