Wednesday, April 7, 2021

[EXCLUSIVE] Slim Chickens Crosses States Lines, Entering Georgia

A new-to-market chicken chain is looking to find success where another failed.  Slim Chickens, based in Fayetteville, Arkansas, plans to open a new location in Evans in place of PDQ.  Based in Tampa, PDQ opened its ground up location in the Augusta suburb of Evans in 2014, but closed it in late 2019.  The roughly 4,200 square foot state of the art freestanding building features the all important drive-thru and was built specifically for PDQ. 

The offerings of Slim Chickens and PDQ are quite similar, with both concepts featuring menus primarily focusing on chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, salads and shakes.  That said, one has to wonder why one new-to-market chain thinks it will fare better than a different then new-to-market chain did in the same space, selling similar food.        

In January, Slim Chickens signed a multi-unit agreement with Southeast Slims Hospitality LLC to develop twelve restaurants across eastern Georgia, including Savannah and Augusta, and western South Carolina.  The Evans restaurant is believed to be the first of the group's planned area units.  

The first Slim Chickens opened in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 2005, a second location opened in the nearby city of Rogers.  A decade after its launch, the first franchise location opened in Texarkana, Texas. The company celebrated the opening of its 100th location this past December in Little Rock.   In addition to their domestic presence in nineteen states, the company has also expanded internationally with outposts in the United Kingdom and Kuwait.  

In July 2019, Slim Chickens brought on Atlanta-based private equity firm 10 Point Capital as a minority investor.  Although the size of the investment was not revealed, company executives indicated that the funds would be used to propel the chain towards its goal of 600 restaurants and $1 billion in annual sales in the next 10 years.  The company indicates that it or franchisees have more than 360 units already committed to open.  

Fried chicken, like burgers, is incredibly competitive, with several new concepts like Slim Chickens hoping to be the next big thing.  Industry leaders Popeyes and Chick-fil-A each operate more than 3,100 and 2,600 units, respectively, while upstart concepts like Zaxby's and Raising Cane now operating more than 900 and 500 restaurants, respectively.  

Guthrie's, viewed by many as the granddaddy of many today's growing chains, currently operates 35 restaurants, but is again growing after years of stagnation and closures.  Huey Magoo's, another me-too chicken tender chain, today opened its 17th overall location in Valdosta.  The Orlando-based chain was sold this past November to a group of former Wingstop executives who hope to re-create the success they experienced with the wing joint with plans to open several hundred locations, primarily of the chain's "express" format.   

Have you ever been to a Slim Chickens?  What is your favorite chicken tender restaurant?  What fast casual/quick-serve brand would you like most to see expand in metro Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below.  

2 comments:

Greenwave said...

Never been but I would try them out just for their logo alone.

BigRedDogATL said...

I really wish that PDQ would enter the Atlanta market, especially in the North Fulton area. They would blow Zaxby's out of the water. They freshly cook the Chicken Tenders and have a wide variety of dipping sauces, with their creamy garlic sauce my favorite.

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