Coming off the most impactful year in the company’s history, Deviney says the brand will increase the pace to 50 openings in 2020, which will be the standard going forward. This year, the growth will occur in the Midwest and South in state like North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Virginia, Texas, Arkansas, Florida and the 17th state, Indiana. Later in the year, Chicken Salad Chick will add a handful of states in which to sell territory so it can plant seeds for growth in the next few years.
The brand also signed 26 franchise agreements in 2019 to develop 60 new restaurants.
Chicken Salad Chick uses a concentric model to grow. Logically speaking, the next expansion circle should extend to areas like New Mexico, Colorado, and Maryland on the East Coast.
“Then once that happens you just start selling franchises and they start opening and it just grows the brand awareness state by state,” Deviney says. “That’s the plan.”
Deviney notes that Chicken Salad Chicks hasn’t had major obstacles to growth partly because it remains disciplined in growing concentrically and not moving too fast for the team to handle.
Of course, there are some challenges, but ones that every other growing brand is facing—finding reasonably priced real estate, acquiring and retaining talent, and building brand awareness.
“We’ve been extremely focused on [the concentric model] and that has helped us without having some of the pitfalls that other companies might have,” Deviney says. “We haven’t stretched distribution, we haven’t stretched the brand really too far. And that’s what we’ve been so focused on is making sure we’re doing it the right way. Could we have grown faster? Possibly, yes. We felt like when we opened 24 restaurants in 2018, we opened 40 restaurants in ’19, and open 50 this year, we’ve been building to this.”’