Concept to scout: ChocoChicken

With a name like ChocoChicken, you’d expect there to be chocolate everywhere. But that’s not the case for the latest concept in downtown Los Angeles from restaurateur Adam Fleischman of Umami Burger and 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria fame. “It’s a fried chicken sports bar,” says Fleischman.

The name aims to describe and sell its signature item—fried chicken that infuses chocolate into the preparation in multiple ways: in the brine, marinade, breading and finishing rub. But don’t expect a full meal, averaging around $15, to be chocolate heavy. While the potatoes are made with white chocolate, it’s not in much else on the limited menu.

There’s been a bit of a learning curve for customers since the spot opened in June. Fleischman admits that chocolate chicken is a hard concept to market, since it doesn’t add sweetness like most would expect. But he attributes his reputation for its warm reception. “[Customers] just need to get past expectations and have to get accustomed to a new flavor,” he says.

Fleischman and his team plan to grow ChocoChicken fast; just three weeks in, they already had signed a lease for a second unit in Santa Monica, Calif. And while he admittedly hasn’t explored franchising just yet, he says there is a chance, since “franchising is a good way to grow things quickly.”

More from Adam Fleischman, Co-founder, ChocoChicken

Why chicken now?
Fleischman noticed a lack of high-end chicken places and jumped at the opening. “Fried chicken is one of those staples everyone likes ... it resonates with a wide range of people and has a far reach.”

What’s the service model?
While full service right now, it’s set up to possibly be fast casual later down the road, he says.

Why full service?
“To provide a better experience and to test what we’re doing and get a plan together.”

How it is marketed?
Like at Fleischman’s other concepts, he relies heavily on social media and word of mouth. “There is no marketing strategy outside of PR and outreach.”

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