Chicken Salad Chick announced today the purchase of 11 existing locations in Georgia from the brand's largest franchise owner, Origin Development Group. Founded by Darren DeVore and Lauren Fernandez, Origin Development Group established its footprint across Atlanta, Augusta and Athens. Chicken Salad Chick's corporate acquisition of these restaurants brings the company-owned unit count to 32, and it highlights the brand's opportunity in Atlanta and continued investment in expanding its footprint throughout the Southeast and beyond. Chicken Salad Chick plans to open 40 additional locations in 2019, which will be a mix of company and franchisee owned.
"Origin Development Group founders Darren and Lauren are truly valued growth partners and have been passionate ambassadors of our brand," said Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. "Atlanta is an important market for us, and in just two and a half years, Origin substantially increased our presence in the area, while successfully managing operations. As one of our largest franchise owners, we sincerely appreciate what Origin has done for Chicken Salad Chick and we are excited to have their restaurant teams join our company operations."
Darren DeVore and Lauren Fernandez of Origin Development Group originally joined Chicken Salad Chick as franchise partners by acquiring three Atlanta area restaurants in 2016, and then growing to 11 locations. As multi-unit developers, the group worked alongside the brand to create a strategic growth plan that would result in rapid growth and increased visibility in the market. With an average of three new openings a year, Origin has quickly penetrated the greater Atlanta area in Peachtree City, Buckhead, Vinings, Cumming and McDonough.
"When Darren and I created Origin Development Group, one of our goals was to invest as franchisees in emerging brands, but we wanted to make sure we found the perfect match," said Lauren Fernandez, President of Origin Development Group. "Chicken Salad Chick is simply unique in the fast-casual space, with its made-from-scratch fresh food and Southern-inspired menu. I am proud to have aligned with such an innovative, inspiring company and am thrilled we were able to set the brand up for continued growth and success in the Atlanta market."
"It's been an honor to work alongside Chicken Salad Chick's leadership team and Eagle Merchant Partners to build the brand's presence in Atlanta, Athens and Augusta," said Darren DeVore, Managing Partner of Origin Development Group. "There continues to be strong demand for the brand in our markets and we're pleased to pass the baton to Chicken Salad Chick to drive it forward."
The Chicken Salad Chick concept, born in Auburn, was established in 2008 in the kitchen of founder, Stacy Brown. When Stacy discovered that the local county health department would not allow her to continue making and selling her delicious recipes out of her home kitchen, she overcame that obstacle by launching her first restaurant with the business expertise of her future husband and fellow founder, Kevin Brown. Together, they opened a small takeout restaurant, which quickly grew and began franchising in 2012. In 2015, Eagle Merchant Partners purchased a majority stake in Chicken Salad Chick, and under the leadership of CEO Scott Deviney and team, the company now has 105 restaurants across the Southeast.
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