USD School of Business Alumnus Opens Dave’s Hot Chicken Franchise in San Diego

Friday, June 12, 2020TOPICS: AlumniInnovation and Entrepreneurship

Dave's Hot Chicken franchise operator Andrew Feghali '15 lunches with the company's foundersDave's Hot Chicken in Pacific Beach opened on May 20, 2020 with a line out the door.
begin quoteAs a graduate student, I learned how to create an inclusive culture with servant leadership in mind that allowed me to build the team and family really we have today.

Dave’s Hot Chicken began with a simple concept — take Nashville style hot chicken and make it better than anyone else in America. In 2017, the eatery began in a humble parking lot in East Hollywood.

Just three years later, it’s expanding into a West Coast franchise under the helm of best friends and business partners, Andrew Feghali ‘15 (MSEL) and Lawrence Kourie. Together, they opened San Diego’s first Dave’s Hot Chicken location in Pacific Beach on May 29. 

“The Grand Opening went exceedingly well!” said Feghali. “We had a line out the door and heard great reviews from customers on everything, from the taste of the food to customer service and the design of our space.”

San Diego restaurants just recently began their reopening phase amidst the coronavirus pandemic, so launching an eatery now could be seen as an especially bold move.

We wouldn’t have opened if we couldn’t do it as safely as possible,” said Feghali.

Dave’s Hot Chicken is adhering to the state’s guidelines on safety precautions and then some. At its Grand Opening, it posted social distancing stickers, had hand sanitizer readily available and implemented temperature checks. It even has hand scanners to detect bacteria as well as gloves and face masks for customers and employees. Dine-in seating is also suspended until further notice.

Feghali began his career as a district sales manager at Frito Lay and became an official business owner in 2009 when he acquired his first Little Caesar’s pizza franchise. Today, he still owns and operates 17 Little Caesar’s locations and plans to continue growing with the company. 

Although his focus may have been on pizza, Feghali couldn’t pass up the opportunity to bring “the best chicken he’s ever had” to San Diego. Feghali and his business partner, Kourie, met the CEO of Dave’s Hot Chicken at a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game and ended the evening trying some of Dave’s famous chicken for themselves. In an instant, they had found their next business endeavor.

Now that they’ve opened their first Dave’s Hot Chicken, the duo already has plans to open a second San Diego location later this year. 

As an entrepreneur, alumnus of our Master of Science in Executive Leadership and current USD Leadership Studies PhD student, Feghali knows a thing or two about effective leadership.

“As a graduate student at the USD School of Business, I learned how to create an inclusive culture with servant leadership in mind that allowed me to build the team and family really we have today,” said Feghali.

Serving up the best hot chicken around and with amazing leadership to light the way, you can expect to see a lot more of Dave’s Hot Chicken in San Diego. 


Gabrielle Horta
(619) 260-4468