Industry News | March 16, 2013

Ezell's Famous Chicken Looks to Expand

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Family-owned and operated since 1984, Ezell’s Famous Chicken is now offering franchise opportunities for well-qualified individuals or multiunit candidates.

Ezell’s Famous Chicken maintains the hallmarks of a fast-casual dining brand, including strong perceived quality and market awareness, all linked to a crisp, made-from-scratch, Creole-marinated bird.

Even without Oprah Winfrey’s “the best chicken I’ve ever had in my life” blessing or a No. 1 vote by Esquire readers in 2012, Ezell’s Famous Chicken has demonstrated that it provides the fried chicken experience that customers want, growing to seven locations around the Puget Sound region in the last 25 years.

The company is looking to expand throughout the region and beyond with a projected franchise growth of six new stores in 2013.

The company has inked a multiunit deal with a local franchisee starting with restaurants in the Rainier Valley (April 2013) and Mill Creek, Washington (June 2013).

Additionally, the first international franchise is set to open in Dubai this summer, with anticipation of a comprehensive Middle East region master license to follow.

“From the beginning, the dream was for Ezell’s Famous Fried Chicken to be an international brand,” says owner Lewis Rudd. “I don’t know anything more rewarding and inspiring than bringing that dream to reality.”

To spearhead the company’s goals, Ezell’s recently partnered with Dennis Waldron, whose success stories include taking Cinnabon from a Seattle-area startup to 400 locations throughout North America and $150 million in system sales. 

Waldron has been busy putting together the franchise documents and the systems to enable more rapid and expansive growth for Ezell’s.

“Despite the economic downturn of the last several years, Ezell’s Famous Chicken restaurants have experienced consistently positive, annual same-store sales of 4 percent over the last several years. This success has already attracted many high-quality partners to the franchise expansion project,” Waldron says.

These partners include Gary Dethlefs, one of the country’s premier restaurant designers (Palisade, Palomino, Red Robin).

Individuals and organizations interested in harnessing the power of the Ezell’s Famous Chicken brand will need an initial capital investment of approximately $400,000–$600,000 per restaurant. The franchise fee is $20,000, plus 5 percent in royalties.