Some brands are built to last—that’s what Slim Chickens’ franchisees have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. While much of the industry has suffered through the last couple of months, Slim Chickens has exhibited positive year-over-year comp sales.
How are they doing it? One of the biggest pivots the purveyor of fresh-made chicken tenders and wings made at the outset of the pandemic was to promote curbside pickup and their high-performing drive thru to the almost 300,000 users of their mobile app. In their own words, they noticed the dining room moved to the parking lot, and quickly provided signage for all of its units in the brand’s footprint across the country. Through a coordinated effort with the marketing team, Slim Chickens was quickly able to connect with their core customers through various promotions, and within a week in the middle of March, the results began to show system-wide.
“The majority of our franchisees are franchisees of other brands,” says Slim Chickens COO Sam Rothschild. “We’re consistently hearing from them that we’ve outperformed those other brands not just in sales, but also in leadership and agility as well. Because ultimately, it’s that leadership, agility, and collaboration with and from our franchisees that has led to the positive comp sales that they are seeing.”
The franchisor also allowed for a reduction in franchising royalties from mid-March through the end of April as franchisees found their legs, something many of them were grateful for. That maneuver was on-brand, according to some of the franchisees that have grown to love working with Slim Chickens.
“Everything Slim Chickens has done during this pandemic has shown that they understand their franchisees’ success is their success, and that’s pretty obvious from the moment you come on board,” says Mike Sartwell, a franchisee in North Dakota. “For us to be able to see sales increases as a brand over the last few weeks, that just speaks to what Slim Chickens, as a brand, has been able to accomplish through strong leadership.”
Sartwell is so sold on Slim Chickens that he signed a franchise agreement for the rights to several cities in Montana, accounting for one of the five franchise agreements that Jackie Lobdell, who heads up franchise development, has signed since the beginning of the pandemic. Those five agreements include a total of 33 new units the brand will be adding to the more than 370 restaurants currently in development,. This is just further evidence that nothing, not even a pandemic, can slow the brand’s momentum.
One of the things Slim Chickens and its franchisees are seeing is that this otherwise unfortunate moment is a once-in-a-generation business opportunity: The scarcity of quality real estate and restaurant talent that had plagued the industry for years has now been turned on its head. Slim Chickens, which is adept at real estate conversions, fully expects to expand under the circumstances, especially considering the way they’ve performed so far—it’s clear that there’s a growing demand for their product, and they plan to deliver.
“The corporate office, at all levels—whether it’s training, marketing, the CEO, the COO—the communication has been wonderful during this time, and even before this,” says Harold Wallace, a multi-unit Slim Chickens franchisee in the Nashville metro area. “They’ve given us some wonderful tools, and backed it up with marketing and social media that has allowed us to maintain and even grow our business. I can’t say enough about this brand.”
To find out more about how you can become one of the latest franchisees to sign an agreement with Slim Chickens, visit the brand’s website.