Dinnertime Was Source of Innovation for Chicken Salad Chick
Stacy Brown is founder of Chicken Salad Chick, and will speak at the Restaurant Finance & Development conference on Nov. 15.
Stacy Brown’s entrepreneurial roots go back to family conversations around the dinner table, said the CEO and founder of Chicken Salad Chick, an Auburn, Alabama-based franchise that now has 62 restaurants across the Southeast.
She was on a recent conference call to prepare for a Restaurant Finance & Development Conference panel in Las Vegas on November 15.
“My father was an entrepreneur, and dinner time at our house was a sacred time,” Brown recalled. “My mother cooked every single night, and my father would end the discussion about what challenges did you encounter today, and what are some solutions? That’s how I started coming up with products and innovations around the dinner table.”
Years later she had three babies in quick succession. “I lived in a cloud of not sleeping,” she said, and she invented a baby bottle with a timer attached to it, so she would remember when to feed her children. She tried for a patent and Playtex expressed interest, she recalled, but ultimately passed on the idea.
Later still she became a single mother, and needed to find a way to support her family. “It took me back to those dinner-time discussions, and soul-searching—what do I have to offer the world?” She went to work in her kitchen, creating chicken salad “like a science experiment. I made a recipe that made people’s eyes roll to the back of the head,” she said.
Brown will share her story on a panel discussion at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference, November 14-16 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, presented by FT's sister publication, the Restaurant Finance Monitor. Mario Del Pero, co-founder of Mendocino Farms, and Matthew Corrin, founder of Freshii, will also tell interesting tales about life in the restaurant business.
One came up with a money-making scheme on the golf course at age 9, and the other drew ideas from the high-fashion runway of Oscar de la Renta. Find more information at www.restfinance.com.