Cowboy Chicken Mourns Death of Founder Phil Sanders

Fast Casual Wood-Fired Rotisserie Chicken Chain Family Remembers A Kind Mentor and Brand Ambassador; Donates to Michael J. Fox Foundation

Cowboy Chicken Mourns Death of Founder Phil SandersDallas, TX  (  Philip “Cowboy Phil” Sanders, founder of Dallas-based Cowboy Chicken, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the age of 85 following a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease. Sanders and his wife of 58 years, Jeanette, founded the popular fast casual wood-fired rotisserie chicken chain in 1981 with a motto of “The customer is always right.”

“Our dear friend and founder Phil Sanders was truly a special person, always kind and happy to see you,” says Sean Kennedy, president and CEO of Cowboy Chicken. “There will never be a better brand ambassador than Cowboy Phil. He was a friend and mentor to many of us in the Cowboy Chicken family, and we will miss him every day.”

Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1934 and was the eldest son of Yetta and Morris Sanders. The U.S. Army veteran moved to Dallas in the early 1960s and was the head of his own textile company for many years before opening the first Cowboy Chicken restaurant in 1981. The fast-growing chain now includes 17 locations in four states. Sanders is remembered for his gentle spirit, positive outlook and ability to see the good in everyone.

Cowboy Chicken invites friends and guests to submit memories and photos of Sanders on a memorial page on its website and to join the company in donating in his honor to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to further Parkinson’s disease research.

“Our goal is to continue to work hard to make Phil proud. In keeping with the family’s request, we will join others in making a donation to the Michael J. Fox Foundation,” adds Kennedy.

About Cowboy Chicken

Founded in Dallas in 1981, Cowboy Chicken is a fast casual restaurant chain specializing in real wood-fired rotisserie chicken. The brand has been included in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers list every year since 2011 and in 2017 won the Emerging Chain of the Year award from Restaurant Business and was named one of the Top 25 Most Loved Brands by Foodable. Forbes magazine also chose Cowboy Chicken as one “Hot Restaurant Chain to Buy into Now,” and in 2020, QSR ranked Cowboy Chicken #14 in its 40 Under 40 list of the 40 most exciting fast casual concepts with fewer than 40 units For more information, visit

Gretchen Howard
Melissa Libby & Associates