Bojangles Is Expanding To New States

This regional Southern fast food chain has big plans to take its chicken-focused menu nationwide.

National expansion is a lofty goal for any fast food chain—just ask Portillo's, Wienerschnitzel, or In-N-Out Burger—and it can be especially challenging when so many competitors already offer similar menus filled with breakfast sandwiches and burgers. However, Bojangles, a regional fried chicken chain, has a plan to stand out in the fast food landscape as it grows, QSR Magazine reports.

New Bojangles locations in 2024

Bojangles, founded in North Carolina in 1977, has more than 800 locations in 17 U.S. states, primarily throughout the Southeast. However, the brand has recently begun expanding its reach by adding more locations in Ohio, and one franchisee has penned an agreement to bring 20 new restaurants to Las Vegas. The company has also signed on to open 10 restaurants within TravelCenters of America's Western market and penned an agreement to expand into the Chicago market. Overall, Bojangles has netted 42 new openings between 2020 and 2023.

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However, as a fried chicken fast food chain, Bojangles is not alone, and the brand must compete with already nationally established brands like KFC and Popeyes. So, what will set Bojangles apart? The brand's leadership believes it can differentiate itself with a menu that simply follows the lead of what younger customers want.

How Bojangles plans to succeed

Bojangles' vice president of franchise sales Brooks Spiers noted to QSR that there has been a steep decline in consumption of bone-in chicken. For this reason, the chain has shifted the focus of its menu to hand-breaded tenders (also the specialty of Dave's Hot Chicken) and the addition of a new chicken sandwich (which just about every brand has debuted since 2019). Bojangles also has established success in the breakfast category, as it is known for its handmade biscuits and teas. To capitalize on this, the brand added its Bo-Berry Biscuit, milkshakes, lemonade, and new teas to the menu.

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"Every company in the world wants to figure out a way to attract younger customers," Spiers told QSR. "So we obviously knew that we needed to do it with some new menu innovation. So I think we hit the menu perfectly with continuing the great breakfast success, the three dayparts, and then ultimately going into a fantastic tasting tender and new chicken sandwich. So we feel very excited that we have the menu that the consumer, especially that younger consumer, wants as we start expanding into newer markets."

Bojangles is also highlighting its strengths through the design of its newest restaurant locations. Around a dozen Bojangles restaurants across Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Ohio feature a viewable biscuit station near the counter so customers can watch their biscuits being made.

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The newer restaurants also feature a more streamlined kitchen to help workers prep and complete orders in a more efficient manner. Other updates such as dual drive-thru lanes, digital menu boards, and daypart-specific holding zones called "The Power Line" have also been implemented.

Fried chicken is hardly a new concept in the fast food sphere, but it seems that Bojangles is learning from both its peers and its own customers' needs. It will soon become evident whether the chain's targeted innovations are capable of adding new dimension to a possibly dried-up category.

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