The Story of How Dave’s Hot Chicken Grew to Its Success

Dave's Hot Chicken

Any person who genuinely loves chicken knows that the chicken you get at one restaurant is in no way equal to what you might find at another. The truth is, all chicken is definitely not created equally. It comes down to knowing how to find the right chicken of the highest quality. From there, you have to know how to prepare it so that it’s juicy and flavorful in the extreme. Of course, it also helps to have several different variations of heat involved, especially for those people that are feeling a bit more adventurous with their cuisine choices. That’s precisely how Dave’s Hot Chicken became so popular. If you’ve never tried it, you seriously don’t know what you’re missing. Fortunately, the restaurant is becoming more popular each and every day and that means that it’s starting to pop up in other areas of the country, not just its native Los Angeles. There’s no doubt about it, this is good news for anybody that loves chicken. If you’re curious to know more about the story, you’ve come to the right place. All you have to do is keep reading.

How It All Started

Believe it or not, the same restaurant chain that is now popping up all over the United States and Canada got it start only a few short years ago, in May of 2017. The four principal owners of the restaurant, Dave Kopushyan, Arman Oganesyan, and Tommy and Gary Rubenyan, pulled together $900 and rented a little pop-up shack in a Los Angeles parking lot. They showed up with a large fryer and some picnic tables and went to work. When the business first got started, all of their marketing was handled on social media. In fact it was the responsibility of one member of the group to send out information on Instagram about what they were doing and then the rest is history. It wasn’t long before they had a line that snaked through the parking lot and around the block. As a matter of fact, they were catching the attention of almost everybody and they were doing it immediately upon opening.

Not Your Everyday Chicken

There is no doubt about it, Dave’s Hot Chicken is not your everyday chicken, nor does it offer up an everyday menu. It only took a year from the time that these four friends first opened their pop-up stand in the parking lot until they had enough money to open an actual brick-and-mortar store. The lines kept coming and once they opened the brick and mortar store, those lines were so long that you could almost count on waiting for at least an hour to get to the front of the line, even when it wasn’t during the busiest time of the day. Practically everybody was clamoring to get an order from Dave’s Hot Chicken. Obviously, it didn’t take very long for the company to start getting noticed by more than just the individuals living and working in the neighborhood.

By 2019, just two years after they opened that first pop-up stand in a parking lot located in East Hollywood, they were signing a deal with the company known as Phelps. Most people will recognize them as the individuals responsible for Pretzel Wetzel. From that point on, the restaurant became a franchise and new locations started popping up all over the United States and even in a few places in Canada. However, it’s not all about marketing. If that was the case, every restaurant that has mastered the idea of marketing would end up becoming an overnight success. The thing that makes this restaurant different is the most important thing. It’s all about the food. In fact, the food is really the only thing that matters at Dave’s Hot Chicken. It has been since the very beginning. Even when they were serving food out of a tin shed in a parking lot, they never even thought about cutting corners where food quality was concerned. The truth is, the quality and flavor of their chicken has always been the most important thing. That is why the business has become so popular and why it continues to be popular to this day.

It’s All About the Flavor

In addition to using only the best chicken that money can buy, they also have a specialized process for frying it that makes it second to none. Of course, it’s not a process that they’re anxious to share with anyone else, lest someone else come along and use their own techniques to compete against them. Suffice it to say that it’s all based on the popular Nashville Hot Chicken trend. In this particular case, they offer seven different varieties of chicken tenders, ranging from chicken with no spices whatsoever to one called the Reaper. If you like your chicken on the mild side, you can choose the one that has no spices on it. Of course, there are other options as well, just in case you’re feeling slightly adventurous (but not too much so). Some of the tamer options involve different variations of mild all the way up to medium. If you’re a bit more on the adventurous side, you can try hot or extra hot and you might find out what it’s like to eat chicken that is truly spicy.

So, what happens if you are feeling extra adventurous and you really want to try something new? You can try the hottest variety of all, the one known as the Reaper. However, don’t be surprised when the people at Dave’s Hot Chicken ask you to sign a waiver before you order it. That’s right, you actually have to sign a waiver before you can purchase the hottest variety of chicken that they sell. This waiver basically guarantees that you’re not going to come back and sue them if you end up seeing sounds, hearing colors or going into a full-blown seizure because the chicken is so hot that it causes every neuron in your brain to fire simultaneously. All joking aside, there is a bona fide reason why the company asks you to sign a waiver. Some people who are sensitive to capsaicin and the other type of spices used in the chicken can potentially have a reaction. It’s also something that most people encourage heart patients to stay away from because believe it or not, the chicken is so hot that it can potentially induce an irregular heartbeat. That said, if you’re brave enough to sign the waiver and get the chicken, you’ll either go tearing through the hallway like your hair is on fire in search of water or you’ll find your brand new favorite style of chicken, one that you can’t get just anywhere. That is precisely what makes Dave’s Hot Chicken so special.

Plenty of Side Items

While the restaurant specializes in chicken, it’s not like that’s the only thing that they have on the menu, either. Granted, it is the only main food item on the menu, but there are plenty of side items to be enjoyed with it. Consider their famous hand-cut fries or even their specially made coleslaw which is made in-house, fresh every single day. If that’s not enough to get your attention, consider this fact. The restaurant makes its own special dipping sauce. It’s called Dave’s sauce and it’s made by combining mayonnaise and chipotle. It’s just creamy enough and spicy enough to make you want to come back for more again and again. The best part is that it can be used for dipping both the chicken and the french fries and it tastes great either way. As a matter of fact, it’s not at all uncommon for patrons to ask for extra sauce because it’s so good that they just can’t get enough of it. Next to the chicken itself, it’s easily one of the best things about visiting any of the franchise locations associated with this restaurant.

Celebrity Endorsement

Another reason that the restaurant has been doing so well is because it’s gotten so much attention that it managed to get an endorsement from celebrity rapper Drake. There aren’t a lot of fast food restaurants that end up with any type of celebrity endorsement, much less something from someone who is so well-known. That fact alone speaks volumes about their food quality and their ability to understand marketing at a level that very few people ever manage to achieve. Of course, there are some people that would go to the restaurant just because Drake endorses it. That said, there are many more that couldn’t care less who endorses the restaurant or why. They simply want chicken that tastes great each and every time and they know that they’re able to get exactly that at Dave’s Hot Chicken.

Outstanding Customer Service

Of course, it’s not only about the food. Granted, that’s a huge part of any individual’s decision to either visit or avoid a restaurant. However, there are more things involved here that round out the picture. Outstanding customer service is one of those things. No one wants to go to a restaurant that serves great food, only to be ignored by the staff or worse yet, treated rudely by said staff. That is sort of like going to a restaurant that offers great customer service that is literally second to none, only the food comes and it’s absolutely dreadful. You genuinely can’t have one without the other if you want your restaurant to be successful. Dave’s Hot Chicken has definitely figured out how to do everything right. From the moment that you walk in, you’re greeted with a friendly, warm staff in a clean restaurant that has a welcoming, lively environment. The truth is, you’re already happy when you get through the door and your level of happiness is only going to increase once you get your food and start eating.

Comparably Priced

Another great thing about this restaurant is that their prices are fairly competitive with other individuals that serve this same type of food. While they may not be the most economical option out there, you have to remember that you’re paying for what you get. Typically, they charge about $3.50 for every chicken strip that you buy. Granted, that sounds like a lot but think about it this way. Most chicken restaurants offer meals with four strips and a single side for anywhere from $8 to $15. If you were to add up the cost of their chicken strips, it would definitely fall into the higher end of that category, but you have to consider the quality of the food that you are getting at the same time. This isn’t something that you can barely chew and basically have to choke down. It’s something that is absolutely delicious and it’s made fresh on a daily basis. You don’t have to worry about getting stuck with something that’s been sitting under a heat lamp for the last two days. By the same token, the chicken strips that are in question here are roughly two and a half times bigger than the strips that you can expect to get at most other chicken restaurants. If you look at it in that context, the $3.50 asking price for each chicken strip doesn’t seem so bad after all. There is absolutely no doubt about it, Dave’s Hot Chicken has figured out how to do chicken right. At the same time, they know what customers are looking for when it comes to creating the right sides and delivering it all with outstanding customer service in an environment that doesn’t make you want to turn around and go right back out the door the moment you walk in. If you’re lucky enough to live in a location that has a Dave’s Hot Chicken, you probably already know all of this. Chances are, you’ve been there dozens of times. If you’re not lucky enough to live close by, you might still be able to sample this cuisine for yourself. Dave’s Hot Chicken is expanding to many additional locations throughout 2021 and 2022. As such, it’s coming to locations all across the United States and adding a few additional locations in Canada. That means that you might have a chance to try it for yourself sooner than you thought.

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