Adam Batty and wife Liz - herself a former lawyer - hope to turn Happy Bird into a chain of restaurants with a medium term plan to open more restaurants in Bristol and other locations in the south west.
Chris Moore, former CEO of Domino’s Pizza UK and Ireland and an investor in a number of food businesses, is non-executive chairman.
Located within Clifton Down Shopping Centre, the restaurant is billed as a “fresh, premium, fast-casual concept” that will serve high welfare, free-to-roam poultry fed on corn and fresh herbs.
Happy Bird will offer food to eat-in, takeaway and for home delivery, with orders delivered with both push bikes and electric scooters.
Diners can choose from boneless or boned, naked or buttermilk fried chicken and a range of seven homemade sauces and "healthy" sides.
The drinks list is tight, with one house and two craft beers, and a selection of healthy shakes and “interesting” soft drinks.
“We think great quality chicken, that tastes like chicken used to taste, should not be the exclusive preserve of a handful of the finest restaurants in the city," he says. “Fast, convenient chicken shouldn’t mean a deep fried, MSG crammed 4-week-old bird, factory-farmed in Thailand. You won’t find a zero welfare, tasteless bird grilled to high heaven, hiding behind a load of hot sauces here at Happy Bird.”
Since leaving since leaving private practice in London, Batty has spent the past 16 years working in leadership roles in the hospitality, leisure retail, fast food and fashion retail industries.
Happy Bird will be one of a number of ethically minded fried chicken shops to have launched in recent years.
The duo behind trendy London chicken restaurant Chick ‘n’ Sours launched fast casual spin-off CHIK’N last year and now operate a total of four sites serving high welfare chicken with more in the pipeline. Other players include the five-strong Absurd Bird, Brighton’s The Bok Shop, and street food outfit Butchies, which opened its first bricks and mortar site in Shoreditch late last year.
Some contemporary fried chicken restaurants have struggled to take flight, however. Hen is no more having closed its inaugural Brighton site and its London site and Tottenham’s Chickentown closed after two year’s trading.
In Bristol, high profile chef Josh Eggleton closed his Chicken Shed restaurant in the city’s Cargo development last year after around two year’s trading, saying that it had proved difficult to align a fast, low cost fried chicken restaurant with high welfare products.