Boneheads, a fast-casual chain serving grilled fish and chicken and touting 35 menu items of less than 350 calories and 10 grams of fat, is targeting Louisiana for development.
The chain is looking to open two in the Baton Rouge area, the first by the end of next year. The upstart chain’s area manager said Boneheads is looking at one restaurant each in Lafayette, the New Orleans area, Shreveport and Monroe.
Boneheads, of Atlanta, was started in 2006 by a chef from Atlanta and one from North Africa.
The chain focuses on grilled seafood and piri piri chicken, seasoned with African Birds Eye chili. It also serves fish, shrimp and chicken tacos, vegetable dishes and salads, and serves beer and wine.
Benton Smith, who is looking at securing deals with franchisees, said he could not say which two areas of Baton Rouge the chain is scouting, though he said one of the aspects of Baton Rouge that makes it attractive is that it is a college town.
“Younger people are catching on a little faster than even people my age; they’re looking for a healthier alternative,” he said. “And you’re not sacrificing taste and flavor, so that’s all the better.”
He said the chain would like to have one franchisee operate both Baton Rouge locations, and that the company is taking a measured approach to its expansion in Louisiana cities so as not to cannibalize sales.
The chain has locations in Memphis, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; the Los Angeles area and several in its hometown of Atlanta. It has stores under construction in Atlanta and soon will build in Nashville, Tenn.; Austin, Texas; and Brooklyn and Long Island, N.Y.
Smith said the chain is close to a deal in Oxford, Miss., which is also targeted for an opening at the end of next year.
The stores typically employ between 20 and 35 workers, he said.
“This concept will do well anywhere,” he said. “Fast casual, even in this economy, is the one segment in the restaurant industry that has grown.”