LANSING — Slim Chickens, an Arkansas-based restaurant chain known for its chicken tenders and sandwiches, plans to expand into Michigan with more than a dozen locations — and the Lansing area will be among the first.
According to the company's website, the fast-casual franchise already has stand-alone restaurants in 33 states. New franchisee Finney Hospitality Group has committed to opening 14 locations statewide, said Chris Martin, the group's vice president of operations.
Martin said Lansing and Grand Rapids will be among the first areas where the company plans to open restaurants. The site of the first Lansing-area restaurant hasn't been finalized.
Here's what you need to know about Slim Chickens and its plans to open in the Lansing area.
Menu focused on chicken tenders
Slim Chickens got its start in 2003, opening its first restaurant in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
At the heart of the menu are hand-breaded chicken tenders and dipping sauces, but the eatery also offers chicken wings, sandwiches, wraps and salads, along with side dishes — including fries, mac and cheese, coleslaw, potato salad, and fried pickles and mushrooms.
"It's not just chicken fingers," Martin said. "It's chicken in a lot of different ways."
The chain has more than 240 locations in 33 states.
Lansing-area location will be among the first in the state
The first Slim Chickens to open in Michigan likely will be in Grand Rapids, Martin said, because "we're going to purchase an existing restaurant and convert it, which should move fairly quickly."
A Lansing-area location could be the company's "second or third" restaurant in the state, Martin said.
"We have multiple deals that we're trying to finalize in that area," he said. "We're very excited about it. I think our goal would be to open multiple locations in that market over the next five to 10 years."
Finney Hospitality Group has "multiple properties" they are in the process of purchasing in the Lansing area, Martin said. He declined to say where until those deals are finalized.
Restaurants will be in new building with a drive-thru
The company could announce the location for its first Lansing-area restaurant within the next three months, Martin said.
The 2,400-square-foot restaurant will be "a new build," with a 40- to 50-seat dining room and a drive-thru lane, he said. The eatery is expected to employ 80 to 100 people, Martin said.
"I would say we will be under construction in Lansing in the next 12 months," he said. "I'm pretty confident to say that our goal is absolutely to have a restaurant in 2024, or very early in 2025, just depending on a lot of different factors that play into it."
Contact Rachel Greco at email@example.com. Follow her on X, formerly Twitter, @GrecoatLSJ .
This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Restaurant chain Slim Chickens expanding into Michigan; Lansing area to be among first to get one