MCA, BigHospitality's sister site, reports that the business is planning to open 10 new sites – a mixture of restaurants and delivery-only kitchens – by the end of 2022 under its new brand name, which was first established by Soho House back in 2012.
While the original incarnation of Chicken Shop centred on rotisserie chicken, this new iteration will continue CHIK’N's focus on fried chicken with the signature Straight Up Chik'n burger served in a soft potato bun alongside fresh lettuce, buttermilk and herb mayo and pickles featuring on the menu alongside chicken tenders and wings available with sticky Sichuan sauce; and house fries.
Chief executive John Nelson tells MCA that under the partnership, the Straight Up will also feature on the menu of nine Soho House venues – predominately in London.
According to Nelson, CHIK’N's acquisition of the Chicken Shop brand name and IP came about following a conversation between the group's backer, Sir Charles Dunstone, and Nick Jones, founder and chief executive of Soho House.
“We will be doing a lot of stuff with them over the course of next year,” he says.
“It’s great for us as it adds a lot of credibility, in terms of the premium end, to the calibre of our product.”
Chicken Shop has five new bricks and mortar sites in the pipeline this year. The first, in Notting Hill Gate, will open on 28 April, followed by openings in Camden, Putney, Whitechapel (a former Soho House Chicken Shop restaurant) and Wimbledon.
The business currently operates three restaurants – Islington and Baker Street, which are currently being refurbished and will open alongside Notting Hill; and Soho, which is due to be refurbished in the coming weeks.
It also has four London-based delivery sites in Acton, Battersea, Bermondsey and Wandsworth, respectively.
“We have got really exciting plans for the brand,” adds Nelson, describing the new look branding as having a more urban, funkier feel, and will not be typical QSR, more 'fast casual meets QSR'.
“There is a real opportunity for premium chicken burgers. We are trying to raise the bar and create an environment that fits the calibre of the product – we think we are on the right track.”
While the menu remains fundamentally focused on fried chicken, the business has broadened its scope a little bit, adding rice and wraps over the past year and has started to explore more plant-based options. It has also been experimenting with grilled options, but Nelson says the business is aware it doesn’t want to try and become all things to all people.
New menu additions include No Way Gangnam – a spicy plant-based fillet with gojuchang mayo and kimchi slaw; and a Korean rice box, garnished with peppers and kimchi. It has also been developing its milkshake menu with three new flavours: sour cherry cheesecake, malted milk chocolate, and ‘birthday cake’.
Soho House launched Chicken Shop in London in 2012 alongside its Pizza East brand as a 40-cover restaurant in the basement of Highgate Studios in Kentish Town.
CHIK’N was launched by Chick ‘n’ Sours founders Carl Clarke and David Wolanski in the summer of 2017 on Baker Street as a 'guilt free' fried chicken shop with initial plans to grow the brand significantly both in London and other major cities across the UK