Slim Chickens to open at XNA
A Slim Chickens restaurant is expected to open at Northwest Arkansas National Airport (XNA) in Highfill by the end of the year.
Springdale-based franchisee Philip Enterprises Inc. will build and operate the restaurant that will be located just after the security checkpoint. It also built and operates an Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise near the airport’s A gates.
Mike Philip, co-owner of Philip Enterprises, explained the new fast-casual chicken restaurant will be centrally located in the terminal and that having two airport locations will allow for cost savings and the ability to generate more revenue. He noted this will be the first area Slim Chickens franchise location, and he has experience operating other franchises with non-franchise ones in the same market.
“We’re a locally-owned company that has relationships with national brands, and if we can have that relationship with a national brand be a local brand also that’s growing, then that’s the best of all worlds for us,” Philip said. “We didn’t entertain any other brands because once we began the conversation with Slim (Chickens), it just seemed natural.”
Philip said he expects to invest between $400,000 and $800,000 in the new location. It will have between 30 and 40 staff and serve late breakfast, lunch and dinner crowds.
The restaurant will comprise about 1,600 square feet. By comparison, the newest area Slim Chickens in Springdale is in a 3,371-square-foot building, formerly a Hardee’s. It opened Jan. 30 as the Fayetteville-based brand’s 26th Arkansas location.
“We’re very excited to open the new store at the Northwest Arkansas (National) Airport with Mike and his team and glad to have the opportunity to serve both local guests and new arrivals who are traveling in and out of the area,” said Slim Chickens CEO Tom Gordon, adding that the brand has more than 200 locations in 32 U.S. states and the United Kingdom.