Richard and Nancy Stuart dreamed up the Chicken Express concept—quick-service fried chicken, with sides ranging from the traditional (fried okra, mashed potatoes and gravy) to the nouveau (jalapenos, cheese sticks)—in 1988. They opened their first franchise location in 1990, and are firm believers in the owner-operator model. So as they grow beyond their locations in Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma—Nancy Stuart says Chicken Express hopes to add a dozen units in contiguous states this year—they’re focused on finding “the finest, hardest-working individuals” to sign on the dotted line.

LocationMineral Wells, Texas
2006 Systemwide Sales$40,000,000
% Change in Sales27.0%
2006 U.S. Units119
% Change in Units19.0%
2006 Average Unit Volume$360,000
% Change in AUV2.9%
Future 50 Year2007