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Dave's Hot Chicken (US) Signs First International Deal

03 Jun 2020 - Dave’s Hot Chicken, the Los Angeles-based street food sensation turned breakthrough fast-casual brand, announced today it has inked a franchise agreement with Obelysk Foods Ltd., led by John Bitove, founder of the NBA Toronto Raptors, to open up 30 locations in Canada, focused initially on Ontario and British Columbia.

“On a trip to LA with my daughter Blair Bitove, who went to USC, we visited Dave’s Hot Chicken, saw the line ups and passion the guests had, tried the incredibly flavourful food and knew this was a concept we needed to add to our portfolio,” says Bitove. “On behalf of the Obelysk team, we’re excited to leverage our insights gleaned from years of experience in the industry to bring this electric brand to communities throughout Ontario and British Columbia initially, and ultimately to the rest of Canada,” said John Bitove.

Bitove is a passionate business builder, spearheading several major investment projects from starting the NBA Champion Raptors, satellite radio to real estate. One industry that has remained consistent for Bitove is restaurants, which dates back to when he was a teenager working in his family’s restaurants to operating many brands and restaurants across the country.

“We were beyond excited as the partnership with John started to fall into place. Not only did it signify the making of the brand’s first international growth, but John’s business acumen and restaurant experience is unbeatable,” says Bill Phelps, CEO of Dave’s Hot Chicken, who founded Wetzel’s Pretzels and was one of the original investors of Blaze Pizza. “John understands our passion for serving mouthwatering food and appreciates our team’s commitment to a simple, crave-worthy menu and environment that keeps our fans coming back for more. We are fully confident that John and his team is the perfect group to introduce Canada to Dave’s Hot Chicken.”

Founded by classically-trained chef Dave Kopushyan and three friends in early 2017, Dave’s Hot Chicken initially opened as a parking lot pop-up, with lines quickly wrapping around the block. Specializing in hot chicken tenders and sliders, with spice levels ranging from “No Spice” to “Reaper,” each restaurant also serves sides of house-made Kale Slaw, creamy Mac & Cheese and crispy Fries or Cheese Fries.

The brand has exploded in popularity and now has multiple brick-and-mortar locations open in Southern California. Today, the fast-casual brand has its sights set on growing throughout the United States through franchising and currently has 100 units committed in less than six months of announcing the franchise initiative.

“Reaching 100 committed units is a huge milestone for the brand, and having partners like John early on in our growth is priceless validation of the franchise opportunity,” adds Shannon Swenson, Vice President of Franchise Development at Dave’s Hot Chicken.

“This is a great product for Canadians who love flavourful food items. Dave’s Hot Chicken will resonate with our customers in many ways by providing a variety of options including walk up, delivery services and ultimately, in-restaurant seating when permitted,” says Blair Bitove, who is helping to develop Dave’s Hot Chicken throughout Canada.

Dave’s Hot Chicken offers a robust business model, including national and local marketing support, proven systems, manuals and operating procedures, as well as assistance with site selection. As the brand expands, it is seeking qualified, experienced and passionate restaurant operators and franchise groups to develop the concept in key markets.

QSR Magazine