Did you know that around 178 million Americans ate fried chicken in 2020? These numbers are expected to rise to 184+ million by 2024. If you’re looking for a franchise that seems well positioned to capitalize on this trend, Slim Chickens is worth evaluating.

How much does it cost to open Slim Chickens? This fried chicken tender chain requires a net worth requirement of $3,000,000 to $12,000,000 (much higher than most franchise opportunities). The capital investment to start a Slim Chickens franchise is $1,589,900 to $4,389,000 and the franchise fee is $15,000 to $30,000.

There’s no denying this chain has seen eye-popping sales figures with growth of 272% from 2018 – 2022. Even though Slim Chickens has experience a meteoric rise is this growth sustainable long-term? I share my analysis below. You can take our 7-minute franchise quiz to find out if this is the best chicken chain for you to invest in. 

Financial Requirements and Fees

Fees / Expenses Financial Amount
Net Worth $3,000,000 to $12,000,000
Total Investment $1,589,900 to $4,389,000
Franchise Fee $15,000 to $30,000

In addition to these expenses required by Slim Chickens, they also a charge a royalty fee of 5% of the gross sales and an advertising fee of 2% of the gross sales. The term of the agreement is 10 to 15 years and the franchise is renewable.

chicken tenders

The Slims Picnic Pack.

Average Sales / Revenue per Year

Slim Chickens has some of the most impressive sales numbers I’ve ever seen in a fast-casual franchise. Here are the annual sales numbers from 2018 – 2022 that show an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of approximately 30.2% per year over a 5-year time period. 

  • 2018: $97 million
  • 2019: $121 million (24.74% year-over-year increase)
  • 2020: $166 million (37.19% year-over-year increase)
  • 2021: $265 million (59.64% year-over-year increase)
  • 2022: $361 million (36.23% year-over-year increase)

What’s even more impressive is this fast-growing brand went through a global health crisis in the middle of this expansion period. If you believe this growth trajectory can be sustained over the next 5 – 10 years, you’ve got a concept worth further evaluation.

Slim Chickens Franchise Facts

Total Units 200+
Incorporated Name Slim Chickens
Franchising Since 2011
Industry Fast Casual
Subsector Fried Chicken

Slim Chickens started in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkansas by Thomas Gordon and Gregory Smart, two high school buddies who eventually started the chicken business together. They fashioned an old sushi place into a restaurant that served chicken tenders which became a hit as soon as they opened.

tenders meal

A tenders meal with sauce.

The menu at Slim Chickens consists of tenders and wings, fried chicken sandwiches, wraps, salads, chicken and waffles, sides, and shakes. They’re also known for their sauces that come in the following flavors:

  • Ranch
  • Cayenne Ranch
  • Honey Mustard
  • Slim Sauce
  • Blue Cheese
  • Gravy
  • Honey Barbecue
  • Garlic Parmesan
  • Korean Barbecue
  • BBQ
  • Spicy BBQ
  • Buffalo
  • Sweet Red Chili
  • Hot
  • Sriracha Garlic
  • Mango Habanero
  • Inferno

Slim Chickens boasts of using 100% all-natural premium tenders, fresh ingredients, and southern-style buttermilk marinade. All fried chicken tenders are hand-breaded every order.

To franchise Slim Chickens, the first step is to complete the interest form here. You’ll go through a series of steps that include pre-qualification (submitting of the inquiry form, phone call interview, submitting of franchise application), initial meeting (reading the Franchise Disclosure Document, going to their Discovery Day, visiting Slim Chickens locations, meeting the founders, and discussing territory of interest), and finally joining Slim Chickens (completing the franchise agreement, reviewing of legal documents, and scheduling the official closing of the franchise).

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Slim Chickens is located in most states in the United States and their international locations are in United Kingdom and Kuwait.

At present, both founders still continue to run Slim Chickens. Their headquarters is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Average Revenue Per Unit

According to the official Slim Chickens franchising website, the average sales volume per unit is $3.8 million annually. This is an impressive number considering KFC averaged $1.3 million in average sales per unit in 2020. But the concept still has a way to go compared to Chick-fil-A that brought recorded more than $8 million in gross sales per unit last year.

Advantages of a Slim Chickens Franchise

In addition to rapidly growing sales, here are some of the advantages of franchising at Slim Chickens franchise:


Slim Chickens is on a mission to grow their franchises. They’ve currently signed 50 new development projects not just in the United States but also in other countries such as Turkey and United Kingdom. The brand celebrated its presence in the Istanbul Airport and the University of Arkansas Fort Smith.

Future Projections? Slim Chickens aims to sign another 60 development deals, targeting regions like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, and Malaysia. If you’re interested in bringing Slim Chickens internationally, now is the time to inquire since they’re eager to franchise abroad.

cheesecake in a mason jar.

Cheesecake in a mason jar from Slim Chickens.

Quality Ingredients

Slim Chickens is all about quality ingredients. They use 100% all-natural premium chicken tenders that are made to order. They use fresh buttermilk and each chicken tender is hand breaded. Slim Chickens makes sure that their food says everything about them so customers can continue to come back for more.


The menu at Slim Chickens has a lot of variety so customers don’t get bored. Not only do they serve chicken tenders but they also have waffles, wraps, sandwiches and salads. Their main menu attraction aside from the tenders is the variety of sauces that they have which can compete with other main chicken franchises such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Chicken Guy.

Challenges of a Slim Chickens Franchise

Before franchising a business, you’ll want to know what the challenges to face are. Here are some of them:


Slim Chickens has faced several controversies through the years. One was a hygiene issue wherein a woman ordered a chicken tender meal and a cockroach was seen stuck to the side of the chicken tender. Another one was a child labor law violation in Streetsboro. In addition, Penn State called out the chicken chain as racist due to the way they held their press conference at their campus.

We may have just mentioned a few of their controversies but this is enough to taint their reputation.


There are many fried chicken restaurants in the industry with their main star or highlight of the menu being their wide variety of sauces. Slim Chickens may need to be more aggressive in fighting against the likes of Buffalo Wild Wings or Dave’s Hot Chicken to be in the lead.

slim chickens under construction

Your Slim Chickens location could be under construction soon.


Slim Chickens is an expensive franchise with a required investment at $1,589,900 to $4,389,000. Buffalo Wild Wings can be franchised at $ 2,466,500 to $ 4,604,800 but they also offer alcoholic beverages and is considered a sports bar rather than a fast-casual restaurant. Dave’s Hot Chicken’s investment is only $626,300 to $1,413,500 and KFC’s is $1,000,000 – $2,000,000.

As an added challenge, Slim Chickens does not provide internal or external funding support for prospective franchise operators. The fact is you’ll need significant resources to open this chicken chain.

Regional Marketing and advertising: Slim Chickens restaurants will need to invest in marketing and advertising to attract customers at a local level. Unlike other franchises like McDonald’s or KFC, customers know and like the brand already. Slim Chickens has strong brand awareness in the South and parts of Middle America.

But on the East and West Coast it could face difficulties gaining market share from tough competitors like Chik-Fil-A. The franchisee will need to develop a marketing plan that targets the right audience in each new market it enters.

Is the Slim Chickens Franchise Right For You?

If you want to franchise a fried chicken tender business and your budget isn’t that tight then Slim Chickens could be the one for you. However, if you want a low cost franchise then you might want to check out other alternative franchises or take our franchise quiz to explore other options.

What is an alternative Slim Chickens franchise?

You might also want to check out Dave’s Hot Chicken. This fried chicken tender chain is fairly new since it just started offering franchises in 2019. Their specialties are chicken tenders with spice levels from no spice to reaper. The chain currently has over 70 locations in the United States.

To franchise Dave’s Hot Chicken, expect the investment to be around $626,300 to $1,413,500 and the franchise fee is $40,000. Learn more about franchising this chain here.

Whether or not you think Slim Chickens is worth a $1.5 million in investment, I hope this guide gives you additional information on whether or not you’d like to conduct additional research on the concept.