Member Spotlight: Hot Chicken Takeover

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Member Spotlight by Joe DeLoss, Founder & Head Fryer at Hot Chicken Takeover

Provide us with a brief summary of your business’ services.
Hot Chicken Takeover is a community-focused restaurant serving juicy, perfectly-fried Nashville Hot Chicken to Central Ohio residents. We started in 2014 with a pop-up in Olde Towne East and have since grown to serve at the North Market, around town with a food truck, and soon in Clintonville with a new location.

We pride ourselves in an eclectic mix of customers, all gathered around long communal tables. This makes our experience feel more like a backyard party than a restaurant.

And lastly, we’ve got an unbelievable team. We take a fair-chance approach to employment, meaning many of our team members have been cut out of the workforce due to a record or other barrier. Our culture is flooded with ownership and pride and it fuels meaningful and engaging customer experiences. We couldn’t be prouder of our team both personally and professionally.

Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
Our team is our most important asset. We know if they’re successful, HCT will be successful – we’ve built our company and management system around best supporting their growth.

What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
The visibility the Chamber provides us has been very meaningful. We were honored to be the first business featured on the podcast, cbuzz, as well.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
We don’t get too distracted with trends – we hope authenticity and a genuine desire to do support our team and community will keep us going.

What is your company culture like?

The white-meat meal at Hot Chicken Takeover in Old Towne East comes with a bone-in fried chicken breast, Ma’s mac, Ma’s slaw, bread and pickles. Chicken can be ordered “cold, warm, hot or holy.” (Dispatch Photo by Jenna Watson)

Our culture is the foundation of who we are. Though many see us as fried chicken first, we believe we’re in the business of team and workforce development that happens to fry chicken.

We create an environment based on values of team, hustle, ownership, growth, and solutions-focus. We try to live, eat, and breathe these tenants to empower our team to be successful.

What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
Hustle.

At Hot Chicken Takeover, everybody starts on the dish tank. Whether you are a fryer, a cashier, a host, or the Director of Operations, you’ve worked a shift on the dish tank. This creates an environment of opportunity for our team members. Start on the dish tank, and you decide where you want to go from there. Share that with your manager so we can create a career path for you. Then work for it, earn it, and it will be yours.

What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
This city is extremely open and collaborative professionally; our business has grown tremendously because of the support and mentorship for Columbus leaders.

And on the consumer side, it’s the exact same way. The greater community of customers are extremely supportive, passionate, and enthusiastic about supporting things that enrich the culture of Columbus. We’re really proud to be part of their enthusiasm and experience.

To put it into perspective; I was frying chicken in my living room and meeting stratngers in a parking lot to test out this idea less than three years ago. It’s been the rabid enthusiasm of our community that’s propelled us so quickly.

What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
The most helpful advice we heard was to constantly listen to your customer and to not let ego get in the way. In such a gracious community, people want you to succeed – you’ve got to listen to them and iterate to keep improving.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?
Balance is a constant struggle for our team, particularly as we pursue expansion and growth. That said, we truly believe our best team members are the ones that achieve both personal and professional stability, we keep working hard to dial the perfect balance in for everyone.

Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
I find myself frequently at Roosevelt Coffeehouse or on the North Market mezzanine with tea from Stauf’s. We’ve been pretty effective at not maintaining an office so these spots become the best make-shift version we can muster.


Social Media

Twitter: @chickentakeover

Facebook: www.facebook.com/chickentakeover

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hot-chicken-takeover

Instagram: @HotChickenTakeover

Website: www.hotchickentakeover.com