How Big Is the Demand for Hot Chicken?

Hot Chicken Kitchen is capitalizing on the excitement surrounding hot chicken by bringing it to the rest of America directly from Nashville

To understand the rapidly growing popularity of hot chicken, it is very important to understand that chicken in the United States is beyond big business — this fact from Reference should be all the perspective you need as to how much Americans love their favorite source of protein:

“As of 2014, in the United States, 8 billion chickens are consumed per year, which translates to 21,917,808 chickens per day. Americans eat 25 billion chicken wings per year, with 1.25 billion, or 100 million pounds, eaten during the Super Bowl weekend alone.”


It’s true. And naturally, the tremendous amount of chicken we consume translates into an astonishing $90 billion dollars spent on chicken every year, according to the National Chicken Council, who also reports that nine out of every 10 consumers purchase chicken regularly. Knowing this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn from an article titled, “Move Over Burger: Fast-Food Lovers are Going Crazy Over Fried Chicken,” that the popularity of our favorite bird continues to climb:

“In 2016, chicken consumption remains high with levels surpassing those from the previous two years. A 2016 survey shows 72 percent of consumers ate a chicken meal or snack from a food service establishment. That’s a 7.5% increase from 2015.”

In other words, Americans are eating out more than ever before, and when they eat out, the majority of folks are choosing to eat chicken. Hot chicken not only benefits immensely from Americans’ love affair with chicken, but several other factors are also at play that make hot chicken the most buzz-worthy food item in the last several years.

Hot chicken is one of the last of the authentic, regional foods that the majority of Americans are only just discovering. Think about it: how many more regional foods have such potential to become a staple in American food culture? Hot chicken is easy to understand because of its simplicity — a piece of crispy fried chicken smothered in cayenne pepper spice mix, served on top of a piece of white bread, with a pickle — while the myth and culture surrounding its creation connects us to a great part of our history. It is said that in the 1930s, hot chicken was created to punish a local Nashville philanderer for cheating, only to have the philanderer love his punishment. Stories about food don’t come any better than that!

Hot Chicken with a side of turnip greens, broccoli casserole, and picklesAuthenticity is also a big part of what American consumers want in their food. Flavor & The Menu recently published an article titled, “It’s All About Authenticity,” that reveals how important authenticity is in choosing our food:

“Authenticity is inextricably tied to narrative. The scene is set in culinary traditions, and authentic flavor adds both character and plot. Datassential’s consumer research tells us that more than 70 percent believe that the story behind authentic food is important.”

How Hot Chicken Kitchen Is Getting Hot Chicken Right

Hot Chicken Kitchen could have only been created in Nashville, where authentic hot chicken reigns supreme, and is one of the many reasons the media have fallen in love with Music City. Hot chicken is not only the darling of the national media, with nearly every publication from Time magazine to The Wall Street Journal devoting ink to the Music City specialty in recent years, but it has also landed in restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles and around the globe. Even fast food chains such as Popeyes, Chick-fil-A and KFC have added approximations of hot chicken to their menu.

But there’s no substitutions for the real thing. The executive team at Hot Chicken Kitchen took pains to create a unique fast-casual concept that would allow hot chicken enthusiasts across the country to get the authentic hot chicken experience. From the moment you walk through our doors, you would forgiven for thinking you’re in Music City. There’s country music piping from our speakers on our own commercial free radio station, country music stars line the walls, and the church pew seating is casual, with small aluminum sheet pans of food and real silverware making for a fashionable experience.

Then there is our food. Not only is our hot chicken prepared using our own top-secret recipe but we have also developed a process that makes our food remarkably consistent — a rarity for hot chicken establishments. We’ve taken pains to be inclusive to the mainstream consumer by offering four different levels of heat, as well as providing the option of having hot chicken on a sandwich, in a wrap or in a salad. We offer a wide array of classic sides, such as macaroni and cheese and collard greens, to complete our southern fare. We take convenience a step further than our competitors by allowing our customers to order online and to swing by on their lunch break and pick up their food at our drive-thru window.

“We wanted to make sure that we could accommodate both the hot chicken purists and the folks that don’t like their chicken hot at all,” says Martin Tunnell, Vice President of Development and co-founder of Hot Chicken Kitchen. “We wanted our restaurants to be a destination in terms of the look and feel, as well as ensuring that the legacy of hot chicken would be honored outside of Nashville. We also wanted to ensure that we were accessible to the 21st century consumer in terms of providing them with healthier options and the ability to order online. Our stores in Alabama and Michigan are proof that our concept works, and that people really do have a craving for hot chicken outside of Nashville if you do it right.

Ready to open a Hot Chicken Kitchen in your community?

Hot Chicken Kitchen is a low-cost investment opportunity with potential for high returns, with the total investment estimate to begin operations on a new Hot Chicken Kitchen ranging from $230,000 and $355,000. Because our build-out costs and ongoing overhead are lower than many other brands in the fast-casual, QSR and fast food segments, Hot Chicken Kitchen offers a quicker ramp-up time, which allows for a potentially faster return on investment. The license fee for your Hot Chicken Kitchen is $25,000.

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