Phil Trigg, co-owner of seven local Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ’n Biscuits franchises, works with his brother, a nephew and a son in various roles at the restaurants.
“I wouldn’t really call it a family venture, although a number of my family members work with me,” he said Monday, the day before the opening at the restaurant on Mountcastle Drive in Johnson City. “I’ve got some 28 managers, it just so happens that some of them are family.”
Trigg got his start with the Charlotte, N.C.-based chicken chain in 1981, working with the eatery’s original founders.
In 2000, he purchased the three-location franchise in the Tri-Cities and gradually expanded the locations, which now include Kingsport, Bristol, Elizabethton, Jonesborough and now two locations in Johnson City.
“We’ve been trying to get a location on this side of town for several years,” Trigg said of the newest location, across from the Johnson City Mall on a lot previously occupied by a Burger King restaurant. “When this opportunity came up, we went for it. By having this location, we’ll be able to serve north Johnson City for customers who might not be able to visit us on the other side of town in the university area.”
Trigg said the opening of a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant — the Tri-Cities’ first and only franchise location for the chicken purveyor for the time being — nearby on North Roan Street doesn’t affect his outlook on Bojangles’ chances of success at the location.
“Everybody’s in competition for the same customer,” he said. “I’ll take care of my customers, and I think they’ll do the same. I’m just going to worry about my own business and wish them well.”
The “Home of the Whopper” underwent significant renovations to accommodate the new tenant, Trigg said, and every surface and piece of equipment is new.
The expansion comes at a time of unprecedented success for Trigg’s holdings. Last year was the best ever in terms of revenue for the six existing Bojangles’ and the company as a whole has expanded to more than 550 stores all over the southeast.
“We’re just planning to bring our concept to as many people as we can,” he said. “It’s worked for us in the past, and I believe it will continue to work for us in the future.”