Bbi Reinvents Rex's Chicken, Has Record-breaking Sales In First Week

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

People might remember the iconic restaurant Rex's Chicken, with its crispy, bite-sized chicken and fry bread. First introduced in 1951 in an Oklahoma gas station, Rex's remained a staple in the central part of the United States until the chain went bankrupt in 1999.

Now, 11 years later, Rex's Chicken is back in Oklahoma.

After being a Rex's customer himself in the 1970s and 1980s, David Rutkauskas, Beautiful Brands International founder, president and CEO, reestablished the brand in 2007 for $1,500 in the hopes of bringing back the famous chicken eatery he fondly remembered.

The new Rex's Chicken sits on the former site of Coney Beach hot dog restaurant, which BBI also once owned. Rutkauskas previously introduced the famous chicken at Coney Beach restaurants and sales went up 35 percent, and eventually, outsold hot dogs. That's when Rutkauskas decided to open up an actual Rex's Chicken establishment.

Rutkauskas said he wanted to get in the chicken industry for awhile and knew that Rex's Chicken had a good product.

"I knew if it was repackaged in the right way, like what BBI specializes in, that we could potentially create something that could be very, very special," Rutkauskas said.

And indeed, Rutkauskas and BBI did create something special. During the grand opening week of June 21, the new Rex's Chicken, located in Bixby, Okla., brought in $50,000, averaging about $10,000 a day.

"Something's very, very, very right," Rutkauskas said. "We absolutely nailed it." The original Rex's model was a quick-service restaurant, however Rutkauskas now considers it to be fast casual.

Why Rex's is a new competitor Besides making phenomenal profits in the first week, Rex's has become a 'leader' in fast casual dining, according to Rutkauskas. Whereas most of these restaurants do a majority of their sales during lunch, Rex's has done the opposite, bringing in 60 percent of its sales at dinner and 40 percent at lunch.

"That is really reinventing the whole fast casual experience," he said.

Rutkauskas said there are two factors contributing to Rex's success: the food and the customer service.

Rutkauskas said Rex's Chicken serves a "high- quality product" that can't be purchased anywhere else. Rex's also offers fry bread, which is a sweet complement to the salty chicken. Rutkauskas said Rex's simplicity is what makes the customers want to keep coming back.

Additionally, Rex's has food runners take the customers' food to their table, without having to call numbers. Rex's also has employees in the dining room making sure customers are happy and getting whatever they need.

The Future of Rex's With only one store up and running, Rutkauskas plans to open more stores next year. His goal is to open between 1,200 and 1,500 total starting as early as December. He also plans to add a drive-thru component to each.

Rutkauskas's main objectives, however, are to just keep delivering a hot, fresh product, to keep the customers happy and to be consistent with the products and service.

"The sky's the limit," Rutkauskas said. "(We have) very big plans for the brand." **Beautiful Brands International also owns Camille's Sidewalk Café, Freshberry Frozen Yogurt Café, Greenz Salads, Café Ole and many more. For franchisee information about Rex's Chicken, go to rexschicken.com/.

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8801 S. Yale Ave., Ste 400
Tulsa, OK

Phone: 918.488.9727
Fax: 918.497.1916

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