Another day, another chicken restaurant planning an IPO.
Just a few weeks after it was revealed that chicken-wings franchise Wingstop is planning an initial public offering, the word is out that chicken-and-biscuit chain Bojangles is doing the same. The Charlotte, N.C.-based chain has tapped banks to pursue an IPO that could raise approximately $125 million, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The IPO could value Bojangles at nearly $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, says the Journal. Bojangles is expected to go public in the first half of next year.
Bojangles currently has more than 600 locations in 10 states, primarily in the Southeast. The bulk of Bojangles's establishments are currently in North and South Carolina, meaning that most of America hasn't had the chance to taste the chain's signature "Bo-Berry Biscuits" and sweet tea.
Now could be the perfect time for Bojangles to cash in with an IPO and start an expansion push. Chick-fil-A, another distinctly Southern chain, was able to beat out KFC for greatest total U.S. sales earlier this year and is currently pushing expansion in urban areas. Chicken is on the rise on restaurant menus, due to consumers' health concerns and rising beef and pork prices. Servings of breaded chicken sandwiches grew an average of 3 percent over the last four years, and chains including Domino's, Pizza Hut and Burger King added new chicken menu items in 2014.
Bojangles will join a long list of recent restaurant IPOs. Looking at chicken chains alone, besides Wingstop planning its IPO, Mexican chicken chain El Pollo Loco made its public debut in July. Plus, take-and-bake pizza chain Papa Murphy's filed for an IPO in May, food-and-gaming chain Dave & Buster's went public in October and burger chain Shake Shack reportedly has an IPO in the works.