Chicken Salad Chick: Where We Began and Where We Are Going

Two customers enjoying Chicken Salad Chick

America’s south is home to some of the most beloved cuisines, known for their delicious flavors and recipes made with love. Chicken Salad Chick founder Stacy Brown loved making her grandmother’s chicken salad recipe, often serving it to her local friends and family. They loved it too, leading Stacy to embark on what would become a decades-long business success story that all started with a southern family dish from the heart. The legacy that Stacy put forth has since inspired today’s Chicken Salad Chick leadership to operate the business with a values-based and growth mindset, creating a restaurant culture that customers, employees, and franchise owners love.

Starting Small

When Stacy opened her first Chicken Salad Chick in Auburn, Alabama, she started small with just a few chicken salad recipes. After the success of her first Auburn location, Stacy realized the lucrative opportunity before her and entered the franchising space, growing Chicken Salad Chick throughout the South and expanding the menu. She curated over a dozen varieties of chicken salad, with each dish given a unique name based on the people who inspired its creation and phenomenal flavors to match. Despite having no prior experience in the restaurant industry, she had a great product and a passion for serving people. Kevin Brown, Stacy’s husband, played a crucial role in helping Stacy develop her passion into a prosperous company. He set up, oversaw, and improved the restaurant's operations while tirelessly working to make the kitchen more effective. Kevin optimized the company and pushed for the brand to become a franchise as Stacy improved her recipes. Together, they transformed a modest takeout restaurant in Alabama into a well-known chain of fast-casual eateries. Stacy’s knack for curating a welcoming and friendly atmosphere around serving her chicken salad not only helped the initial growth of the business but also created a valuable legacy that today’s leadership has solidly ingrained into the ways Chicken Salad Chick operates. Today, franchise owners maintain a commitment to creating a space where people feel welcome and appreciated for employees and customers alike.

Decades of Growth

Over time, Chicken Salad Chick has grown rapidly, with expansion throughout the Southeast and East Coast, the Midwest, and beyond. There are over 200 locations spanning 18 states, and Chicken Salad Chick’s franchising success has soared. Approximately 70% of Chicken Salad Chick locations are franchised, with the remaining 30% being company-owned. CEO Scott Deviney has led this growth since 2015 with a background as a franchise owner himself. Scott worked for SunTrust Bank as a director and SVP of franchise industry and retail management, as well as owning 25 Wendy’s franchises in Atlanta. Scott’s leadership has been the engine behind the company's franchise development and phenomenal growth, advising business owners to “be smart and disciplined about growth. There is pressure to grow and be large, but too many times companies fail because they grow too quickly or stretch the boundaries of supply chain and the marketing reach. If you have a great company, work on keeping it great and grow in a measured way,” said CEO Scott Deviney.

Successful growth is additionally rooted in fine-tuned operation systems with robust support for franchise owners on a high level, as well as creating a healthy work-life balance. Franchise owners Mike Saccone and John Schuster of Cary, North Carolina, comment that “Chicken Salad Chick has a great playbook…we leveraged the resources, franchisees, and other general managers to help us to run up the play.” Creating an amazing work-life balance for employees is also a high priority for Chicken Salad Chick and its franchise owners, offering employees shifts that don’t last late into the night, simplified scheduling accommodations, “and, of course, no business on Sundays.” A foundation of values, top-notch support, and the perfect chicken salad has been the recipe for success for those who partner with Chicken Salad Chick, and they can look forward to more of the same in the future.

Future of Success

Chicken Salad Chick’s entrepreneurial origins have led the business to phenomenal outcomes, today and in the future. Franchise Wire reports that in 2023, “chicken remains one of the hottest categories in the world, [and] new franchise chicken brands are growing at an amazing rate, including Chicken Salad Chick.” Our business is truly unique to all competitors as the only fast-casual chain in the industry that focuses on chicken salad. This year, we’re targeting 35 new restaurant openings in the Southeast, Midwest, West, and Southwest. In addition, we plan to expand next into Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. With glowing projections for the future of fast-casual, franchisees can be confident in their future success.

The first Chicken Salad Chick and the future it led to tells a classic American success story, one that began with a love for family, serving communities, and food made from the heart. Chicken salad may seem like a simple dish, but Stacy's recipes elevate it to something special that’s impacted the lives of those who become franchise owners and the communities they serve. Franchisees have benefited from the values-based legacy Stacy implemented from the start, and those looking to begin their franchising journey will feel the benefits of her impact from day one.

If you’re interested in learning more about franchising opportunities with Chicken Salad Chick, read more today: