Auburn, Ala. — Chicken Salad Chick, a Southern-inspired, fast-casual chicken salad restaurant concept, has promoted five existing brand leaders amid the company’s ongoing growth and success.
The brand has promoted three executives to its C-suite, including Jim Thompson as chief operating officer, Terry McKee as chief development officer and Tom Carr as chief marketing officer. Additionally, the company has appointed Mary Lou Atkins as vice president of human resources and Carrie Evans as vice president of franchise development.
Chicken Salad Chick has grown exponentially in recent years, more than quadrupling in size since 2016. At the beginning of the year, the brand recorded 2019 as the most successful year in its company history, opening 40 new restaurants, achieving 16 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth and seeing a 40.1% and 38.5% increase in systemwide sales and unit count, respectively. This impressive growth and year-over-year results attracted prominent private equity firm Brentwood Associates, which acquired Chicken Salad Chick from Eagle Merchant Partners in November 2019. Despite numerous challenges the restaurant industry is facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicken Salad Chick has opened 19 new restaurants this year, and is projected to open 15 more, bringing its systemwide total to 178 restaurants by the end of the year.
These ongoing efforts, coupled with a concentric circle growth strategy, are part of Chicken Salad Chick’s greater development goal of having 500 locations open and operating by the end of 2025.
“Despite all that we’ve faced over the past several months, these individuals championed our brand and continued to propel it forward, so it was important for me to recognize all their contributions and provide them with the opportunity to continue to grow within our organization,” says Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. “We’ve come out of this challenging period stronger than we were before, and are excited for all that we can accomplish in the future with this strong team in place.”
Chicken Salad Chick’s recently promoted C-level executives and vice presidents include:
Jim Thompson, chief operating officer (COO): Thompson was hired by Chicken Salad Chick’s founder and co-founder, Stacy and Kevin Brown, in 2013 when there were only six restaurants open. Over the past 7 years, he has built Chicken Salad Chick’s operations and training programs, and overseen the development of management and purchasing systems that have been instrumental to the brand’s expansion from just six restaurants to more than 160 in 17 states. He is a Certified Franchise Executive and, for more than 25 years, has focused on improving organization performance with a solution-driven leadership style.
Terry McKee, chief development officer (CDO): McKee has led Chicken Salad Chick’s growth throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Texas as vice president of real estate and store development since 2015. He is a seasoned corporate real estate executive with extensive experience in national and regional real estate strategies, site selection, acquisition, contract and lease negotiations, and new store development. In his new role as CDO, McKee will continue to be responsible for the site selection and construction of Chicken Salad Chick’s franchised and company-owned locations.
Tom Carr, chief marketing officer (CMO): Carr joined Chicken Salad Chick as head of its marketing team in 2016, bringing with him nearly 30 years of experience across a diverse range of industries. He has played an integral role in building awareness, trial and sales as Chicken Salad Chick enters new markets, and in helping the brand achieve 16 consecutive quarters of positive same store sales, a 31.8% increase in average unit volume and 140% increase in unit growth throughout his tenure. As CMO, Carr will continue to fuel Chicken Salad Chick’s growth through impactful marketing strategies.
Carrie Evans, vice president of franchise development: Joining Chicken Salad Chick in May of 2016 as director of franchise development, Evans has spearheaded the brand’s franchise growth over the past 4 years. In 2019 alone, Chicken Salad Chick signed 26 new franchise agreements to develop 60 new restaurants over the next several years. Prior to Chicken Salad Chick, Evans was the director of development for Nothing Bundt Cakes, senior manager of franchise development for MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes, and was with Cicis Pizza for 10 years.
Mary Lou Atkins, vice president of human resources: Atkins is a seasoned and strategic HR executive with 40+ years of experience in the restaurant industry. She is skilled in talent and performance management, as well as employee relations. Atkins joined Chicken Salad Chick in 2019 as human resource director, previously holding various positions with Popeyes over the course of 35 years.
Founded by Stacy and Kevin Brown in Auburn, Ala., in 2008, Chicken Salad Chick serves full-flavored, Southern-style chicken salad made from scratch. Today, under the leadership of Scott Deviney and the Chicken Salad Chick team, the brand has more than 165 restaurants in 17 states. For more information, visit www.chickensaladchick.com.
SOURCE: Chicken Salad Chick