Chef Ashley Christensen, who gained national fame as the chef of Poole’s Diner, opened her first BB’s Crispy Chicken last weekend. The fast casual concept has been in development for over two years and marks Christensen’s first restaurant outside of downtown Raleigh.
The renowned chef has teamed up with MDO Holdings to fully develop the burgeoning chain. The first location, in Raleigh’s Midtown East shopping center, opened on Saturday, October 30 with a line that wrapped around the building. The restaurant sold over 1,400 sandwiches over the weekend and was even forced to close early Sunday to restock on sandwiches, milkshakes and cheese curds. The restaurant reopened this week, again to large crowds, again resulting in more than 700 sandwiches being sold each day. This is all coming from in-store sales, as BB has not yet activated their order online or through the app due to the high demand inside the restaurant.
Christensen and MDO Holdings already have two more locations under construction, one at University Hill in Durham and the other at Parkside Town Commons in West Cary. The challenges of the pandemic gave Christensen and his team more time to refine the full menu, the management team and the overall concept.
“From the start, we wanted to emphasize the overall greatness of the chicken sandwich. I also knew we wanted to share this with the world so it gave me a whole different level of focus and the need for sensational flavor profiles throughout the menu. I was so focused on achieving success that I moved a frying setup to my porch so that whenever I had an idea I could just throw it up and try another iteration. We probably tried over 2,000 chicken sandwiches before we landed on this final recipe. I really believe what we’re about to unveil is greatness, ”said co-owner Ashley Christensen.
The menu includes five signature sandwiches and four different hot sandwiches, expertly spiced with house sauces, each made with a different TABASCO sauce. All sandwiches are served on a locally sourced brioche bun and can include any of 13 house sauces. Accompaniments include sweet potato waffle fries, sea salt pickled fries, and Ashe County North Carolina cheese curds that includes gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. The Crunchy Dunkers, bigger than your traditional nugget, also use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. Grilled chicken options are also available for all sandwiches and dunkers.
In addition to the amazing sandwiches, sides and dunkers, there are two expertly designed salad options as well as two wraps, one of which is the ‘Pimento Toastie’ which can even have crispy or grilled dunkers inside the melt-in-the-mouth goodness. .
“It has been an extreme pleasure to work with Ashley. Throughout the process, we have focused on success at every level, from the chicken sandwich to the sides to the back-end technology and the seamless ordering process on all platforms possible. We have assembled a team that matches our lofty vision, and we are delighted to unveil this concept at the Triangle, “said MDO Holdings CEO Michael Olander Jr.
BB’s has an easy-to-use iPhone and Android app as well as a seamless online ordering system. Inside the restaurant, in addition to ordering from a classic cash register, you can order from your table by scanning a special QR code that indicates your location.
Christensen added, “Working with Michael and the MDO Holdings team has been the perfect partnership. We’ve had our fair share of hurdles over the past 19 months, but we’ve always stayed focused on opening up a quick and easy-going concept that we believe can change the way people view the healthcare industry. fast food.
Two key recruitments were made to help develop and properly guide BB’s overall brand. Derek Ryoti, longtime COO for AC Restaurants, was hired in 2020 as COO for BB’s Crispy Chicken. Additionally, Jeff Saudo, a Christensen’s mentor and former Wake Tech Culinary teacher, has been hired as the Director of Culinary Hospitality. Both bring in-depth dining experience that spans fast food, casual and fine dining.
The team also consulted with renowned human resources consultant Denise Leerkes to help them develop inclusive policies and procedures. Additionally, tip sharing should ensure that all team members earn $ 15 an hour or more, in addition to a benefit package that includes PTO for all full-time members of the team. the team. Throughout the first week, the tip-sharing program allows each hourly employee to earn more than $ 20 per hour.
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