Chicken Salad Chick Hatches New Concept: Pop-Up Drive-Thrus

Fast casual brand expands curbside pickup, delivery options.

Chicken Salad Chick has used some creativity to roll out new concepts including popup locations, curbside pickup and local delivery.

The Southern-inspired, fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept has quickly adapted operations. Among its recent innovations: pop-up drive-thrus.

About one-third of the brand’s 155 locations have drive-thrus, and they have remained open for business, explains Tom Carr, Chicken Salad Chick’s VP of Marketing. The other 100 locations have added pop-up drive-thrus.  These locations have been setting up a tent outside of the restaurant where guests can drive-up, order and have the meal delivered directly to their car. The brand also added curbside pickup.

Chicken Salad Chick was able to mobilize an off-premises model quickly, thanks to its integrated digital ordering and delivery platform.  “Through Olo, we’ve been able to adjust ordering specifications so guests can select their preferred method of pickup – whether it be curbside or through our Quick Chick pre-order community delivery/drop-off system,” explains Carr. Some other features include Donate A Meal, where guests can choose to donate a meal to a front line worker with the purchase of their own meal, as well as order loaves of Chicken Salad Chick’s white or wheatberry bread, or six-packs of its croissants.

Community Delivery Areas

All locations are offering local Quick Chick deliveries. “Quick Chicks are pre-packaged portions of our chicken salad flavors and, as the country continues to practice social distancing, the deliveries allow us to provide preordered Quick Chicks to more communities in the cities we serve,” Carr explains.

Here’s how it works:

Each location coordinates and announces drop off locations via their Facebook page. (Here's an example of the Mason, Ohio location page - Customers can then order online and specify it is a quick chick delivery through the platform or call the restaurant to place their order. Restaurants can choose a local meeting place, such as a high school, church or a designated parking lot, to distribute the preordered Quick Chicks directly to guests in their vehicles.

At Chicken Salad Chick about 85% of transactions, including digital and phone orders, are paid via credit card.  

“At the moment, we’ve continued to accept payments in whatever form is easiest for the customer,” said Carr.   

Chicken Salad Chick’s CravingCredits loyalty program is available through the app and has continued to be an essential tool. “Prior to COVID-19, our loyalty program provided 15% of sales with its 500K+ members,” said Carr. “Now, we’ve reinforced the use of our loyalty program through Triple Point Takeout Tuesdays, granting loyalty members 3 points per $1 spent on Tuesdays.”

Third-Party Delivery

Additionally, Chicken Salad Chick is testing third-party delivery options and is working with DoorDash and Postmates.

The company is expediting its roll out of Olo Dispatch, which was scheduled to launch later this year. “The IT team and marketing team are working quickly to integrate Olo Dispatch into our preexisting online ordering system,” explains Carr. Dispatch works with third-party delivery vendors and sends orders placed online to the third-party company that is either most cost-effective for CSC or that will be the quickest for the guests.  “…We are currently beta testing it all company markets and select franchise various locations,” Carr says. “The goal is to make it available to all owners and stores as soon as possible.”

Daily Communications to Franchisees

Carr says the brand has been “working tirelessly” to make sure franchises are set up for success and have all the details necessary to seamlessly implement the various operational changes. Chicken Salad Chick does a daily marketing newsletter to update franchisees on the latest marketing efforts, Olo updates and methods of sales. Plus there’s a monthly call with the CEO for the franchisees.

These changes have helped boost the bottom line for its corporate and franchise stores.

“Through these adaptations, we’ve successfully increased total sales by 16% within the past two weeks, sold over $845,000 worth of Quick Chicks alone, donated about 3,639 meals, and increased Family Pack sales by 33%,” said Carr.

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