Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken recently hosted its “Family Reunion” Brand Conference in Louisville, KY, bringing together employees and franchisees to recognize their top performers. A highlight of the event was having the daughter and granddaughter of the brand’s founder and namesake, Lee Cummings, on-hand to kick off the conference.

“Our annual Brand Conference is an opportunity to honor our amazing team members and spotlight their achievements,” says Ryan Weaver, CEO of Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken. “We look forward to this event where we get to reconnect with our franchisees, employees and partners across our system. It is a time of celebration and an opportunity to look to the future for our company. We have made a variety of changes this year, so there was a lot of energy in the room.”

Perhaps the biggest moment of the event was the unveiling of a new restaurant prototype designed by Chute Gerdeman that will launch in 2024. Amidst the excitement, the announcement of the new restaurant prototype marks a significant leap for Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken as it ventures into a contemporary era, offering a fresh look that is complemented with smart design elements that will enhance the customer experience, including a dual drive through, online ordering pick-up area, and more. Watch the interior prototype video here and the exterior video here.

“As we grow and evolve the Lee’s brand, we also seek ways to attract new franchisees,” continues Weaver. “Our new prototype offers both existing and new partners a modern design that streamlines operations and enables them to perform better while also benefiting their bottom line. Our new design can also be adapted for our existing restaurants, and conversion opportunities.”

In addition to the new prototype, the 2023 Lee’s Family Reunion Brand Conference featured an awards ceremony that recognized top performers. Franchisees were honored for their passion, dedication, and exceptional efforts to grow the Lee’s brand. The award winners this year include the following.

Lee’s Legacy Award: Kim & Scott Griffith, former multi-unit franchisees from Ohio

Operator of the Year Award: The Erdmann Family, Milan TN

Rising Star Award: The Smith Family, New Albany & Corydon IN

Local Marketer of the Year Award: Ryan & Wanda Hoehn, Delphos, St Marys & Wapakoneta OH

Pacesetter Award: Henry Loving, Richmond VA

Lee’s also introduced a new team of marketing & public relations partners, including Plein Air, Ink Link Marketing and SLWM. The agencies will support the Lee’s Famous Recipe® Chicken brand and it’s restaurant operators.

Plein Air, a creative company built for restaurant brands, is now Lee’s digital agency of record. Plein Air is a strategic partner for brand management, creative development, & media buying. Plein Air is tasked with refreshing the Lee’s website & mobile app and will introduce a new and improved loyalty program, aiming to provide a more cohesive customer experience. Ink Link Marketing is a leading public relations firm that specializes in food and beverage as well as franchising communications. Ink Link Marketing is set to raise the profile of Lee’s brand and raise awareness around the brand’s evolution and growth. SLWM, a tech-enabled marketing activation partner, will support Lee’s growth by providing a blend of tactical creative design, enabling technology and omnichannel sourcing, production and distribution management. SLWM has been tasked with bringing the updated brand to life through local marketing, campaign activation and employee/community engagement at the restaurant level.

“This new roster of agency partners has us better positioned to tackle the growth ahead for our brand. The increased efficiencies, brain power and bandwidth are all vital for us as we look to the future,” says Dan Sokolik, Vice President of Marketing at Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken.

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