The greater Houston area can expect to see more locations of a chicken restaurant chain in the near future, and the newest will be right here in Kingwood, Texas.
Charley Donaldson, Chuck Cain and Robert Drisaldi make up the ownership team of the Cain Holding Group, which is the sole developer of the Slim Chickens' Houston-area franchise.
The group plans to undertake a 25-restaurant expansion across the greater Houston area over the next seven to 10 years.
Slim Chickens celebrated the opening of its Humble location in November 2016; it was the fifth Houston-area restaurant. It was one of four sites originally developed by Slim Chickens Corporate that the Cain Holding Group purchased.
Next on their list for the Lake Houston area is Kingwood.
The Kingwood Slim Chickens is located Northpark Drive and Texas 494 Loop and is scheduled to open in February 2018.
The Humble Slim Chickens is performing well, according to Donaldson. However, the Humble location's metrics did not play into the Cain Holding Group's decision to expand to Kingwood.
"We knew Kingwood would be a good market for us, so we were planning to do it regardless, but we had a good feeling that Kingwood would do just as good if not better than the Humble location," Donaldson said. "Kingwood's a great market. It has a great demographic and if you're developing in the city of Houston, Kingwood is one of the top markets to develop in."
Ultimately, they want to have a location in the south part of Atascocita as well. Between the Kingwood, Humble and Atascocita locations, Donaldson said they feel they'd have good exposure to this part of the Houston area.
The Cain Holding Group agreed to build-out the Houston market a couple of years ago.
"The greater Houston area has 8 million people, so if you want brand recognition, you can't be a five, or six-unit operation. It has to be much larger," Donaldson said.
He said their strategy to move the needle is to expand quickly and enter the market the right way, starting with suburban areas.
The 25-restaurant expansion may be a bold undertaking, but Donaldson said the group is confident in their ability to follow through. This is not the first time the Cain Holding Group has introduced and cultivated a restaurant chain in the Houston market.
The group is also one of two Panera Bread franchisees for the Houston area.
Chuck Cain, majority owner of the Cain Holding Group, brought Panera to Houston about 15 years ago, Donaldson said. It started out on a similar level as Slim Chickens is now, but within a few years it had expanded its following and brand recognition.
Donaldson said the Cain Holding Group has the background, experience, infrastructure and financial backing necessary to carry out this venture as well.
"We have everything needed to follow through with the expansion," Donaldson said. "We not only have a great product, but a really great organization."
Cain said the stability of the group is due in large part to choosing strategic sites for their restaurants and maintaining a standard of food quality.
"We've stayed consistent and have been able to do that through all of our systems we have in place," Cain said.
Slim Chickens vice president of franchise operations, Brian Simowitz, said Slim Chickens Corporate lauds the Cain Holding Group's Houston market expansion.
"We've selected a great franchise partner," Simowitz said. "We're with them step-by-step in the process and are excited to be developing in the Houston market."
Something the Cain Holding Group has done through their Panera locations for the past 15 years is become involved in local schools and sports.
"That will continue to be a focus of ours," Donaldson said.
Donaldson said the Cain Holding Group tries to hire associates locally and promote management from within.
"It's easier to retain employees that way," Donaldson said. That's our practice at Panara and Slims. We like to grow our own managers, meaning the typical 'rock star' manager starts as an associate and grow from within."
In the beginning, the new Slim Chickens will have to hire people as managers because they're starting from scratch, he said, but they already have a good pipeline of potential candidates.
For more information about Slim Chickens, visit slimchickens.com.
Source: Houston Chronicle