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This restaurant may be the fastest growing chain ever

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Image for article titled This restaurant is on track to be the fastest growing chain of all time

It seems like we’ll never stop talking about fast food. chicken sandwiches, but even amidst the biggest boom of the now popular menu item, there was a glaring void. Even when networks try to (literally) spice things up with items like mexican chicken sandwich or offer DIY variety with pick-your-own sauce sandwiches, no major brand has brought Nashville hot chicken to pasta in sandwich form. Dave’s Hot Chicken stepped in to fill that void.

As the name suggests, grilled chicken is the main highlight of the chain, both in the sandwich and in the tenderloin. And that specificity is driving its success: The restaurant’s 100th location in five years opened in Brooklyn, New York, last month, QSR Magazine Reports. This momentum makes Dave’s Hot Chicken one of the fastest growing chains in franchise history.

A Brief History of Dave’s Hot Chicken

Dave’s Hot Chicken tastes especially brief history because its very existence was brief. The restaurant started in 2017 in a Los Angeles parking lot as a pop-up with the goal of serving simple and delicious Nashville spicy chicken strips. Proprietor Dave is chef Dave Kopushyan, who trained under chef Thomas Keller at the French Laundry, one of California’s best-known fine dining establishments. Kopushyan decided to leave fancy dining to open a chicken stand with his best friends Arman Oganesyan, Tommy Rubenyan and Gary Rubenyan.

The parking lot popup gained an instant buzz, starting on Instagram. The fanfare was animated by a Eater article which came out just days after its first service with the headline, “East Hollywood’s New Late Night Hot Chicken Stand Might Blow Your Mind”. A year later, the chain opened its first physical store, decorated by local street artists. That aesthetic has stuck with subsequent locations, and as the business has grown, attracted well-known investors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Drake and Boston Red Sox President Tom Werner.

The menu has also remained relatively unchanged since the restaurant’s inception. Customers are presented with four meal options: two for chicken sandwiches (which Dave calls “sliders” even though they are medium-sized sandwiches) and two for chicken tenders. There are six accompaniments of your choice. Each sandwich or tender can be ordered with one of seven seasoning levels, ranging from “no seasoning” to “reaper”. Then, of course, there are the standard sodas, with the addition of milkshakes to temper the higher heat levels (just like we saw at Shake Shack).

The focused menu and clear vision have made Dave’s Hot Chicken an easy and attractive concept to replicate across the country, especially in areas where other Nashville hot chicken options are unavailable.

The Future of Dave’s Hot Chicken

In 2022, Dave’s Hot Chicken went global, expanding to Canada, UAE and Qatar. And in 2023, the chain is set to grow even further, reaching the milestone of its 100th location. According to QSR magazinethere are currently 620 units in development, with 85 restaurants expected to open globally this year, nearly doubling the chain’s current footprint.

To help raise awareness, Dave’s launched its first advertising campaign in October 2022, in line with Drake’s 36th birthday. That day, Drake posted on his Instagram about a giveaway that allowed anyone who followed Dave’s Hot Chicken to win a free slider or tender. From there, Dave is starting pushing advertisements with the slogan, “Don’t die before you try.” With the rapid expansion of the network underway, we will all be able to experience it soon.