An Alabama-based chicken salad restaurant chain is expanding to New Mexico next year.

Chicken Salad Chick signed a five-unit franchise agreement in 2022 with Jennifer Sanchez and Keith Murray to bring the chain to New Mexico. The first New Mexico restaurant will be built at 10621 Unser Blvd. NW and is expected to open by spring 2024, with the other four to follow over the next 3 1/2 years. The New Mexico agreement covers territories across Albuquerque and Santa Fe, targeting the neighborhoods of the far Northeast Heights, the Winrock area and Rio Rancho.

Sanchez brings nearly 30 years of restaurant experience in the fast casual sector, including being a part of the Chicken Salad Chick franchise operations team, while Murray brings 30 years of HAZMAT, paramedic and communications experience combined with military service and over two decades in the fire department.

“New Mexico is a prime location to set Chicken Salad Chick up as it continues to grow,” Sanchez said. “One of Keith and my first dates was at a Chicken Salad Chick, and there’s so much we love about the brand — from the culture and value of serving others to the unique and delicious product itself. We are excited to help bring the brand further west and introduce the communities of Santa Fe and Albuquerque to it, and we hope that others will get to share life moments and experiences with each other through it as well.”

Chicken Salad Chick, the nation’s only Southern-inspired, fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept, is on track to have 500 locations open and operating by the end of 2025.

“The momentum that this agreement brings for our brand’s growth is wonderful,” Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick, said. “Jennifer and Keith are a great fit for us with their career experience and their commitment to sharing Chicken Salad Chick’s value with new communities. With Jennifer’s extensive knowledge of the area, the fast casual industry and the brand itself, combined with Keith’s passion and devotion to service and the community, we are confident that they are set up for success. We can’t wait to see how New Mexico reacts to Chicken Salad Chick.”