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This West Coast Fast-Food Chicken Chain Is Tripling in Size

Industry awards and "feel-good crispy chicken" are driving an aggressive increase in footprint.

You might associate fried chicken with Southern regions of the country… but California? Oh, yes. One Bay Area fast-food chicken chain is seriously ramping up to go national with an impressive menu of all things fried chicken. Didn't know you could get Nashville hot chicken in San Francisco and soon, Los Angeles? You sure can—and come next year, it could be moving closer to more of us.

Starbird Chicken recently announced that they saw a 36% year-over-year revenue increase in 2020, despite the struggles many restaurants experienced during the pandemic. (That meant a 75% increase in sales compared to just two years prior.) This year, the San Francisco-based chicken chain's number of locations has grown to nine since their 2016 founding… and it seems they're not pausing anytime soon.

As Starbird Chicken founder and CEO Aaron Noveshen says, the past five years have brought the brand to their current point of greater growth. "We're projecting to have in the upwards of 20 locations open and operating by the end of 2022, almost tripling the size of our system since 2020,"  Noveshen said in a press release shared with Eat This, Not That! (Right now, they're only hinting at where, saying Starbird is "slated to enter multiple undisclosed locations in the Bay Area and Los Angeles within the next 24 months.") The brand has also announced that they're launching a national franchising program in 2022.

Read up on how Starbird Chicken hand landed on the radar with what they call their "hand-crafted, feel good crispy chicken, bold flavors and chef-driven innovation." Also, don't miss America's Largest Asian Chain Is Selling Out of This New Chicken Dish.

Starbird Chicken is winning food industry awards.

Courtesy of Starbird Chicken

In addition to winning customers' hearts, Starbird Chicken has already begun to earn top industry awards in their brief five years in business. Recent awards include "Best Restaurant" on ICX Association Elevate Awards for their use of progressive consumer-facing technology, as well as the #21 ranking on the trade pub Fast Casual's 100 Movers & Shakers list.

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Starbird's menu stands out.

Courtesy of Starbird

Starbird Chicken's menu is one of the most diverse we're seeing among chicken chains out there right now. Beyond the standard fast-food sandwiches and nuggets, Starbird hosts menu categories like tacos, salads, family platters, and most recently, chicken bowls.

The flavor variety also pops. In addition to items like the "Nashville Hotbird" sandwich, the Cali Bacon sandwich on a "Dutch crunch roll" (um, yum), and the California Roll salad featuring avocado mash, Starbird also offers nine housemade sauces, like Greek yogurt ranch, wasabi aioli, and Sriracha buffalo.

RELATED: This Once-Popular Chicken Wing Chain Is Falling Out of Favor With Customers

Starbird serves fresh.

Courtesy of Starbird

Starbird Chicken doesn't stray far from home, stating that they serve chicken that's locally, sustainably raised and never treated with antibiotics. A representative for Starbird also told Eat This, Not That! that the brand sources all of their produce locally, and do all pickling and roasting onsite.

Starbird's site also says the chain bakes their breads fresh in-house, "all day long."

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Fast food you can feel better about.

Courtesy of Starbird

Starbird's compelling, modern menu isn't the only way they stay relevant to their audience—the brand is also conscious of their environmental impact. A Starbird rep told Eat This, Not That! that the brand take a progressive ecological stance with recycled packaging and the use of paper straws in all Starbird stores.

And, unlike some other all-chicken fast-food chains, the brand has also made a major commitment to providing for non-meat-eating guests. The company recently developed their own plant-based sandwich, the Gardenbird, as an offering.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more