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Guthrie's Chicken Inc.
GenreFast casual
Founded1965; 58 years ago (1965)
Haleyville, Alabama, U.S.
FounderHal Guthrie
Number of locations
48 (2022)
Area served
8 states in the U.S.
Key people
Joe Kelly Guthrie (CEO)
ProductsChicken fingers, French fries, Coleslaw, Texas toast, Signature sauce, Sweet tea
OwnerGuthrie family
Number of employees
800 (2021)

Guthrie's is a fast casual, franchised restaurant chain headquartered in Auburn, Alabama, United States, best known for being the original chicken finger restaurant. The first location was opened in Haleyville, in 1965 by Hal Guthrie. By 1978, the menu adapted to consist primarily of chicken fingers, signature sauce, french fries, coleslaw and Texas toast, becoming the first to largely center its menu on chicken fingers. Today, the chain has grown to include 48 stores across the United States with active plans to expand further.


Guthrie's in Trenton, Georgia

The original Guthrie's was opened in Haleyville, Alabama, in 1965 by Hal Guthrie.[1] The restaurant originally served a full menu of Southern food, but in 1978 it was changed to focus primarily on chicken fingers.[1] This switch resulted in Guthrie's becoming the first restaurant to have a menu largely centered on chicken fingers.[2] By 1982, a second location would open in Auburn and a third in Athens, Georgia by 1984.[1] By 1997, eight locations were open and all were under the ownership of the Guthrie family.[1]

Many early stores were constructed adjacent to major universities: Auburn University, University of Georgia, University of Alabama, University of Florida and Florida State University. Expansion outside of college towns did not commence until the opening of the Gardendale location in 1997.[3] By 2005, the 26 restaurants in the chain were all under the ownership of the Guthrie family.[4] In April 2005 it was announced that the company was looking to expand further out of Alabama into Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi and that they were also looking to franchise the brand for the first time.[4] By 2015, the restaurant had expanded into Kentucky, and, later, in 2022 Guthrie’s opened their first restaurant in Mississippi in Oxford near the University of Mississippi.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Williams, Roy L. (July 30, 1997). "Guthrie's not just college food now". The Birmingham News.
  2. ^ Evans, Chuck (July 21, 1997). "Move over Colonel, Guthrie's is coming". The Birmingham News.
  3. ^ Staff Reporters (August 13, 1997). "Guthrie's brings its chicken to town". The Birmingham News.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Roy L. (April 8, 2005). "Guthrie's eyes Southeast expansion that would include first franchises". The Birmingham News.

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