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Franchise Deep Dive: Slim Chickens’ Franchise Costs, Fees, Profit and Data

The fast-casual chain has come a long way since its beginnings in the garage of its co-founders.




REPORTED COST TO GET IN: $1.6 million to $4.4 million

REPORTED ROI (Item 19): $3.864 million (Group 1 locations)

Slim Chickens is a fast-casual chicken chain. It began when founders Greg Smart and Tom Gordon discovered a niche in the market and decided to start the brand from their garage. After testing recipes and building a business plan, the pair launched the first Slim Chickens restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas in 2003.

Now over 20 years later, the chain is famous for its hand-breaded chicken tenders, fresh hot chicken sandwiches, made-to-order wings, house-made dipping sauces and its southern hospitality. The brand began franchising in 2011 and has since opened more than 80 U.S. franchises, as well as over 10 internationally.

How Many Locations Are There?

Slim Chickens has approximately 250 units open, including franchises and corporate locations. 

When the company began franchising, it had a goal of reaching 600 units by 2025. However, the brand is on track to exceed that number with 1,200-plus stores in the pipeline. 

The franchise opened 53 locations in 2023 and expects to debut around 70 in 2024. Additionally, Slim Chickens signed more than 400 development deals across two years and experienced 70 percent growth over the last three, meaning it opened a store per week to get to 250. In the fourth quarter of 2023 alone, the franchise inked 54 agreements with operators looking to grow in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Maryland and Texas. 

What Is the Business Model?

Slim Chickens' business model combines a focus on quality ingredients, menu customization, a welcoming customer experience, community involvement, and franchise opportunities to drive growth and success in the competitive fast-casual dining industry. Key elements of the business model include: 

Quality Ingredients: Slim Chickens emphasizes using high-quality, all-natural ingredients, such as premium chicken tenders marinated in fresh buttermilk and hand-breaded using a special process to lock in moisture.

Menu Customization: The restaurant offers a diverse menu with customizable options, including various dipping sauces, sandwiches, salads, wraps and seasonal desserts, catering to different tastes and preferences.

Customer Experience: Slim Chickens aims to provide a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for customers, with open and modern architecture, comfortable seating and vibrant murals tailored to each local community. They also promote the idea of shared meals and gathering with friends and family.

Community Involvement: The company is committed to giving back to the communities it serves through initiatives such as sponsoring local sports teams or donating proceeds to charities, aiming to make a positive impact on the local community.

Executive Team Support: Slim Chickens boasts passionate leadership with a focus on maintaining brand integrity and supporting franchisees throughout their business journey.

How Much Can Slim Chickens Franchise Owners Make?

In 2023, the average-unit volumes for Slim Chickens increased by 13.6 percent, QSR Magazine reported. Specifically, its Group 1 locations, as reported in a recent FDD Item 19, achieved an average revenue of $3.864 million per location.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Slim Chickens?

Slim Chickens does not include investment information on their franchise development page. However, Entrepreneur reports that the investment ranges from $1.6 million to $4.4 million. 

What Is the Franchise Fee for Slim Chickens?

Entrepreneur reports that the franchise fee is $15,000. 

Who Are the Leaders of Slim Chickens?

What Helpful Articles Can I Read to Learn More?

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