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.
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