Chicken Salad Chick Ramps Up Expansion

The brand's aggressive franchise expansion plans include 40 new locations to open by year-end. More than half will include drive-thrus.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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2021 has been a successful year for Chicken Salad Chick. During the first half the year, Chicken Salad Chick opened 17 new locations, including market debuts in South Florida; Roanoke, Virginia; and Indianapolis, Indiana, and total system sales are up +50% year-over-year. The fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept is on track to open 40 new locations this year. 

Last year, Chicken Salad Chick hatched a new concept: popup drive-thrus and added curbside pickup and delivery options.  

Restaurant brands of all sizes have been leaning into drive-thrus. 31% of restaurants are adopting drive-thrus in 2021 with 13% adding them for the first time, according toHT's 2021 Restaurant Technology Study

HT caught up with Tom Carr, Chief Marketing Officer of Chicken Salad Chick, to catch up on the brand's rapid fire growth and what role drive-thru plays in its expansion plans. 

HT:  Last year I wrote an article about Chicken Salad Chick’s pandemic pivot and its pop-up drive-thrus. What is the status of the popup drive-thru concept today?

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Tom Carr, Chief Marketing Officer of Chicken Salad Chick

Tom Carr, Chief Marketing Officer of Chicken Salad Chick: Since the reopening of businesses across the country, Chicken Salad Chick has ended popup drive-thrus as the need has decreased. We are offering curbside and in-store pick-up for those who would rather pick up their meal and enjoy it from home. We have also added UberEats and DoorDash at the brand enterprise level.

HT:  What’s the future of drive-thrus at CSC?

Carr: We are currently at 40% drive-thru locations, and we expect to continue to open both drive-thru and non drive-thru locations as we grow. Location is still the number-one criteria for deciding on a location site, and always positive if a drive thru is possible… So far in 2021, we’ve opened 13 locations that include a drive-thru this year, with 11 additional drive-thrus expected for a total of 24 out of 40 locations this year.

HT: Are any existing locations remodeling or relocating to add a drive-thru? 

Carr: We do have a few locations that are relocating for all different purposes. One upcoming relocation that we have is going into both a larger space and will have drive-thru access, allowing the franchise owner to serve more Chick fans at a time!

… We have a few locations featuring a pick-up window for digital orders only.

HT: Is curbside an option for guests ordering via the app or phone? 

Carr: We offer curbside to guests who call upon arrival and request a curbside experience, and we may consider special tablets to enhance curbside experience in the future.


Photos courtesy of Chicken Salad Chick from the 200th opening in LaGrange, Georgia