Slim Chickens Suspends Dine-In Service in NWA

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Slim Chickens, citing the rising rates of COVID-19 infection, is suspending dine-in service at its seven outlets in northwest Arkansas and in Fort Smith beginning today.

“The health and safety of our guests, employees, families and the communities we serve is our top priority,” Tom Gordon, co-founder and CEO of the fast-casual restaurant chain, said in a press release. “We’re proceeding with great caution as we continue to navigate this unprecedented period and doing our part to mitigate the spread.”

The state reported on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus cases in Arkansas had risen by 728. It was the sixth consecutive day the number had risen by more than 600. As of Tuesday, 34,655 cases had been reported in the state and 374 people had died from COVID-19.

The state on Tuesday added 62 cases in Washington County, 46 in Crawford County, 45 in Benton County and 30 in Sebastian County.

Slim Chickens, founded in 2003 and based in Fayetteville, has 107 restaurants in 17 states, the United Kingdom and Kuwait.

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the company instituted increased cleaning and disinfecting measures and sought to limit person-to-person contact, the press release noted. And it conducts temperature checks of all its employees and requires them to wear masks and gloves and wash their hands every 20 minutes.

“We’re fortunate to be in a position to function without the use of our dining rooms efficiently and effectively, operating through a limited contact experience and continuing our drive thru, carry out and curbside service, processes we have perfected over the past several months,” Gordon said in the release.

In addition, Slim Chickens is enhancing its smartphone app. The enhancements will allow users to choose curbside or pickup service when ordering and alert the restaurant when diners are on their way to the restaurant and when they’ve arrived. That is rolling out on Aug. 3 as a test program for the chain’s northwest Arkansas locations.

The following Slim Chickens locations are suspending dine-in service:

  • 2120 N. College Ave., Fayetteville;
  • 637 Joyce Blvd., Fayetteville;
  • 3562 W. Wedington Drive, Fayetteville;
  • 1855 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Fayetteville;
  • 5240 W. Sunset Ave., Springdale;
  • 2002 S. Promenade Blvd., Rogers;
  • 1400 S.E. Eagle Way, Bentonville; and
  • 7501 Phoenix Ave., Fort Smith.

Gordon told Arkansas Business that the company would be watching the case count in northwest Arkansas and will consider resuming dine-in service once it sees a sustained decline.