Hot Chicken Takeover

Overview

Hot Chicken Takeover is a community-minded restaurant serving up juicy, perfectly fried chicken rubbed with a cayenne-infused paste. The fast-casual restaurant is located in Columbus, Ohio and has a mission to provide great food, a great experience, and supportive, intentional employment to motivated adults impacted by homelessness, incarceration and other crises arising from poverty. The birth of this startup began after founder Joe Deloss experienced Nashville’s famous hot chicken culture for the first time. After returning to Columbus, Joe tested out new twists on his own hot chicken recipe, relying on their friends to test each iteration. Soon, he started serving friends of friends and then finally served his first a group of strangers. Hot Chicken Takeover came to life as a small pop-up chicken window in Olde Towne East, a developing community east of downtown Columbus. Every weekend they’d sell until the chicken ran out. It was there that Hot Chicken Takeover started to live out its mission of providing supportive employment to adults adversely impacted by incarceration and poverty. Today, they have a lunch-only restaurant on the second floor of the historic North Market, a second location in Clintonville just 8 miles north of downtown, and a recently added restaurant in Easton Gateway, which is Situated in one of the nation’s most innovative shopping destinations. They attract an eclectic mix of customers and build community around long shared tables.

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Why Invest In Hot Chicken Takeover?

Every business has a positive, negative or neutral impact on people and place. Within this desire for broader stakeholder engagement, businesses have emerged that are both financially viable and socially beneficial.

Hot Chicken Takeover is more than a successful business, it’s a business with purpose — 70 percent of its nearly 50 staffers are individuals who’ve had trouble finding employment due to past incarceration or other factors. Joe also has established various programs to help employees stabilize both personally and professionally from food service training to financial aid.

Not only is it a business with a purpose, it’s a business on the move! We were extremely impressed with Joe’s passion and ability to create a successful impact-minded enterprise. We are excited to be investment partners in Hot Chicken Takeover and are thrilled with this alignment in a key area of focus for Access Ventures.

How We Helped

We first met the company’s founder, Joe DeLoss, in 2015 as a part of our work in Columbus, Ohio. Our goal was to work with innovative social entrepreneurs in the city and Hot Chicken Takeover clearly fit the bill. Over the last year, we interacted with Joe several times as he worked through his desires for funding and the resulting equity structure.

We participated in an equity round of investment that provided the capital necessary to open new locations and build the infrastructure necessary to continue the company’s mission. Additionally, Joe has advised other companies in our portfolio as they address workforce challenges.


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