Smackbird Brings the Heat: Cowboy Chicken Quietly Launches Ghost Kitchen To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken During Pandemic



Smackbird Brings the Heat: Cowboy Chicken Quietly Launches Ghost Kitchen To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken During Pandemic

Smackbird Brings the Heat: Cowboy Chicken Quietly Launches Ghost Kitchen To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken During Pandemic

Wood-Fired Rotisserie Chicken Franchise Innovates with Virtual Brand to Offer Additional Dining Options

Cowboy Chicken is spicing things up with a new chicken concept called Smackbird, a delivery and pick up only ghost kitchen specializing in Nashville hot chicken tenders and sandwiches that the wood-fired rotisserie chicken chain operates out of its existing restaurants.

Launched in November 2020 to increase sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, Smackbird has garnered both a positive financial impact on the Cowboy Chicken stores where it is currently offered and a favorable response from Cowboy Chicken franchisees. Beginning this month, Smackbird will roll out in additional locations.

“We will plan a controlled rollout within the Cowboy Chicken system in select markets with approved franchisees and most corporate stores,” says Sean Kennedy, president of Cowboy Chicken, of Smackbird’s coming expansion.

Smackbird Brings the Heat: Cowboy Chicken Quietly Launches Ghost Kitchen To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken During Pandemic

As a company that has worked hard to remain nimble and innovative during these uncertain times, Cowboy Chicken is maximizing kitchen efficiency with this new virtual brand. Guests can continue to order Smackbird online from the Dallas and Fort Worth Cowboy Chicken restaurants, and Smackbird operations will be added to two more existing Cowboy Chicken locations in Texas in July.

“Adding Smackbird allowed us to take advantage of the extra kitchen capacity that COVID-19 caused, increase sales and keep our staff at select stores fully employed during a challenging time,” says Kennedy of the virtual brand’s development.

Cowboy Chicken has expanded its reach in the fast casual segment by offering a fried version of fresh, all-natural and hormone-free birds in six different heat levels ranging from NoSmack to HellSmack.

Menu items include a curated selection of chicken sandwiches ($10 – $11), chicken tender meals ($10 – $17), family packs and side dishes ($3 – $7) such as:

  • Smack n’ Cheese sandwich: all-white-meat chicken breast topped with mac n’ cheese and served with pickles, slaw and SmackSauce
  • Jumbo Tender Meal: two, three or four all-white-meat chicken breast tenders with pickles, bread and SmackSauce served with a choice of one side
  • SmackPacks: includes eight, 10 or 12 tenders, choice of heat level, pints of slaw, SmackSauce, bread and pickles
  • Sides such as mac n’ cheese, fry dippers and creamy coleslaw
  • Banana pudding for dessert

Smackbird Brings the Heat: Cowboy Chicken Quietly Launches Ghost Kitchen To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken During Pandemic

Smackbird Brings the Heat: Cowboy Chicken Quietly Launches Ghost Kitchen To Serve Nashville Hot Chicken During Pandemic

“We are experts in serving tasty, freshly prepared chicken and it seemed natural to expand into the Nashville Hot style category. We always want to be the guests’ first choice for chicken,” Kennedy explains. “The Smackbird menu appeals to a younger and more adventurous demographic and is helping us attract new patrons.”

For additional information, follow along @smackbirdhotchicken or visit smackbird.com.

Founded in Dallas in 1981, Cowboy Chicken is a fast casual restaurant chain specializing in real wood-fired rotisserie chicken. The brand has been included in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list every year since 2011 and in 2017 won the Emerging Chain of the Year award from Restaurant Business and was named one of the Top 25 Most Loved Brands by Foodable. Forbes magazine also chose Cowboy Chicken as one “Hot Restaurant Chain to Buy into Now,” and in 2020, QSR ranked Cowboy Chicken #14 in its 40 Under 40 list of the 40 most exciting fast casual concepts with fewer than 40 units. Cowboy Chicken is currently seeking qualified franchises to help build the brand in select markets across the U.S. For more information, visit www.cowboychicken.com or email franchise@cowboychicken.com.