Centered on Chicken

Breez-In has made its foodservice program the key to customer satisfaction.

Centered on Chicken

May 2023   minute read

By: Sarah Hamaker

The foundation of Breez-In, a six-unit chain headquartered in Prince George, Virginia, is its chicken. The company put a lot of effort into developing its proprietary recipes and branding its foodservice with chicken—fried and baked—at the center. “Our foodservice is an integral part of our stores,” said David M. Bogese, COO for parent company Breez-In Associates. “The basis for that program is chicken. We want to be known for having the best fried chicken within the convenience store industry.” 

The hand-battered, always fresh chicken is the star of the deli, which has expanded to include potato wedges and mac and cheese, along with other items. “We wanted the flexibility to be creative with our chicken, rather than conform to a franchise recipe,” he said. “That’s the main reason we developed our own foodservice brand.”

The History of Its Chicken

Bogese’s father started the company in 1984, growing it to 15 Virginia locations and five Houston stores by 1996. The senior Bogese added a deli with a focus on chicken from the beginning, with fried chicken and chicken gizzards and livers, as well as baked spaghetti, barbecue pork and goulash specials. Over the years, he sold parts of the business, retaining only a handful of locations. By the time the junior Bogese graduated from college in 2015, Breez-In had only two locations.

“He asked me if I wanted to get into the c-store business, and I saw an opportunity to restart our brand and grow the company,” the younger Bogese said. Since then, four more locations have been acquired, with the company actively looking for additional opportunities. “As we’ve ramped up our business, we’ve found older customers saying they remember Breez-In from my father’s time, while we’re still building the brand with our younger customers.”

First on Bogese’s agenda was completely gutting the stores to update the kitchen equipment and to include a larger foodservice area. “The original space we allotted for foodservice we’ve already outgrown, with increasing sales and demand,” he said. The company will soon renovate kitchens and foodservice areas to accommodate more staff and product.

In addition to living up to its slogan as offering “Virginia’s Finest Fried Chicken,” Breez-In stores have walk-in beer caves with a large selection of craft beers, including local Virginia brews and other domestic beers, as well as an expanded selection of wines. The chain also partners with local businesses such as Richland’s, which provides ice cream and milk products, and Appomattox River Peanut Company, which offers shelled peanuts, peanuts in the shell and peanut butter. 

Assisting Bogese with merchandising and foodservice initiatives is John Coonley, director of operations. “He’s done a lot to help us stock what our customers want and implement new ideas,” Bogese said.

A Family Atmosphere

For Bogese, one of the main reasons for the chain’s success is its employees. “We’re a family-owned business and we treat all employees like family,” he said. “We take care of our employees, which is the reason many stick around.” 

For example, Breez-In offers competitive pay to all levels. After a year of employment, full-time employees are eligible to participate in a 401(k) with a 4% match by the company, as well as short-term and disability plans, plus term life insurance, all paid 100% by the company. After two years, full-time workers can enroll in the company healthcare plan, with Breez-In picking up 100% of the premiums. 

To connect with customers onsite, Breez-In hired Mood Media to provide in-store music mixed with commercials that play about every 10 minutes. “They hear about our chicken, beer cave or another special,” Bogese said.

Digital menus rotate to showcase menu items such as their made-to-order sandwiches, chicken or burgers. “We’re also developing a commercial to air in our local news channels and on Comcast cable to entice people to stop by to see what Breez-In has to offer,” he said. The company has a robust Facebook presence as well, giving it another opportunity to interact with current and potential customers. 

“At the end of the day, we hope customers appreciate our good, clean locations and a friendly and customer-service-oriented atmosphere, along with the aroma of our delicious fried chicken,” Bogese said.


Trial and error—that’s the best advice David M. Bogese, COO of Breez-In Associates, which operates six Breez-In convenience stores, can give a retailer looking to provide customers with a unique experience. “You have to try new things and take some risks to see what’s going to work,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, explore other avenues.”

He also stressed having a friendly and courteous atti- tude toward customers. “If you can grab them during their first visit to your store, 90% of the time they will become a regular customer,” Bogese said. “But that only works if you have your store centered around the customer.”

See More!

Ideas 2 Go showcases how retailers today are operating the convenience store of tomorrow. To see videos of the c-stores we profiled in 2022 and earlier, go to

Sarah Hamaker

Sarah Hamaker

Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer, NACS Magazine contributor, and romantic suspense author based in Fairfax, Virginia. Visit her online at

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