There’s a lot to love about Bojangles, a true three-daypart franchise.

There aren’t many quick-service brands that complete 36 percent of their sales before 11 a.m., but Bojangles is no ordinary brand. With three profitable dayparts and a $1.9 million AUV across 770-plus units, the iconic Southern brand has been growing both inside and outside of its core market of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Jose Costa, chief growth officer at Bojangles, thinks he knows why the brand has been so successful in transitioning to “contiguous” growth states such as Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and beyond, to places like the midwest and northeast.

“We do a lot of consumer research before we venture out into what we refer to as ‘frontier markets,’ or markets outside of our core four states,” Costa says. “We understand the places where our menu and brand will have success, and we’ve also assembled an incredible management team over the past two years to make that happen. And the proof is in the pudding—our franchise owners, many of whom have been with us for over 30 years, want to keep growing with us.”

The Bojangles menu is perfectly positioned for the nationwide boom in sales of chicken, which has become a $27 billion industry. With “fresh, never frozen” chicken served in all three dayparts—and scratch-made biscuits and other breakfast fare served all day long—the brand’s expansion has come with great hype that the Southern-style recipes and food always deliver on. As an example of the fervor with which “Bo” fans feel for the Bojangles product, a general manager in Merion, Illinois, reports customers traveling four or more hours via car to try the brand’s famous bone-in chicken.

“It’s incredible the amount of loyal followers we have,” Costa says. “I recently posted on LinkedIn that we are coming to Texas, and the response was overwhelming. Everyone was saying, ‘We’ve been waiting, we love your chicken.’”

Costa also believes that the brand loyalty has been built with the help of a seasoned stable of franchisees who typically sign on to open 3-to-5 stores in the first 3-to-5 years, backed by robust system support and management training programs that put them in a position to be successful. Each new franchise partner completes a 26-week training course at the “Bo University” training facility. The franchisor provides support for real estate, construction, marketing and in-house technology like a POS system to help franchise partners focus on growing their business. Helping in that process is a franchise business director, who helps guide franchisees by using key performance metrics to identify both a franchisee’s strengths, and their areas that could be improved upon.

The brand has the best luck with store owners that live in their market and are invested in the day-to-day operations of their stores, with, as Costa puts it, a “maniacal focus” on service. Costa relays a story that speaks volumes about what makes a successful Bojangles franchisee: he was recently with Tommy Haddock, a franchisee in the Raleigh-Durham area with over 50 stores who has been with the brand for over 30 years.

“We got out of the car, and he saw a napkin on the ground in the parking lot,” Costa says. “He picked up the napkin and threw it out. To me it showed why he’s been so successful: he puts the guest experience ahead of himself. He thinks like an owner, because he is one. That’s the type of person we’re looking to grow this Southern brand with outside of the south.”

For more on franchising with this beloved chicken brand, visit the Bojangles website.

By Charlie Pogacar

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