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With No Pandemic Furloughs, Slim Chickens Opens 2 More LocationsLock Icon

2 min read

Even in a pandemic, the world keeps turning and restaurants keep opening.

In fact, a couple of Slim Chickens restaurants opened in Arkansas last month, one at 2200 E. Main St. in Russellville and one at 402 E. Beebe-Capps Expressway in Searcy.

The new Russellville location is the 10th store for Slim Chickens Dixie Chicken LLC, according to Tom Gordon, CEO of Slim Chickens, the homegrown franchise chain based in Fayetteville. He says the Slim Chickens Dixie Chicken franchise group is looking to open 15-20 Slim Chickens restaurants during the next three to five years.

The names behind the new Searcy restaurant are Scott and Cody Davis and Josh Rowden of DHR Franchise Group, which opened its first Slim Chickens outlet in Southaven, Mississippi, last July.

Slim Chickens now has more than 100 stores, with 21 of them corporate-owned.

In an email interview with your Whispers staff, Gordon described some of the challenges faced by the chain during the pandemic.

“I think that everyone was a little scared the first two weeks,” he said. “Comps were down, which is something that we battled through, but beyond that we have adjusted well, particularly due to our app, online ordering and our drive-throughs. After the first two weeks, we really got our sea legs and are fortunate to be in a position today that overall as a brand we’re doing well and are continuing to serve and open up new stores.”

Gordon said Slim Chickens restaurants had remained open for curbside pickup, drive-through service and delivery and are now beginning to gradually reopen for dine-in business, varying by franchisee and by individual stores. “We are following all federal, state and local mandates to keep our employees and guests as safe as possible during this time,” he said.

Asked about potential permanent changes to the way the chain does business, Gordon expects that drive-thru service “will continue to be a bigger part of our business along with our app and online ordering.”

What’s been the hardest thing for you personally about this unprecedented situation?, we asked the CEO.

“I worry about the health of the world, the economy and how things will work out,” Gordon said. “But we have been fortunate not to have had to furlough or lay off any employees and have been able to keep everyone paid and everyone employed.”

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