Nieder knew Super Chix would do well in any market because of its quality. The restaurants don’t have freezers, except for custard, and nothing comes in prebreaded; people notice that difference, he notes. But that theory had to be tested and demonstrated. The first iteration outside of the original Dallas market came in American Fork, Utah, which is still the strongest store in the system.
The reason that location remains one of the best stores is because of changes Neider and company implemented once they arrived.
As Super Chix approached change, leadership recognized the fast casual was capable of a more frequent and broader customer base—as compared to Five Guys—because of chicken’s inherent diversity and better-for-you nature. So in addition to the grilled and breaded sandwiches and tenders, Super Chix added six salads to leverage chicken’s flexibility. The brand also removed a couple of sandwiches that weren’t performing well, switched from static menu boards to electronic versions, and updated the overall marketing and design schemes, or as Nieder explains, “We tried to make it much more hip.”
Real estate also became a key focus, which is a strength of Nieder's company. As a Five Guy’s franchisee, searched for dozens of sites in Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma, California, and Western Canada at a certain point. The combination of updated branding efforts and better real estate has tripled AUVs compared to the Dallas restaurants. Whenever Neider attends a new opening, the most comment he receives from customers is “this is the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever tasted.”
“We like that we've opened outside of the South now,” Nieder says, “We've shown the concept works and the AUVs are much greater, which we believe really affirms all of our strategic initiatives that we've pursued since 2018.”
With better unit-level economics and defensible proof of concept, expansion opportunities have exploded. Nieder says the strategy is not so much geography-based, but more so about the franchise partner—something he also learned from being a Five Guys operator. While with the burger brand, he served on the franchise council and oversaw the Southeast. At the time, US Foods was the distributor across the country, and that relationship worked well in the West with Neider’s stores. But through the franchise council, he discovered that it didn’t work as much in the Southeast.
From that experience, Neider learned that as Super Chix grows, he needs to choose the best fit market by market. Following that mindset, the chain has established strong partnerships with big distributors like Performance Food Group, Sysco, US Foods, and a few others that are growing.
“The reason that was important to me was, whenever we’re contacted by a prospective franchisee, I want to be able to tell them we're ready to go wherever you go, and that distributor relationship is really important,” Neider says. “And so what that does for us strategically is instead of being geography focused, we're focused on the franchise partners, meaning, as prospective franchise partners reach out to us, we select what geography we go to based on the strength of the franchise partners that we bring in.”