Rouses Markets Opens First Drive-Thru Fried Chicken Restaurant

Rouses Markets held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newest location in Houma, Louisiana last month. It is the first location to feature Rouses’ drive-thru restaurant called Houma da Chicken. The quick-service eatery will feature double-battered fried chicken from a Rouses family recipe that goes back three generations. During crawfish season, which kicks off around Lent, the drive-thru will offer fresh Gulf crawfish and bulk seafood and all the fixings. “It all kind of came about because of crawfish,” CEO Donny Rouse told a WGB reporter. “We sell a lot of crawfish in Louisiana, and we were wanting to do a drive-thru for customers during crawfish season so they didn’t have to walk in the store to get all the fixings.” However, Crawfish is a seasonal delicacy, so Rouses added its famous fried chicken to round out the menu for the entire year. Rouse says more drive-thru facilities will be incorporated into current establishments and integrated into upcoming construction projects. “The planning and execution has been pretty easy for us because our stores rely heavily on fresh food,” Rouse said. “We do a lot of deli business and have a large seating area already. For us to add a drive-thru, we just had to train those team members.” The 60,000-square-foot supermarket in Houma is the 64th location for the regional grocer. It replaced the company’s former superstore that was originally established on the same site in 1989. The Houma location holds a significant historical connection for Rouses; it was where the Rouses family opened their first supermarket, Clio’s, back in 1960.

Rouses is a regional independent grocer that sets itself apart from the competition through a commitment to local Gulf Coast farmers and food manufacturers. “All of our competitors are not [committed to local producers],” he said. “We’re the largest independent in our region and we capture the majority of the customers, right behind Walmart, in the markets we serve.” Pricing is kept as close to Walmart as possible. “That’s how we price. We focus on what Walmart’s doing and we’ll stay right above Walmart,” Rouse said. “We’ve been eating a lot of the inflation ourselves … It does put stress on margins, but being a privately owned family company, we can do what we want.”