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Contributed photo by Slim Chickens / Four Slim Chickens restaurants are slated to open in Chattanooga by 2027.

An Arkansas-based fast-casual restaurant chain with a menu around chicken tenders is planning four eateries in Chattanooga, becoming the second such operator this month to announce plans to enter the market.

Slim Chickens, which has about 100 eateries including four in Tennessee, is looking at opening its first Chattanooga location in 2022.

"All four locations will be open by 2027," said Scott Davis of franchisee The Davis Group.

He said that Slim Chickens has restaurants in Memphis, and he sees Chattanooga as having a similar demographic.

"It just made sense to grow in the area," Davis said.

He said the specific sites for his group's Chattanooga eateries haven't been identified yet.

The Davis Group plans 10 restaurants in Tennessee in all, with locations in Knoxville and Jackson as well as Chattanooga. Slim Chickens already has sites in Nashville and Murfreesboro.

The first Slim Chickens restaurant opened in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 2003, according to the company. Its 100th eatery opened in Little Rock last December.

Food is cooked to order, the company said, and the menu includes chicken tenders, fresh salads, sandwiches, chicken and waffles, chicken wings and side items along with 17 house-made dipping sauces.

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Contributed photo by Slim Chickens / Fast-casual chain Slim Chickens has more than 100 locations in the United States and in the United Kingdom and Kuwait.

The Davis Group, located in Herberspring, Arkansas, also operates Slim Chickens restaurants in that state.

"We are so excited to expand our Slim Chickens footprint in new Tennessee markets," Davis said. "Our existing locations are performing well and with fresh markets going fast, we knew we had to jump on the opportunity."

Each eatery employs about 80 to 100 people, he said.

Davis said his company also oversees operations of about 30 Sonic Drive-In restaurants.

Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens, said The Davis Group is the type of franchise partners the growing chain wants in new markets.

"With their experience, we have no doubt that their locations will be successful in Tennessee," he said.

Earlier this month, Florida-based Huey Magoo's also unveiled plans to open five restaurants in Chattanooga, Cleveland and Charleston, Tennessee, over the next three to four years.

Huey Magoo's, which started in Orlando in 2004 and is known for its chicken tenders, is adding franchise locations in Georgia and South Carolina as well as Tennessee.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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