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The Reason Behind Dave’s Hot Chicken’s Fame

Dave’s Hot Chicken / Facebook

Dave’s Hot Chicken has gone from a humble parking lot food stand to an international chain with over 100 locations and counting in under seven years. How did Dave’s Hot Chicken get so famous? The short answer is because it’s absolutely delicious, but the longer, more interesting explanation combines culinary expertise, camaraderie, and brilliant business strategies.

According to its website, Dave’s Hot Chicken originated as a pipe dream shared by four Armenian-American friends that grew up together in Los Angeles:¬†brothers Tommy and Gary Rubenyan, Arman Oganeshyan, and Dave Kopushyan. While all four friends were invested in the project, Dave Kopushyan was the culinary mastermind, developing a recipe that rivals Nashville native Hattie B’s.

Kopushyan worked in lofty Michelin-starred kitchens and wanted to apply the culinary craftsmanship he learned as a chef to his passion for Nashville hot chicken. However, for the sake of accessibility and their love of In-N-Out Burger, Kopushyan and his cohorts aimed for a fast-casual dining experience. When Kopushyan had developed his proprietary Nashville hot chicken recipe, the friends collectively invested all of their money to buy the equipment for a fried chicken food cart in a parking lot in East Hollywood in 2017.

The four friends were in their twenties at the time and, like many young adults, took to social media to attract customers. Their social media efforts, high-quality product, and a general growing demand for fried chicken in L.A. launched them into the culinary spotlight that led to the brand’s rapid expansion.

Marketing and business strategies were key to the success of Dave’s Hot Chicken

Colorful Dave's Hot chicken location

The four friends credit an LA Eater food writer for bringing them into the limelight, but the explosion of Dave’s Hot Chicken’s popularity onto the national and international scene was the result of an ingenious marketing strategy, investors, and the menu itself. The menu hasn’t changed much since the beginning, offering a simple selection of fried chicken recipes in slider and tender form with seven spice levels and your choice of four sides.

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Keeping the menu simple and using high-quality halal chicken means that the restaurant offers only the dishes it has fully mastered. This equates to consistently well-executed meals that build an ever-expanding repeat customer base. Just as the four friends took to Instagram to market themselves, Dave’s Hot Chicken’s success continues to rely on its social media presence. The ultra-active social media accounts are visible to the billions of social media users and potential customers around the world who see the tantalizing pictures of fried chicken along with promotions and interactive challenges. The most recent social media challenge dared customers to share videos of themselves trying the hottest chicken, which is seasoned with one of the world’s hottest chilies: Carolina reaper.

Finally, Dave’s Hot Chicken received major endorsement from famous investment companies and star-studded investors alike. The company also decided to make its restaurant into a chain of franchises, putting the financial onus on third-party owners to cover the cost of respective brick and mortar locations.

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