SUCCESS STORY FOR
Located in a warm and inviting community setting, Smokin Chikin serves healthy and fresh comfort food, including marinades and side dishes from around the world. Among the restaurant’s offerings are gourmet rotisserie chicken, pita, and panini sandwiches, as well as a variety of fresh sides and salads.
Smokin Chikin opened in Clarksville in 2014 by friends Roger Khan and Mohsun Ghias. Both owners immigrated to the United States in the 1990s and met in 2010 in the fast-food industry. Upon becoming friends, they would gather with their families as a community and share meals. The two business partners opened Smokin Chikin in Clarksville, Tennessee in 2014, combining their food industry experience and love of healthy cuisine. The restaurant was designed to make guests feel as if they were part of a family. With the success of their flagship location the business partners sought the TSBDC’s assistance in January 2020 opening their second location in Clarksville focusing on marketing and location culture for the second eatery. The partners launched their second location in late February 2020 and immediately hit a major downturn due to the pandemic. The TSBDC quickly pivoted its service to the business from marketing to COVID assistance helping the business secure $200,000 in 2020 from the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and $150,000 in 2021 from the Payroll Protection Program. The loans were a lifeline that allowed the business to remain open, keep staff, and continue pursuing its second location. The TSBDC also assisted the business owners by partnering them with a restaurant resiliency program funded by the CARES Act.
Smokin Chikin continues to be a thriving restaurant in the Clarksville community and recently expanded a third location in Nashville, Tennessee at the Nashville Assembly Food Hall. The restaurant has grown its staff from 15 employees to 60 full- and part-time employees between their three locations. Their discussions with TSBDC on marketing and expansion continue, and they are always open to feedback from the consultants.
Owner Roger Khan states, “It was a pleasure working with the folks at the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. They helped me to shift to a growth mindset and provided me with the strategy and resources to follow through. Their focus on my success sets them apart and I am forever grateful.”
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