Slim Chickens' Goal: By 2025, 600 Outlets

by Jan Cottingham  on Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 12:00 am  

However, Gordon said, “we weren’t satisfied with anything any of our competitors were doing at the time, so we just went out on our own and put together our own brand.” The partners started testing products in 2002 and opened their first restaurant the next year.

(The pair started out as a trio. Ryan Hodson was the third partner when Slim Chickens began. But in 2012, Hodson filed suit in Washington County Circuit Court claiming, among other things, that he was “pushed” out of the business and alleging breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The suit was settled in May 2013 and dismissed with prejudice.)

Smart said Slim Chickens has signed commitments from franchisees for 20 more outlets. “Our plan is to be at 50 commitments by the end of this calendar year,” he said.

None of the chicken served at Slim Chickens is ever frozen, the partners said. “Fresh is better,” Smart said. “We cook everything to order.” Also setting the brand apart is its emphasis on customer service, Smart said.

The partners’ desire to grow to 600 is ambitious, they acknowledged. But “we are, to our knowledge, the fastest-growing restaurant company based in Arkansas,” Gordon said.

Smart and Gordon noted some recent good publicity from Thrillist, a lifestyle website, which mapped all 50 states’ “most significant chain restaurants” and listed Slim Chickens for Arkansas.

Said Gordon: “I think that while it took a few years to get it organized and effective, we are in a position now to really capture fast growth and we’re real excited about the future.”



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