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Kendal Potesta, 37

A new chicken salad franchisee quickly earns companywide national recognition.


Kendal Potesta and her mentor and husband Scott Pace
Kendal Potesta and her mentor and husband Scott Pace
Photo by Mark Wemple
  • Class of 2023
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Though Kendal Potesta became a first-time franchisee in 2022, she started off looking more like a franchise vet than a newbie. The first Chicken Salad Chick location she and her husband, Scott Pace, opened in Fort Myers broke the opening day sales record among the company’s 220+ restaurants. Their Port Charlotte location earned Chicken Salad Chick’s No. 1 spot in sales volume during its grand opening week in January 2023.

“We’ve got a really good following,” she says. “We always say once you’ve tried the food, you’re kind of hooked.”

Potesta was named 2023 Developer of the Year for the entire Chicken Salad Chick franchise and was honored for opening three restaurants in under four months, the first to achieve such an accomplishment. But she’s only getting started. The couple plan to open three more Southwest Florida locations and three to five restaurants in the Central Florida territory they own north of Orlando. 

The biggest challenge? Finding real estate. 

“It’s hard to find space, and the spaces you can find plus the cost of goods have gone up,” she says. “If we had spots, we’d be opening restaurants right now.”

Pace has been a major supporter and mentor for Potesta, and the two work well together in their first joint business venture. “It’s great because you have somebody that you trust implicitly, and you’re now able to work alongside somebody that has your back no matter what,” she says. “You have joint interests that align every day. Do we disagree? Of course. But it’s always with the mind of doing what’s best for the organization.”

Chicken Salad Chick’s mission statement—“Spread joy. Enrich Lives. Serve Others”—aligns perfectly with how Potesta lives her life. “You take care of others and they take care of you, especially when times are hard,” she says.

You might think a restaurant is the last place she wants to spend her off time, but that’s where you can find her and Pace when they’re not working. “We love eating and being out and seeing what other people create,” she says “We love supporting local restaurants and doing our part to keep them alive and thriving and enjoy what they have to offer to the community.”

 

author

Beth Luberecki

Nokomis-based freelance writer Beth Luberecki, a Business Observer contributor, writes about business, travel and lifestyle topics for a variety of Florida and national publications. Her work has appeared in publications and on websites including Washington Post’s Express, USA Today, Florida Trend, FamilyVacationist.com and SmarterTravel.com. Learn more about her at BethLuberecki.com.

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