Chicken Salad Chick, a popular lunch spot across the South, is expanding into central Arkansas.
The Alabama-based chain, which already has locations in Fayetteville and Jonesboro, announced on Thursday that it is currently renovating a space at the Shoppes of Benton, that is home to T.J. Maxx and Hobby Lobby, among other retail spots.
There are plans afoot for more spots in Arkansas as Chicken Salad Chick according to a Facebook page set up for the Benton location, in addition to plans for a location in North Little Rock as well. The company’s website also said Fort Smith was a territory available to be franchised.
The restaurant, which began in co-founder Stacy Brown’s kitchen in 2008, has since experienced rapid growth with 149 locations in 16 states, with more on the way.
The main draw for Chicken Salad Chick is as obvious as the name as the restaurant features more than a dozen chicken salad flavors that can be had with greens or on a sandwich. There’s also soups and excellent cookies for dessert.
AL.com, the website for the Birmingham News, reported that the chain opened 40 locations in 2019 with expansion into Ohio and Illinois. The Birmingham News also reported that the chain has 29 franchise agreements in place to open 60 locations with Kansas City, and Austin, Texas on the list, in addition to central Arkansas.
The company’s website added it would like to grow by “30 to 40” locations a year with the goal to have 400 in total by 2025.
The growth is fueled by new ownership at Brentwood Associates, a private-equity firm in Los Angeles, which acquired a majority interest in the company. Since the company is privately-held, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Chicken Salad Chick is not open on Sundays and has hours that are typically from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. It was also recognized in 2019 as one of the top food franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.
Opening week at any new Chicken Salad Chick is an event, much like a certain other chicken restaurant with Southern roots. Opening days typically has free food, and the first customer will receive one large chicken salad a week for an entire year while the next 99 guests receive a free large chicken salad per month, while the entire week will have various goodies and giveaways for customers.
The Shoppes of Benton, where Chicken Salad Chick is currently setting up its coop, is managed by GBT Realty of Brentwood, Tennessee in the Nashville suburbs. The company says the development, that opened in 2017, is at 99.2 percent capacity with only 1,400 square feet remaining out of 173,546 total.
Arkansas Money & Politics has reached out to Chicken Salad Chicken for comment.