A Waite Park-based company plans to bring 13 Slim Chickens franchises to Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Letnes Restaurant Group — which operates 25 restaurants including self-developed brands Boulder Tap House, Grizzly's Wood-Fired Grill, Olde Brick House and 7 West TapHouse — plans to bring the franchise to the area starting next spring.

Slim Chickens, a dine-in and drive-through fast-casual franchise, has more than 145 locations across the United States and the United Kingdom, with more than 650 locations in development, according to a news release issued last week. The closest location open now is in Sioux Falls, S.D.

"Our team was immediately impressed with Slim Chickens — from the food and ambience at the restaurants to the support and site selection opportunities that come with signing an agreement," said Steve Letnes, chief executive of Letnes Restaurant Group, in the release. "We were looking for a brand with strong drive-through numbers since this is the way the world is trending, and we've more than found what we were looking for in Slims."

Jackie Lobdell, vice president of franchise development at Slim Chickens, stated the company is "happy to have them grow the brand in the Midwest, and specifically Minnesota, over the next several years and bring our better-chicken brand to more cities, across multiple states."

The release did not list which cities would be home to new franchises.

Chicken restaurant franchises have been popping up in the St. Cloud area in recent years, starting with Chick-fil-A in 2016. Popeyes opened in St. Cloud in January, and Raising Cane's plans to open a restaurant in St. Cloud by the end of the year.

Jenny Berg • 612-673-7299

Twitter: @bergjenny