Slim Chickens CEO Sees Different Strategies Used in Pandemic


Slim Chickens CEO Sees Different Strategies Used in Pandemic
Tom Gordon, CEO and co-founder of Slim Chickens, holds his namesake "Slim's Plate".

As the leader of a multinational company, Tom Gordon has a better perspective than many on government handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gordon is a co-founder and CEO of the fast-casual restaurant chain Slim Chickens, based in Fayetteville. Slim Chickens has 107 restaurants. Most of those are in the United States — Slim Chickens can be found in 17 states — but it also has seven locations in the United Kingdom and two in Kuwait, with a third on the way in that Middle Eastern nation.

Whispers visited with Gordon after Slim Chickens had announced that it was suspending dine-in service at its seven restaurants in northwest Arkansas and its Fort Smith eatery. The chain cited the rising rates of COVID-19 infection in northwest Arkansas for the decision.

All the U.K. restaurants have reopened, and Whispers asked Gordon about the difference in the pandemic response between the U.K. and the U.S.

“I think it’s a very fair question, and I can only comment on what I see and I hear from our partners in the U.K.,” he said. “But the U.K. had a nationwide lockdown and then reopening strategy, where the United States has had a state-by-state, city-by-city strategy.

“And it seems that the back-and-forth travel across state lines and the different regulations by city and by state — that lack of cohesiveness just has not been able to tamp down the spread of the virus like the national strategy that we saw in the U.K. seems to have done.”

Gordon added: “Political affiliations aside, we would like to see the United States recover and we’d like to see our restaurants — and everybody across the U.S. — do the right thing and try to beat this thing.”