Yum! Brands Inc. is set to open a new restaurant concept in Arlington, Texas, on Wednesday called Super Chix, a self-proclaimed purveyor of “the last true chicken sandwich.”
Yum spokeswoman Virginia Ferguson confirmed in an email to Nation’s Restaurant News that Super Chix is a one-off restaurant that is being tested as a possible growth vehicle abroad. There are no plans to open more locations in the United States or to transfer any menu items to KFC, one of Yum’s three flagship global brands.
Another exploratory restaurant, an Asian sandwich concept called Banh Shop, is in development and is expected to open soon in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she added.
The two restaurants will be treated as “innovation incubators,” Ferguson wrote. Their placement in North Texas is because Yum’s new concept team works out of the company’s Plano, Texas, facility that houses the global headquarters for Pizza Hut. The chain’s chief executive, Scott Bergren, also serves as Yum’s chief innovation officer.
“Since the team is in Dallas, it made sense to place the store there to enable them to supervise it and monitor operations and product innovation more closely,” Ferguson wrote. “As a large global restaurant company, we periodically have new concepts like this developed by Scott and his team. … We have no plans to expand either of these at this time. They are purely exploratory and are for potential international expansion some day in the future.”
Yum’s Plano office used to house Yum Restaurants International, which was broken up and absorbed among Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell when Yum reorganized late last year to make those three brands individual global reporting entities.
Super Chix’s menu is a limited offering of a chicken sandwich or chicken tenders, French fries and haystack onions, two varieties of salad, and frozen custard. Were Yum ever to open more Super Chix locations in the United States, it likely would be positioned to compete with Chick-fil-A, which overtook KFC as the largest chicken chain in terms of domestic sales, according to NRN’s Top 100 report.
The company’s other domestic “innovation restaurant” was a fast-casual prototype called KFC eleven, which opened last summer in Yum’s headquarters city of Louisville, Ky. A second location of that concept is scheduled to open in Louisville this year. KFC opened a similar version of the restaurant in Canada last December, called KFC Select.
Yum operates or franchises more than 40,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries.