Slim Chickens Hires Industry Veteran as Chief Marketing Officer to Help Drive Brand Growth
Mark Mears Tapped to Bolster Strong Executive Team and Build Upon Slim Chickens’ Solid Foundation to Expand Market Share in Better Chicken Segment
Fayetteville, AR (RestaurantNews.com) Slim Chickens has come a long way in its 13-year history, with more than 40 locations in 10 states and plans to grow to 600 locations in the next ten years. To further fuel this effort, the brand is continuing to strengthen its executive team with the recent hiring of industry veteran Mark Mears.
In his storied 30-year career, Mears has become known as a visionary business leader with a proven track record for driving innovation and growth among major players in the restaurant industry, like Noodles & Company, Schlotzsky’s, Mimi’s Cafe and The Cheesecake Factory, among others. He is eager to leverage his knowledge and experience in the industry to help take Slim Chickens to the next level.
“My passion is in building unique and differentiated brands, and with Slim Chickens, the foundation is solidly in place,” said Mears. “Slim Chickens is already an innovative leader in the better chicken category within the fast casual segment, offering genuine down-home Southern Hospitality and a music driven, fun and energetic dining experience. With its always fresh, made to order chicken tenders and wings and wide variety of house made dipping sauces and dressings, Slim’s provides guests the ability to customize a meal to satisfy any craving. My goal is to coalesce our brand story and drive sales growth to help achieve our full potential.”
Mears notes that he joined the Slim Chickens team for a number of reasons, but above all, he was drawn to the brand’s unique culture founded upon its purpose-driven mission.
“Slim Chickens’ commitment to the concept of ‘life-changing chicken’ is what interested me most about the brand. It drives our daily mission, and it also serves as an incredible platform for growth. In the hospitality industry, we have a moral and corporate responsibility to give back to the communities where we live, work and play,” said Mears. “In addition, Slim Chickens does an incredible job of changing the lives of everyone who touches the brand. We create a better place for our guests to dine, a more enjoyable place for our team members to work, a more lucrative investment for our franchise owners and a stronger business partnership for our suppliers. In a crowded and competitive fast casual industry, that ethos truly sets this brand apart and will continue to fuel our growth.”
Mears’ hire comes at the perfect time for Slim Chickens, as the brand’s 2016 Franchisee Conference is taking place October 20 and 21 in Dallas, where he and the rest of the leadership team will celebrate recent successes and announce goals for the coming year.
“I’m eager to meet our franchise partners and share our initial plan to build upon our strong foundation and continue our future growth. The brand has great momentum nearing 50 locations with more than 20 new openings expected by the end of 2016 and plans to add another 50 every year moving forward. While we certainly have much to be proud of, we also realize there is still much more work ahead of us. Now is the time for the franchise system to get aligned, to cement our brand story and expand on our fantastic culture,” said Mears.
Mears also looks forward to continued menu innovation, highlighting the recent success of the Cayenne Ranch Chicken Sandwich, which was launched system wide on September 6, 2016. The sandwich complements the brand’s chicken tenders and wings and has already exceeded expectations in both sales and guest satisfaction. The sandwich, along with a Chicken & Waffles offering and Slim Chickens’ seasonal jar desserts like the new Harvest Pumpkin Cheesecake and Southern Pecan Cheesecake, serve as just a few examples of the menu innovation that has set Slim’s apart as a brand.
“When [Co-Founder] Tom Gordon and I founded Slim Chickens in 2003, we knew from the start that we had something special,” said Greg Smart, Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Slim Chickens. “We’re proud of where our brand is today, but we know that bringing a visionary marketing and branding leader like Mark on board to provide business and marketing strategy and implement processes will help take us to an even higher next level. We’re eager to solidify our branding and messaging as we continue to open locations and reach a new fan base in markets across the country.”
Executive recruiting provided by HVS Executive Services.
About Slim Chickens
Slim Chickens opened in 2003 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a focus on culinary excellence in a fast-casual setting. Guests can always expect fresh chicken tenders and wings cooked to order and served with handmade dipping sauces made from scratch. With more than 40 locations today and a fanatical following in 10 states, the eternally cool brand is an emerging national franchise leading the “better chicken” segment and intends to grow nationwide to a footprint of 600 restaurants over the next decade. Southern hospitality is not just for the South; everyone, everywhere can appreciate honest food and socializing with friends and neighbors. To learn more about the brand, visit slimchickens.com.
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