The Untold Truth Of Chicken Salad Chick

Quick: It's lunchtime, you only have an hour, and you need to get something to eat. You could stop by a fast food place like McDonald's, Taco Bell, or Wendy's, again, but you want something that's not going to make you feel heavy and weighed down all day — and that's going to be impossible at most fast food joints. At the same time, you don't want to have to go to a full-service restaurant where you'll have to wait for 30 minutes just to get your order taken. And if you have to eat a sad grocery store deli sandwich or wilted salad one more time, you might just lose it.

When that's how you're feeling, the best spot for you to visit may just be Chicken Salad Chick. This chain restaurant is known for its quaint Southern charm, bubbly service, and a relatively healthy menu filled with just about every type of chicken salad known to man. It's an ideal lunch spot where you can grab a sandwich and some sides fast, and you can eat in the restaurant or take your order to go — whatever's most convenient for you.

Whether you've visited Chicken Salad Chick plenty of times in your life or you've never even heard of the chain, you might want to learn more about how this place popped up and what you'll find when you go there now. Before you visit this popular up-and-coming restaurant next, read up on the untold truth of Chicken Salad Chick.

The restaurant got started in Auburn, Alabama

Wondering how this restaurant even got its start? Stacy Brown was a stay-at-home mom living in Auburn, Alabama, who had three children under the age of six. After she got divorced, she knew it was time to do something different. And with so much on her plate already, she wanted to find a way to earn an income while taking care of her little ones. Not always an easy feat, but it sounds like Brown was determined. She told NPR that she started questioning herself: "What am I an expert on? What have I perfected over these last years as a stay-at-home mom that people would value? Well, I knew that I was a good cook. And I happened to be obsessed with chicken salad."

Not a bad thing to be obsessed with, in our opinion. So, the stay-at-home mom decided to start making chicken salad in her own Alabama kitchen, experimenting with recipes to determine which chicken salad recipe would be the biggest hit. It took her a while of making different chicken salads, feeding them to family and friends, and asking for their opinions, but she finally found a recipe that she knew she wanted to share on a wider scale. Though it all got started in Auburn, Brown's chicken salad legacy has now spread all over the country.

The founder sold door to door before opening the first restaurant

Once Brown had perfected her chicken salad recipe (after a lot of taste-testing), she knew it was time to start selling. However, as you probably already know, opening a restaurant is a very difficult undertaking — it's one of the most difficult businesses to get off the ground. So, instead of opening up a physical location, Brown had a different idea: Why not sell to people in her own community?

She hit the pavement, and she thought she would have the most luck selling at two different types of places: teachers' lounges and hair salons. There were people there who couldn't leave work and needed to eat, after all, so it makes a lot of sense. Before she knew it, there was a huge demand in Auburn for her delicious chicken salad. Instead of sticking to teachers' lounges and hair salons for the long haul, though, Brown then started selling door to door. News about her chicken salad reached far and wide, and so she officially started Chicken Salad Chick.

She was told it was illegal to run her business out of her home

Brown was thriving, making chicken salad in her kitchen and selling it all over town. But, luckily for Brown, that business model couldn't survive forever. It all came to a crossroads when she received a phone call from a man named Stan who was working for the Lee County Health Department. He had bad news for her: It was illegal to run a food service business out of her own home. That probably wasn't the most pleasant call she's ever received, as it effectively shut her business down. So, Brown had to make a choice: How would she continue to run her business?

She decided to level up. Brown and her husband decided that it was the right time to move into a physical location. Their vision was simple: They wanted to build a laid-back, "humble," carry-out-only restaurant where they could sell her chicken salad. The goal was to build a "honest-to-goodness restaurant where they could spread joy, enrich lives, and serve others." That's when they decided to open the very first Chicken Salad Chick location in Auburn, Alabama — looks like they made a smart decision on that front.

Chicken Salad Chick was just a take-out spot until customers started sitting on the floor

Originally, Chicken Salad Chick was just a place with a kitchen where you went inside, ordered your meal at a counter, and left with your meal. If you wanted to eat your food at the restaurant, you were out of luck. Seems simple enough, right? Well, some customers loved the food at Chicken Salad Chick so much that they wanted something more from their experience there.

According to QSR, one day, customers decided that they were going to eat in the restaurant anyway. There weren't even tables — they just sat on the floor, anywhere there was space. While it may not have been a protest exactly, Brown knew that she had to rethink how her store was laid out. At this point, she and her husband decided it would be a good idea to open a dining area in the restaurant. That way, customers could munch on their chicken salad immediately after getting it.

While you can still take your chicken salad on the go, you'll now find seating whenever you go into a Chicken Salad Chick.

You'll mostly find it in the Southeast

Per NPR, Brown believes that chicken salad is a Southern staple. It's a common dish to eat at lunchtime, at parties, or pretty much anytime people sit down for a meal. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that this chain is largely anchored in the Southeastern United States. It all started in Auburn, Alabama, but now, the company calls Atlanta its home. Since starting, Chicken Salad Chick has opened tons of new locations and continues to expand. But you'll find most of those locations in the Southeast. It's also spread to Texas and the Midwest, but you won't find it much beyond those areas.

Why? Brown says she wants the company to grow organically. She told Inc., "We're opening restaurants left and right. We're doing it effectively and we're doing it responsibly. We're not leaping out to California, we're not leaping out to New York. We're growing organically and we're letting each community pull us to the next one so there's a desire and they are screaming for us before we can get there."

Sounds like a good plan, but hopefully, someday, more people across the country will get to sample the amazing chicken salad you can find at this joint.

Every chicken salad flavor is named after someone in the owner's life

The first time you go to a Chicken Salad Chick, you're likely going to be blown away by all the different options you can choose from. Taking a look at the menu, you can see that there are 12 different types of chicken salad. Some are more on the simple side, like the Classic Carol and the Olivia's Old South, while others are full of fruit, like the Cranberry Kelli and the Fruity Fran. And don't forget about the spicy flavors: The Buffalo Barclay, Jalapeno Holly, and Kickin' Kay Lynne are all amazing. But you may be wondering how these different flavors even got their names.

The truth is, the different types of chicken salad are all named after real people in Brown's life. She wanted to honor them and make dishes that were reflective of their personalities, so that's just what she did. And it's not a secret: She actually explains how each flavor got its name and how it relates to the personality of the person it's named after. It's an interesting naming convention, and it makes every dish seem just a little more special.

Chicken Salad Chick will cater your next event

When you're throwing a birthday party, having a lunch event at work, or just need to feed a ton of people for the family reunion coming up, you may not know what to do about food. Sure, you may be able to make everything for the event yourself, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have the time (or willpower) to do so. That's when catering is generally the best option. When you choose to get your event catered, you don't have to worry about any of the prep work when it comes to cooking the food.

And if you want your catered lunch to be delicious, you'll be happy to find out that Chicken Salad Chick actually caters. The assorted sandwich luncheon is a great way to go if you want everybody to have a lot of different options to choose from, while the mini croissant luncheon sandwich makes it easy for people to grab a sandwich and go. But if you really want to maximize how much chicken salad you have on the table, go for the Chicken Salad Chicken luncheon.

With all of these options, it'll be easy to feed all the people at your event ... without any of the hard work.

None of their dishes are fried

Unfortunately, when it comes to food you can get fast, you don't have that many choices. Sure, you can choose between a burger and a taco, but what if you want something that's on the healthier side? There aren't too many restaurants that cater to people who want to eat something that's going to make them feel as good as it tastes. But we love the fact that Chicken Salad Chick offers so many healthier options, and Eat This, Not That! does too.

They pointed out that none of the dishes on this restaurant's menu are fried. Can you imagine that: Food you can get quickly that's not been dunked in bubbling oil? We'll admit: Chicken salad isn't necessarily the healthiest thing in the world to eat because it contains mayo, which really packs in the fat. However, chicken salad is a much better option than a greasy burger when you want something that's on the lighter side.

If you want to get a healthy meal fast, Chicken Salad Chick might be better than a lot of the alternatives out there.

The chain is closed on Sundays

Chick-Fil-A is one of the most celebrated fast food restaurants in the country, but if there's one thing that people don't like about it, it's the fact that it's closed on Sundays. Want to grab a chicken sandwich as you bring the weekend to a close? Well, you'll have to go somewhere else. And it looks like Chicken Salad Chick works with the same principle.

According to, Brown decided that she wanted to make sure she had enough time to spend with her family on the weekends — and who can blame her? We all need at least one day out of the week to rest. But as the company has grown, she hasn't decided to change that policy. Sure, they could probably make more money if they stayed open on Sundays, but closing one day out of the week ensures that their employees also have time off to spend with family and friends.

While we're bummed that we can't just get Chicken Salad Chick whenever we want, we love that they're taking this step to provide better working conditions for their employees. Maybe other chain restaurants should follow in their footsteps.

The founder hasn't tried one of the flavors on the menu

We already mentioned that Brown had been working on her chicken salad recipe for quite some time before she decided to start building her business. And you might think that after all that time spent cooking chicken and salad-tasting that she would know each and every flavor on the menu by heart. But actually, that's not the case at all — there's one flavor of chicken salad from her restaurant that she's never even tried.

She's never had the Dixie Chick before. Why? It turns out that she doesn't like onions and therefore wants to avoid it entirely. Surprisingly, this is the only flavor that has any onions in it at all — the others are all onion-free. We think that an onion-packed chicken salad sounds great, but we can understand avoiding it if you're not into them. At least Brown understands the importance of serving dishes that her customers will love, even if they're not exactly her ideal meal.

They sold 40 pounds of chicken on the first day open

By the time Brown and her husband decided to open the first location of Chicken Salad Chick in 2008, there was already a lot of hype around the salad. After all, she had been selling it around town for some time at that point, and she had gained a loyal following. However, she probably didn't expect what ended up happening on the first day that the restaurant was officially in business. They had 40 pounds of chicken salad to sell to customers — and they sold out completely, according to Inc.

It was clear that Brown's chicken salad was a complete hit. And because they had sold out so quickly on the first day of being open, they knew they had to prepare for the next day. On that day, they sold a whopping 80 pounds of chicken salad. Can you imagine? It sounds like everyone in town was eating chicken salad sandwiches.

Brown had so much success early on because she put in the work to build her brand from the beginning. If you get off to a start like that, you know you're doing something right.

Chicken Salad Chick's customer base is mostly female

When you first walk into a Chicken Salad Chick location, the first thing you're going to notice is the decor. They're not really going for an understated, modern look here. Instead, it's noticeably feminine. You'll see lots of pink and green shades, and there's a ton of girly artwork on the wall. It turns out, this wasn't an accident. That's because the customer base of Chicken Salad Chick is overwhelmingly female.

Scott Deviney is the CEO of Chicken Salad Chick, and he told Forbes that about 70% of the customer base is female. It's largely comprised of women between the ages of 30 and 60 who have two young kids at home. If that seems like a pretty specific demographic, you're right. But it looks like going after that demographic is working well for the company, and the decor alludes to that.

However, that doesn't mean that everyone can't enjoy the delicious options at Chicken Salad Chick. It doesn't matter who you are, you're going to want to try some of their chicken salad.