Slim Chickens Adapts to Expand Brand Overseas

February 3, 2019

When I last talked with Sam Rothschild, COO of Slim Chickens, the Southern fast-casual concept had just signed a major franchise agreement with Kuwait-based Alghanim Industries to expand in Kuwait and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

Fast forward two-plus years, and Slim Chickens’ second Kuwait restaurant has just opened in the Jazeera airport terminal and the brand is also in the midst of expanding in the United Kingdom through another international franchise agreement. It’s a lot of action for a brand that wasn’t actively looking to grow outside the United States and there’s been some useful learning along the way.

In the U.K., where Slim Chickens recently opened its second London restaurant to go along with a unit in the Wales capital of Cardiff, master franchisee Boparan Restaurant Group is quickly adapting to serve convenience-minded customers.

“Delivery is huge in London,” says Rothschild, something they didn’t initially anticipate. “So when they were building the second and third locations, they built in more space to accommodate drivers” from UberEats, which has been active in the city since 2016.

Boparan has big plans for Slim Chickens, expecting to open 50 units throughout the U.K. Already a successful operator and franchisor of its own brands such as Ed’s Easy Diner and Giraffe World Kitchen, Boparan sought out Slim Chickens because “they wanted a chicken concept” and the Fayetteville, Arkansas, franchise was the best fit, says Rothschild.

A challenge that’s emerged since signing the agreement with Boparan in early 2018 has been navigating the U.K.’s ban on genetically modified crops. The rule prohibits the importing of any GMO products, right down to “the traceability of an ingredient in a sauce,” points out Rothschild.

“So we have to work with our current suppliers and also with local manufacturers in the U.K. to get as close as they can to our ingredients,” he continues. A team from Slim Chickens corporate also traveled to London in the lead-up to the opening to ensure the menu of grilled chicken tenders, wings and dipping sauces passed taste tests.

In Kuwait, delivery is also proving to be big business, and Alghanim is working on its own strategic plan to integrate third-party deliver services into its operations, Rothschild says. Additionally, stresses Rothschild, “You’ve gotta have your legal ducks in a row.”

Slim Chickens hadn’t secured its international trademark and intellectual property protections before signing the deal with Alghanim, and while it eventually worked out, the process took longer than anticipated.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

“You’ve gotta have the right lawyers,” Rothschild laments.

All these experiences have pushed Slim Chickens executives to think more strategically about the future of international expansion for the brand.

“We’re going to have to make a decision as a company and as a brand, we’re going to have to make some commitments on infrastructure, more than what we’ve done,” if Slim Chickens is going to continue expanding its global footprint, says Rothschild. But at the same time, “We really don’t want to take our eye off our base business.”

Decisions on investing in international franchise sales and support will likely come in 2020. In the meantime, says Rothschild, Slim Chickens will continue its open-minded approach as it learns every day from its global counterparts.

Source: Franchise Times

This Is How You Can Get Your Hands On Free Chicken In Cardiff This Weekend

November 25, 2018

Renowned US brand Slim Chickens is winging its way to the streets of Cardiff this weekend to give consumers an “unmistakable flavour” of the American South.

The cult chicken restaurant, Slim Chickens, which is set to open in Cardiff next month, will be handing out free samples of the brand’s chicken tenders alongside its iconic dipping sauces, which come in 13 flavours including Garlic Parmesan, Mango Habanero, Honey BBQ, Blue Cheese and Sriracha Garlic to name a few.

Food fans will be able to treat their taste buds to moreish chicken and finger-licking sauces on the Hayes on November 23 and 24.

Slim Chickens will open its new 92-seater restaurant in St David’s on the 18th December.

The restaurant’s menu will feature freshly prepared signature chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches and chicken wings, as well as quintessential Southern sides, including mac and cheese, fried pickles and Texas toast. For those with a sweet tooth, there will also be milkshakes, fried pies and jar desserts on offer.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

Adding to the restaurant’s Southern ambience will be screenings of traditional American sports along with modern blues background music.

The flagship Cardiff launch comes six months after Slim Chickens opened its first UK restaurant in London with the world’s first dippable billboard.

Thanks to this success, UK franchise owners Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) are now aiming to roll out the American restaurant chain to other cities across the UK next year.

CEO of BRG Tom Crowley said:

“We are so excited to be bringing Slim Chickens’ unique American flavours, ambience, and hospitality to a whole new Welsh audience.

“Before the December launch, we wanted to give the people of Cardiff a sneak peek into our offering.

“With 13 moreish flavours to choose from, which perfectly complement our mouth-watering chicken, we think people will simply love our offering.”

Several launch parties and a promotional tour are planned for the Cardiff launch, so the brand is urging consumers to follow its social media channels @slimchickensuk for the latest updates and to download the ‘Slim Chickens UK’ app for a special treat when they officially open.

Source: Wales 247

American chicken chain Slim Chickens plans Liverpool opening

November 10, 2018

An American restaurant chain which specialises in hand-breaded chicken tenders, marinated wings and house sauces is planning to open in Liverpool. Slim Chickens, which has more than 70 outlets across the US, could be set to replace Ed’s Easy Diner on Lord Street.

Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) has submitted plans to Liverpool City Council for the fit out of Ed’s into the first Northern branch of Slim Chickens.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

If given the go-ahead, fowl fanatics can look forward to sampling Slim Chicken’s signature buttermilk marinated chicken tenders as well as chicken sandwiches and chicken wings.

Other items include Southern-style sides ‘mac and cheese’, fried pickles and Texas toast – with milkshakes, fried pies and jar desserts making up the sweet side of the menu.

Tom Gordon and Greg Smart founded Slim Chickens in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2003.

BRG secured a UK franchise deal with Slim Chickens USA at the start of the year before launching a restaurant on London’s James Street in March – with a Cardiff branch expected to open before Christmas.

Related: This Is How You Can Get Your Hands On Free Chicken In Cardiff This Weekend

The group’s other food brands include Giraffe, Harry Ramsden, Fish Works and Ed’s Easy Diner.

Source: YM Liverpool

US-imported chicken restaurant chooses Cardiff for second UK site

October 23, 2018

US import Slim Chickens has chosen a shopping centre in Cardiff as the location to launch its second site on these shores.

The scheduled opening of the new 92-cover site in the St David’s shopping centre follows the successful launch of the brand’s UK flagship near Oxford Street in central London. The company has plans to open more sites across the UK.

The openings come as the result of a franchise deal between the Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG) and Slim Chickens.

Related: Fast Food Franchises in the UK – 10 Things Every Would-Be Franchisee Must Know

The restaurant – which operates 80 Stateside outlets and has plans to open a further 600 restaurants across the US – serves a fast-casual menu chicken and Texas-inspired sides.

Alongside the restaurant’s signature buttermilk-marinated fried chicken tenders and sandwiches, sides include Texas toast; fried pickles; and macaroni cheese. Diners can choose from 13 house dipping sauces, and a range of fruit pies and desserts is also available.

The new restaurant will have self-ordering kiosks, and will offer delivery and a click-and-collect service.

“We are delighted to be introducing Slim Chickens to St David’s. Cardiff is a lively city with a fantastic student population and booming food scene. It was the obvious choice for us to open our first regional restaurant outside of London,” says Tom Crowley, CEO of BRG

Related: American chicken restaurant chain Slim Chickens plans Liverpool opening

“We always knew this brand was a good fit for the UK and Ireland and we are pleased with the speed at which Slim’s has already established itself. We’re looking forward to opening in Wales and extending the Slims base into more sites next year.”

Boparan Restaurant Group’s portfolio includes various restaurant concepts including Harry Ramsden, Giraffe Restaurants, Burgers & Cocktails, FishWorks and Ed’s Easy Diner.

Source: Big Hospitality