Arlington Franchisees Sign 8-Unit Deal With Chicken Salad Chick | Franchise News

Devon Chamberlain loves chicken so much that “it’s pretty much all I eat now” she claims.

But while the poultry meat has become her go-to meal, it is a specific chicken salad made by a fast-growing franchisor that she craves the most. “I have become a connoisseur of chicken salad and, in my opinion, no one does chicken salad better than Chicken Salad Chick,” said the 32-year-old entrepreneur from Arlington, Virginia.

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. Along with her father, Patrick Cavanaugh, and father-in-law, Barry Chamberlain, Devon Chamberlain recently signed a multi-unit deal with Chicken Salad Chick to open eight locations in the Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. metro areas in the next five years.

Devon Chamberlain’s newly formed investment group, CSC Nova LLC, is scouting locations for its first Chicken Salad Chick restaurant, slated to open in the Arlington market in the spring of 2024. The first-time franchisees are hoping to pin down that location sometime in the next month and begin construction within six to eight months, she said.

CSC Nova LLC, Chicken Salad Chick multi-unit group

CSC Nova LLC group members (from left to right) Patrick Cavanaugh, Devon Cavanaugh Chamberlin and Barry Chamberlin  recently signed an eight-unit deal with Chicken Salad Chick.

“We’ve already engaged a commercial real estate broker and an architect and have a few LOIs put out there,” Chamberlain said, referencing letters of intent. “We’re moving fast but at the same time being very, very careful on selecting the right location for our first restaurant because we know how important location is for a restaurant, especially when you come into a new market like ours.”

This eight-unit agreement CSC Nova signed in Arlington and Fairfax counties adds to Chicken Salad Chick’s existing statewide footprint in Virginia of five stores, in Christiansburg, Hampton, Mechanicsville, Richmond and Roanoke, with 11 more units in various stages of development.  

Founded in Auburn, Alabama by Stacy and Kevin Brown in 2008, Chicken Salad Chick serves more than a dozen southern-style chicken salad flavors as well as fresh side salads, soups, signature sandwiches and desserts. The brand, which has received numerous accolades including its No. 14 ranking on the Franchise Times Fast & Serious list, has grown to more than 200 restaurants in 17 states, and reported a 10 percent increase in unit count year-over-year with more than $306.8 million in systemwide sales last year, a 20 percent increase over 2021.

“Our brand has tremendous growth opportunities across Virginia,” said Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. “In the past year, we have signed over 14 new locations in the state, and as we make our way toward Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania, we are gaining brand awareness and fueling our mission to become America’s favorite place for chicken salad. 

“That mission is shared by Devon, Patrick and Barry, who bring immense enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise to our brand,” Deviney said, “and we can’t wait to see the positive impact they’ll have throughout their community.”

While it was Patrick Cavanaugh, an attorney who has ownership stake in a group of pizza restaurants in southern Florida, and Barry Chamberlain, who oversees a series of limited liability companies involved in real estate development in Northern Virginia, that provided the financial backing for the multi-unit deal, it was Devon Chamberlain who first proposed the idea to her family. 

“We were all sitting around the dinner table one night discussing business opportunities when my father-in-law suggested franchising and asked which one excites me the most. I said Chicken Salad Chick,” she recalled. “My father-in-law had never heard of Chicken Salad Chick and my father just a little bit, but I convinced them this was a great, great brand that really cares about being part of the communities they are in and that it would be a big success if we brought it here to Arlington.”

Taking the lead role in the multi-unit franchising deal with Chicken Salad Chick represents a major career shift for Chamberlain. She has been a social worker for the past 10 years, focusing on mental health and substance use disorder treatment at residential treatment centers, inpatient hospitals and the Fairfax County Emergency Services. 

Throughout her years in the mental health field, she’s held on to her dream of one day owning and operating a small, local business, one where she could leverage her deepening ties to the community. With her father and father-in-law providing the guidance and start-up support she’ll need, she quickly dismissed any concerns about her career pivot.

“I’m used to working 12-and-a-half-hour shifts in really fast-paced crisis environment. I love to work hard and I love to learn. I also love to build people up and play to their strengths. I’m ready to put everything I have into this,” she said.

Asked what challenges his daughter can expect in opening and running eight Chicken Salad Chick locations, Patrick Cavanaugh spoke about the importance of hiring and keeping the right employees and managing food costs in inflationary times. He also expressed full confidence in his daughter’s abilities.

“She is hard worker and very ambitious,” he said. “And with Barry and myself, she also has an experienced team behind her so she’s not alone in this by any means,” he said. 

The initial investment for a non-drive-thru Chicken Salad Chick location is between $742,300 and $950,300 (not including tenant improvement funds) while the initial investment for drive-thru location is $762,300 to $980,300 (not including tenant improvement funds).

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