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10 Fast-Growing Chicken Chains You're About to See Everywhere

In an industry once dominated by burger joints, chicken chains are rapidly expanding like never before.
FACT CHECKED BY Chris Shott

When it comes to the standard American diet, consumers turn to chicken more than any other meat source. According to Statista, the average American consumed nearly 99 pounds of the popular protein in 2022—about 67% more than beef. That means big business for grocery stores and restaurants alike. In fact, there are numerous chains that devote the vast majority of their menu to chicken.

There are, of course, big players like Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, Buffalo Wild Wings, and KFC that prove the protein's popularity. Smaller chains have benefitted, too, and are seeing rapid growth as well, though they may not boast figures similar to the larger companies.

Each of the following chicken chains has grown in their own unique ways in recent years, and before you know it, there could be one arriving in your neighborhood.

Slim Chickens

Slim Chickens
Photo: Shutterstock

Slim Chickens specializes in hand-breaded chicken tenders but also serves wings, wraps, salads, and other tantalizing items. The Arkansas-based chain has over 1,200 restaurants in development as of March 2024, with 70 planned to open this year across the United States. Regions that can expect to see Slim Chickens open in the coming months include Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, and Arizona. That still leaves well over 1,000 restaurants in the works, meaning customers could see Slims Chicken boast continuous growth for years to come.

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Krispy Krunchy Chicken

Krispy Krunchy Chicken
Photo: Courtesy of Krispy Krunchy Chicken

With nearly 3,000 locations across 47 states, one could argue that Krispy Krunchy Chicken is pretty much everywhere already. But that belief is being put to the test this year as the chain eyes rapid expansion. The quick-service chain, which specializes in Cajun-spiced fried chicken, opened an impressive 500 new locations in 2023 alone. It intends to top that growth in 2024 with an additional 700 new planned stores.

Chicken Salad Chick

Chicken Salad Chick
Photo: Chicken Salad Chick / Facebook

When you think of chicken chains, fried chicken and chicken sandwiches likely come to mind. Not only does Chicken Salad Chick flip the notion of what a chicken chain could be on its head, but it's poised to grow significantly. The chain, which specializes in chicken salad, has grown to roughly 250 locations since it first opened in 2008. Soon, approximately 50 more could join the ranks, thanks to its franchisees. Its growth is not limited to one particular region of the U.S. New locations are set to open in states spanning from Texas to Illinois to Virginia.

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Pollo Campero

Pollo Campero restaurant
Photo: rblfmr / Shutterstock

Pollo Campero has been around for over 50 years, opening its first location in Guatemala in 1971, according to Restaurant Dive. Growth was slow at first, but lately, the chain has been popping up in more locations. Serving bone-in chicken, both fried and grilled, as well as chicken sandwiches and an array of sides, Pollo Campero plans to open two dozen locations this year, which will bring the total amount of restaurants to over 100.

Raising Cane's

Raising Canes
Photo: Shutterstock

Depending on where you live in the U.S., Raising Cane's is hardly a new concept. Laser-focused on fried chicken tenders, the popular chain is beloved by its passionate customers, also known as "Caniacs." Its fan base will surely grow in the years to come as Raising Cane's embarks on rapid expansion. This includes the opening of a new flagship location in the heart of New York City's Times Square. More New York locations are planned, along with new restaurants in Florida, California, and Tennessee.

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Wing Snob

Photo: Courtesy of Wing Snob

There's stiff competition in the chicken wing world, with large players like Buffalo Wild Wings and Wing Stop to contend with. Wing Snob is up to the task, opening dozens of new locations already in 2024. By 2025, Wing Snob could have as many as 150 locations open across the United States, serving up both traditional and boneless wings, as well as chicken sandwiches, tenders, and an array of sides.

Bonchon

Photo: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

If you've never heard of or passed by a Bonchon, that could soon change. Known for its ultra-crispy double-fried birds, the Korean fried chicken chain aims to have over 1,000 locations worldwide in the next five years, with 500 of those being in the United States. That's quite the jump from the roughly 130 locations it currently operates in the U.S., but plans are to expand its reach in regions surrounding New York City, Chicago, Denver, Houston, and beyond.

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Dave's Hot Chicken

daves hot chicken location
Photo: Courtesy of Dave's Hot Chicken

If there's any doubt about chicken chains becoming the rising stars of fast food, look no further than Dave's Hot Chicken. Serving tenders and sliders across a wide spectrum of spicy heat levels, Dave's was named America's fastest-growing restaurant chain in 2022, thanks to a whopping 262% increase in sales the year prior, according to Technomic's Top 500 chain restaurant data. Growth hasn't slowed since, with the California chain selling franchise rights for more than 700 restaurants in 2023, per Nation's Restaurant News. These locations span the four corners of the U.S., so don't be surprised if a Dave's Hot Chicken opens in your town soon.

Bojangles

Bojangles
Photo: Shutterstock

You're more likely to be familiar with Bojangles if you live in the southeastern United States, but that will likely change in the coming years. The fried chicken chain aims to expand westward, with 20 restaurants coming to Las Vegas alone. Additional locations are planned for Arizona. This "Bojangles West" initiative, along with its other plans for expansion, could bring the total number of locations surpassed 1,000 (800 are currently in operation).

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Golden Chick

the outside of a golden chick restaurant
Photo: Golden Chick

Golden Chick may not have the volume of restaurants as giants like Kentucky Fried Chicken, but that doesn't mean the chain isn't growing in prominence. In 2023, Golden Chick surpassed 200 locations in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, and Louisiana, according to QSR Magazine, with more added to the fleet in 2023. It marks a historic year of growth for the chain, which has been around since 1967. With so much momentum under its feet, Golden Chick may soon set its sights beyond the four states where it's currently found.

Carly Neil
Carly Neil is a freelance writer specializing in all things food, travel, Disney, and theme parks. Read more about Carly