ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Alabama-based restaurant Chicken Salad Chick will be opening multiple locations in New Mexico.

Jennifer Sanchez and Keith Murray plan to open the first location of Chicken Salad Chick in Albuquerque in March or April of 2024. The chicken salad restaurant will be located at 10621 Unser Boulevard NW near McMahon Boulevard NW. “So we have grand plans, but right now we’re actually committed to five locations, but it’s mostly in Albuquerque and Santa Fe proper,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez has been working in the restaurant industry since she was 15 years old. She has worked her way up through the industry to her current position as a franchisee. For Murray, this will be his first time in the industry, as he previously served in the Army for 30 years, as a firefighter in the Tampa Bay, Florida, area, and as fire chief in Demopolis, Alabama.

Murray actually introduced Sanchez to Chicken Salad Chick during one of their first dates, and the two have bonded over it since. “He loved going there with the guys from work, and I started watching the brand because I was just so enamored with what I was seeing,” said Sanchez.

A big reason why Murray and Sanchez chose to open restaurants in New Mexico is because Sanchez was born in Albuquerque. “So her mom and her dad’s family both are here. So it’s kind of a coming home for Jennifer,” said Murray.

Chicken Salad Chick’s menu features 12 flavors of chicken salad, soups, salads pimento cheese, and more. “Anything on our menu can be sampled,” said Sanchez. Murray and Sanchez also plan to offer green chile to add as a topping. “When we negotiated to sign for the area, we said, ‘hey, we’re not going to sign unless you agree to let us have green chili on the menu,'” said Murray.

The duo plans to hire 45 to 50 hourly employees at its first location. Employees will make $13 to $16 per hour plus tips “We want a good living. We want people to be comfortable working for us,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez and Murray said they plan to have a soft opening with giveaways, a photography contest, and multiple chances to win free Chicken Salad Chick for a year.