HELENA — In June of 2020, the Taco John’s on Prospect Avenue in Helena closed its doors and signs for a new restaurant appeared. That restaurant being Slim Chickens.
Both Taco John’s and Slim Chickens are franchised under the Preferred Restaurant Group, and Martin Smith, the Director of Operations for the Slim Chickens brand in this market, said the reason they brought the brand to Helena was so they could bring in something new.
“We thought that Slim Chickens would do very well in Helena, especially Montana. We still feel like we can serve that community having that one Taco John's there. Still being able to keep that was really important to us, but also being able to bring in a new, fast, and young brand is very exciting,” said Smith.
Like all businesses, the inside of the restaurant looks different because of COVID-19 protocols, but Smith said the plan for expansion in the region likely won’t get held up by the pandemic.
Smith said the brand has more than 100 locations in the United States and internationally and hopes to expand to 600 restaurants over the next 10 years. Smith said they hope the new restaurant in Helena will help them expand the brand across the state in the near future.
“This is us setting the tone and the pace for what we expect our Slim Chickens to do across all of Montana. We have an unprecedented opportunity to show everybody in Helena what Slim Chickens is,” said Smith. “We want that to spread across the state so that when we come into these other towns, everybody knows what Slim Chickens is.”
The restaurant opened its doors in early December and employs around 90 people at the location and since Slim Chickens served its first customer in Montana, Smith said they’re excited with the early success they’ve had and the feedback they’ve been getting.
“Everything that we've been seeing is a very positive outlook from the community. We were able to bring a new product to everybody, we were able to get quick service times through the open and really do what we wanted to do which was: deliver a high-quality product with reasonable service times.”