A newly opened fast food chain is working to increase its outreach within the Columbia community through its customer service and Nashville-style food.
Dave’s Hot Chicken opened its first South Carolina location in June on Devine Street as a new chicken joint for anyone to experience.
The national chain, which serves chicken slides and tenders, has more than 100 locations across the world. The store originated in California when a few friends came together to create the "perfect Hot Chicken."
Manager Colton Gray has previous experience in the fast-food industry, working his way up the hierarchy at Marco’s, a pizza restaurant chain. With his time at Dave's Hot Chicken, Gray said he has gotten to know people from all over South Carolina.
"I get to experience different people, different cultures every single day," Gray said. "People come from Charleston, Savannah, several hours away, so I just get to experience different cultures."
It's important to provide the best experience possible, Gray said. He and his staff members make sure to work towards maintaining a bubbly environment.
“We like to provide the utmost respect toward customers and try to have almost a 'Chick-Fil-A' kind of approach to it,” Gray said.
For Lorenzo Griffin, another manager at Dave's Hot Chicken, this type of customer service is a top priority.Committing to giving people quality customer service is a "key element in achieving success in the restaurant industry," he said.
"Sometimes we're the only ones that make people smile for that day," Griffin said. "I think that customer service is a huge, huge part of this brand, and it's a huge part of who I am definitely as a manager."
Griffin said he enjoys working to make customers happy because it also brings him closer to his co-workers.
“Being positive myself and going to everybody and talking to them about how their day is today," Griffin said. "Sometimes just taking 15 seconds not to talk about work and to talk about something else. People need it sometimes."
Staff member Garland "G" Furgess said there is significance in customer service and connecting with others.
"I like talking to people," Furgess said. "There's not really another industry where you see people and their rawest feelings."
Furgess and the rest of the crew members work to personalize the experience at Dave's, making the experience unique from others, Furgess said.
Griffin said the potential growth for Dave’s in Columbia is boundless as long as they keep the customer service and food quality of the restaurant in mind.
“It’s going to grow as soon as we allow it to, as long as we keep customer service one, not taking second to food quality," Griffin said. "We should be able to keep going every day.”
Dave’s Hot Chicken is located at 4601 Devine St. and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.