Our City Online

Dining

Hot Chicken Takeover Going Mobile

Walker Evans Walker Evans Hot Chicken Takeover Going MobilePhoto via Hot Chicken Takeover.
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

Hot Chicken Takeover has been very successful in 2014. Since launching earlier this year, the pop-up fried chicken restaurant in Olde Towne East has served thousands of customers every weekend from the walk-up window at the Near East Co-Op at 1117 Oak Street.

“It really has grown faster than we had ever anticipated,” said co-owner Joe DeLoss, who launched the concept with his wife Lisa. “We’re doing more than double the business that we had originally planned, which I’m wildly grateful for.”

While Hot Chicken Takeover has been widely embraced by the diverse neighborhoods of the Near East Side, DeLoss says that the restaurant also gets a lot of support from all over the region, from nearby suburbs like Bexley to further flung areas like Dublin and New Albany. So it only makes sense that the next step is taking the show on the road.

“We didn’t want to just do a traditional food truck, and instead we want to try to take the whole dining experience and transport it into different communities,” he explained. “And with winter on the way, we’re looking for ways that we can keep the business going and keep our workforce growing.”

The mobile version of Hot Chicken Takeover is expected to be able to serve 600 to 700 people in one serving push, and can be set up in different neighborhoods or can cater to corporate events, which the business has gotten many requests for.

Since HCT has such a community-driven focus and a built-in social mission through its workforce development hiring practices, DeLoss felt that launching a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter would be a great way to get the mobile business up and running quickly.

“It’s something we went back and forth on for awhile,” he stated. “But since we’ve developed a great community of customers that feel engaged in what we’re doing, we felt like crowdfunding was an additional opportunity to engage them and create more of a shared investment.”

After only two days, the campaign has raised nearly half of its $40,000 goal, with 275 backers who will receive rewards ranging from tshirts to gift cards to catered dinners for hundreds of people. A $10,000 pledge gets the backer Hot Chicken Takeover meals for life.

Beyond the mobile edition of the business, DeLoss and his team are making plans for an eventual brick-and-mortar restaurant that he expects to step up in or around Olde Towne East.

“We’ve had some great options come up, but we felt like it would have been impulsive to do it so quickly, so this mobile business will be an opportunity for us to continue testing our strategies and increase the size of our workforce without committing to a much larger investment,” he said. “I think there’s a pent up demand for classic, quality cooking in Columbus — and I think we’re riding a fried chicken wave right now — but my hope is that the customer base we’ve built will continue to support us out of the love of the food and the company too.”

For more information, visit www.hotchickentakeover.com.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags:

dining categories

Subscribe below: