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Restaurant Veteran Harold Wallace Accelerates Slim Chickens’ Growth in Nashville

The multi-unit franchisee opened the chicken franchise’s newest location in Mt. Juliet.

Harold Wallace, a multi-unit franchisee with chicken franchise Slim Chickens, has been in the restaurant industry since he was 16 years old. Wallace discovered Slim Chickens when he met the brand’s COO, Sam Rothchild, who worked alongside Wallace in the restaurant industry for years. The Slim Chickens opening in Mt. Juliet will mark the third opening for Wallace’s franchise group, Life Changing Hospitality. The group is aiming to opening two more Slim Chickens restaurants per year until it reaches nine units throughout the greater Nashville region. 

1851 Franchise: How did you discover Slim Chickens?

Harold Wallace: I grew up in Iowa and graduated from the University of Iowa in 1990. I've been in the restaurant business my whole career — started at 16 years old. I used to work with the COO Sam Rothschild. He hired me 17 or 18 years ago to run Tony Roma's restaurants on the West Coast. I finished a completed a deal to open seven Old Chicago restaurants in 12 years and sold them back to the corporate office. I live close to the Hendersonville Slim Chickens store in Gallatin.

1851: When did you get involved professionally with the brand? 

Wallace: Sam Rothschild introduced me to my three partners three years ago. They had one Slim Chickens in Murfreesboro up and running, but the man running operations died of a heart attack. Sam called me up and I was able to step in and take over that role. 

1851: What about franchising with Slim Chickens appealed to you?

Wallace: It's a good brand. Chicken is a hot segment, and we do it better than our competition. Our product and offerings are better. It's a fun concept and we have a great story to tell. The southern feel of Slim Chickens really resonates well with people in the area. 

1851: What makes Mt. Juliet, TN a good market for Slim Chickens?

Wallace: It’s a growing community, with both Amazon and Underarmour developing warehouses here. Amazon’s will be 3.6 million square feet. These two warehouses are bringing thousands of new employees to the area. 

1851: Do you have plans to open more locations?

Wallace: Our goal is to get to two per year if we can find real estate deals. Our original contract was for 9 stores. There's plenty of room just in Nashville where we want to grow. Commercial real estate can be tough, though because everyone is fighting for the same piece of dirt. A lot of markets can be very expensive with over-inflated prices. Tennessee is a very business-friendly state, there is no state income tax, and it's family-friendly.