Southern fast-casual restaurant concept readies for growth
Chicken Salad Chick, one of Nation’s Restaurant News 2015 Breakout Brands, recently announced that it has received an investment from Eagle Merchant Partners (Eagle), an Atlanta, Ga.-based private equity firm.
This partnership brings a depth of restaurant industry experience to the leadership team, including the naming of restaurant industry veteran Russ Umphenour as Chairman of the Board and Scott Deviney as President and CEO. Umphenour is the former CEO of Focus Brands (parent of Moe’s, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels, McAlister’s Deli, Carvel Ice Cream, Schlotzsky’s and Cinnabon) and RTM Restaurant Group (former top Arby’s franchisee). Scott Deviney is former CEO of SDZ (an Atlanta-based multi-unit Wendy’s franchisee) and SVP with SunTrust Bank specializing in the restaurant industry. Founders Kevin and Stacy Brown will continue to serve in roles that will aid the future growth and management of the concept. Partner and investor Earlon McWhorter, who has been serving as VP of Market Development, will remain as an Advisor to the Company for future store and market development. The investment from Eagle will provide capital to fuel growth by further building out the management team, systems and infrastructure while also supporting new unit growth.
“Stacy and I are overjoyed with our new partnership with Eagle,” said Founder Kevin Brown. “Passing the baton to Scott Deviney as CEO, combined with the stellar track record of industry icon Russ Umphenour and Eagle’s restaurant expertise, helps solidify our strategic vision for Chicken Salad Chick. We look forward to working together to enhance our franchise support services, marketing efforts and brand leadership.”
Chicken Salad Chick, will add to its 32 existing locations by continuing to open units throughout 9 states in the Southeastern U.S. With a development pipeline of over 100 additional locations contracted with franchise partners, Chicken Salad Chick looks to grow its presence aggressively over the next few years.
“Scott and I are excited to join Chicken Salad Chick as the company enters this new chapter of growth. It is a strong brand with a unique offering and loyal customers, and we look forward to working with our franchise partners to accelerate the growth of the brand”, said Russ Umphenour. Stockton Croft, Partner with Eagle adds, “This will be the eighth restaurant or retail investment made by the partners of Eagle and we are fully committed to the success of this great Southeastern brand and the management team.”
Chicken Salad Chick puts an edgy twist on a southern classic, offering customers a “custom-fit” chicken salad experience, with 15 original flavors to choose from, as well as gourmet soups, flavorful side salads and freshly-baked desserts. They were recently named as the top chicken salad in the country to try in Cooking with Paula Deen, as well as one of QSR’s “Ones to Watch”. There are currently 32 Chicken Salad Chick locations open throughout six states in the Southeast. Corporate offices are located at 724 North Dean Road in Auburn, Alabama. See www.chickensaladchick.com for additional information.
Eagle Merchant Partners is an Atlanta, Ga.-based private equity firm focused on lower middle market companies in the consumer, logistics and industrial sectors in the Southeastern United States. The partnership is one of the most experienced private equity investors in the region, investing in fourteen companies with more than $1.5 billion in revenues. For more information, visit www.eaglemerchantpartners.com.