The Hawaii-based brand, Chicken In A Barrel has developed a huge cult following and is on the cusp of tremendous growth. People from far and wide flock to the eatery to taste their famous “off the hook” barbeque and enjoy customer service with aloha.
Part of what gains them such notoriety is the unique way they cook their signature meat. Their own custom designed 55-gallon barrels are a focal point in the restaurants and fill the air with the mouth-watering aroma of BBQ. Brent Bierma, co-owner of Chicken In A Barrel says, “A crowd gathers when we open those barrel lids. Everyone wants to see the meat come off the hook.”
With the vision of sharing his love for food and God, founder Mike Pierce opened the first Chicken In A Barrel restaurant in Kapaa, Kauai in 2010. In just two short years it became clear the demand for his barrel cooked BBQ necessitated another location, and they opened another location in Hanalei, Kauai. But people still wanted more, and in 2016, to keep up with overwhelming demand, the Hawaiian treasure has turned to franchising.
Chicken in a Barrel’s brand recognition is already far reaching. Bierma says, “We hear things from customers like, ‘I live in Canada and my friend told me I had to try this restaurant when I was here.’ We have built up quite a following that extends far beyond the island”. Brand awareness only continues to grow as their merchandise and proprietary Big Mike’s rub and sauce sales soar.
With two franchised locations set to open in the next year, one on the island of Kauai and the other in Santa Barbara, California, this emerging franchise brand is gearing up for the growth that lays ahead. The company knows they need to have the right systems in place to set up their franchisees for success.
So far their franchise sales have come about organically, but this is about to change. To help organize their lead generation system and to help them facilitate those leads they have contracted an outside firm. Bierma says, “With people expressing interest from all over, we needed to develop a system to track them. We are speaking with interested parties in areas like Alaska and New Jersey. It is amazing to see how far our brand already reaches.”
To strengthen their infrastructure and best practices, the organization recently attended their first International Franchise Association conference in Las Vegas. Bierma says, “We learned a lot of things that are going to help us with our back end and enable us to provide the best possible support to our growing franchise and distribution network. The conference was very eye-opening and we gained so much valuable insight.”
Besides employing the right help to organize their systems and best practices, the brand has clearly defined the culture of the brand. Their strong purpose driven mission is another reason the brand is so unique. Over the past eight years, corporate Chicken In A Barrel locations have provided an annual Christmas dinner for their community, serving close to 1,000 people in need each year. This is an example of the sort of community giving they are hoping their growth will spread to the markets they enter. Bierma comments, “We are looking for service-minded individuals to grow the brand that have a passion for helping others and dedicated to community giving.”
Chicken In A Barrel is providing franchisees with a unique and highly scalable business model. By taking the time to create a solid infrastructure and support network they are proactively setting their franchisee up for success. They have differentiated themselves with their innovative cooking method and dedication to making a positive contribution to their local communities. All this combined with their already expansive brand recognition and cult following, the growth potential of this emerging franchise brand is exponential.