Bojangles coming to Pelham

Bojangles plans to start work on a new restaurant in March in Pelham at Pelham Parkway and Belcher Drive, one of which the company hopes are several constructed in the near future in Shelby County and in a wider area in the Birmingham market.

Eric Newman, executive vice president for Bojangles Restaurants Inc., said the Pelham restaurant should be open by June.

“We are also very active in working with seriousness in Childersburg and Columbiana, and we have people active in the whole region,” Newman said.

The quick-service chicken restaurant was founded in Charlotte, N.C., 32 years ago and operates 435 restaurant, a third of which are company owned. The others are owned by franchisees.

“We had annual sales of $700 million system wide last year,” Newman said. “We’ve grown from a small company. We’re still not large, but we’ve begun to get noticed.”

Bojangles is highly concentrated in the Southeastern U.S., with restaurants in a total of 10 states and a handful in central America, Newman said.

“Typically, people think of us as a chicken quick-service restaurant, and that is wrong. Our restaurants do up to 40 percent of our business before 11 a.m.,” Newman said. “Our founder is the inventor of the quick-service biscuit. Our biscuits are made from scratch every 20 minutes and we do breakfast all day long.”

He also said the restaurant is known for its side items, like dirty rice, seasoned fries, Cajun pinto beans, mac and cheese and coleslaw.

“We have a unique set of high-quality sides. Our bone-in chicken is never frozen and is hand breaded. We don’t use mechanization in that process.”

He also said the company has a positive reputation for its tea, “which is not only fresh brewed, but steeped.”

“We think (central Alabama) is as natural as can be for us. We don’t have much of a history in Alabama and it’s a wide-open opportunity. It’s our single-biggest new market opportunity,” Newman said.