How Chicken Became An American Obsession
Unknown: almost kind of a little bit of a almost a lifestyle brand if you will you come in into some experience. Are you worried about what the chicken nuggets? yes, sometimes no I don't, but I highly doubt it's top chicken pink slime reality TV series happening in real time with real companies in real dollars in real delicious food at stake it's two pieces of bread, a piece of fried chicken, dill pickles and a squirt of lamb. Who would have thought such a humble sandwich could set up a bathroom floor in fast food Chick fil A has long dominated the chicken sandwich. This simple sandwich is part of what propelled Chick fil A to its spot as the third biggest fast food chain in the US despite being closed on Sundays. Chick fil A is Race to the Top as scared even McDonald's who's us franchisees asked corporate to develop a worthy competitor to Chick fil A sandwich in the summer of 2019. A formidable
opponent to Chick fil A emerged and it wasn't McDonald's. Popeye's Louisiana kitchen introduced its crispy chicken sandwich and conflict started to brew at a sandwich challenge Chick fil A is dominant in the chicken sandwich category and fast foods biggest names got into the battle. Popeye sold out of the chicken sandwich in about two weeks. During that time. Analysts say other chicken chains including Chick fil A lost customers to Popeyes Americans are ordering and eating more chicken now than ever before. In a highly competitive industry like fast food brands are racing to stake their claim. chains that have long relied on chicken like Chick fil A and Popeyes are in prime position for victory. Others like hamburger
focus McDonald's have missed out on dollars spent by chicken hungry fans. One thing is clear, fast food customers want chicken sandwiches and the trend doesn't seem to be slowing. Now the big chains are duking it out to deliver despite supply chain issues and fierce competition.
Part of Chick Fil A's brand messaging has been that it didn't invent the chicken, just the chicken sandwich. But American Studies professor psyche Williams Forsen says people have been eating this type of sandwich as long as they've been eating bread and poultry. There's evidence that lots of early colonial households who could afford the ingredients to make bread and would have any kind of bird would eat bread and bird together how they did that, you know it's not necessarily known. And of course on through the centuries, we end up with what we know to be the sandwich and the chicken sandwich at that. And competition around the chicken sandwich isn't exactly new either. Ebony Magazine search black newspaper archives and found ads for the chicken sandwich going back to as early as 1936 Chick fil A is founder s Truett. Cathy invented
the chains original chicken sandwich in 1964. That sandwich was made of a boneless chicken breast breaded and fried and peanut oil and served on a toasted buttered bun with pickles. The first Chick fil A opened in 1967 and the chain has been closed on Sundays since then. Despite that Chick fil A is the third biggest restaurant chain in the US by system wide sales and reported more than $10 billion in revenue in 2018. For comparison, Popeyes pulled in $3.7 billion in sales in 2018, making it the 25th largest US chain. When Popeye's parent company Restaurant
Brands international quietly discussed a new menu item and its May 2019. Investor day, it didn't know that the products launch would cause such a frenzy. It was the first time in its nearly 50 year history that Popeyes offered a chicken sandwich that was available nationwide. In the past its menu tended to focus more on bone in products. This sandwich is a white meat breast filet, Pan battered and breaded in a buttermilk coating served on a brioche bun. There's one
version with regular mayonnaise, and another was spicy male. Popeye is rolled out its sandwich on August 12 2019. One week later this sandwich set off a virtual confrontation between some of the biggest names in fast food Chick fil A tweeted an equation suggesting that its sandwich was the original and the best Popeye's had a simple but pointed response to Chick fil A Y'all good? There check in prompted other chicken brands to get into the conversation. Soon Wendy's and Shake Shack jumped into the Twitter feud to you this is what people love to see they love to see kind of folks going at it and and you know in a fun and competitive way of course but this is the reality TV series happening in real time with real companies in real dollars in real delicious food at stake. Those tweets set off a social media fire
Storm and nearly doubled Popeye's Twitter followers from 100,000 to 180,000. A marketing group estimated that Popeyes received over $65.1 million in equivalent advertising value from media mentions between August 12 and August 27. The sandwiches impact was bigger than just raising Popeye's profile with consumers.
It was also a boon to Popeyes bottom line, thanks in part to the chicken sandwich sale that stores opened more than a year and grew by 9.7% in the third quarter of 2019. Compared 2.5% growth in q3 of 2018. One analyst estimated that Popeye sold about 1000 chicken sandwiches a day and that the sandwich accounted for about 30% of sales. Well, it was available at least. After about two weeks with the chicken sandwich on the menu Popeye's around the country started selling out. It simply ran out of chicken filets. fans
started posting pictures of handwritten sold out signs and Popeye's doors and drive thru menus. Popeyes was even hit with a lawsuit by an angry customer for selling out of the sandwich. It said that you saw pop market share more than double and then you did see a dip in foot traffic share at Chick fil A McDonald's Burger King and Wendy's you know the the actual infamous Y'all good tweet happened just as Wendy's was launching their spicy chicken sandwich and, and just as Burger King was launching the impossible Whopper nationally so it sort of took the steam out of those promotions for for a few short days. But the positive impact of Popeye sandwich wasn't limited to just that change. The third quarter is the most important part of the year for fast food companies because it includes the summer months a crucial selling season.
It was very successful third quarter for fast food in general. I think it was probably the most the fastest sales growth in several years, and the chicken sandwich has some responsibility for that sector wide growth. hype around Popeyes national release of its chicken sandwich actually benefited its competitors. Chicken focused fast food restaurants like KFC and Chick fil A saw a traffic spike in late August 2019. Over a typical summer weekend. Popeyes Chick fil A Zach's B's and KFC would get about 8.3 million visitors. According to a foot
traffic analytics platform place their AI but at the peak of the chicken sandwich for the chains had 10 point 1 million visitors over a weekend. And now Popeye's has brought its sandwich back. It's nationwide launch on November 3 2019 saw huge crowds traffic at Popeye's that day rose almost 300% higher than normal. One analyst
estimated that busy Popeyes locations sold up to 1500 chicken sandwiches per store every day. For the first 10 days the sandwich was back, effectively doubling sales volume at those stores and Popeyes competitors are racing to keep up in July 2019. McDonald's us franchisees asked the company to add a southern style chicken sandwich to rival Chick Fil A's. franchisees said
McNuggets and MC chicken sandwiches weren't enough to compete in the premium chicken sandwich category. On an earnings call. McDonald's said it missed out on some business in chicken. In December 2019, McDonald's started testing a crispy chicken sandwich officially entering the chicken sandwich wars.
Well, they said on their conference call that they actually lost share during in the chicken segment, that they gain share of the burger segment. So clearly this is a this is an issue for them that they're looking to correct the franchisees have been asking for a premium chicken sandwich for some time, you know, the sandwich isn't likely to be hand breaded the way hand battered and hand breaded the way it is at Popeye's. So McDonald's will have to find a way to win on on their core advantages which is speed, convenience and value. The war
is far from over. And if I were to make a longer term prediction, I would not predict that Chick fil A would be a loser in that chicken war overall, there's so much momentum behind the growth of that company and so much brand equity that just resonates with consumers young, old and everywhere in between in a lot of ways. For decades, hamburgers have been American sandwich of choice on fast food menus. Now chicken sandwiches are stealing some of the spotlight. chicken sandwiches remain number two, but they are gaining ground with consumers faster than burgers are. According to market
research firm NPD Group for the year ended February 2019 4 billion chicken sandwich servings were ordered at US restaurants. During the same time period. burgers were more popular, with 8.6 billion ordered by chicken sandwich orders were up 4% While burger orders stayed flat. On
average. Diners still purchase burgers more frequently than they purchase chicken sandwiches. But burger makers shouldn't rest too easy. In general chicken consumption is on the rise. From 1960 to 2018 per capita chicken consumption has risen 235% to 93.8 pounds a year. During the same time period per capita
consumption of beef has is fallen 9.6% 1991 was the last year people ate more beef than chicken. In 2018, Americans ate about 94 pounds of chicken compared to 57 pounds of beef. Yeah, it's a pretty dramatic difference in that, you know, and that's a reversal from 4050 years ago if this was not always the case, and it goes to show what technological progress and changes and consumption habits those combination of factors can do to change our diets. Analysts point to three main factors that have contributed to higher chicken consumption, health concerns, technological advances and a growing population. The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have linked red meat consumption to heart disease and cancer. Some have pointed to white
meat like chicken and fish as a healthier alternative. Technological advances have also made it possible to produce larger chickens more quickly, and the price of chicken has fallen in recent years. If you look at what's happened to the price of chicken relative to say beef, it's fallen by about 45% Over the last 20 years. So today, chicken is about a third of the price of beef at the retail level. A similar thing has happened for pork. So today, chicken is about
half the price of pork. But in the chicken sandwich war, not all chicken is created equal. Some pieces are better for sandwiches than others. Most fast food chains rely on breast meat for its sandwiches, which is typically more expensive and chicken wings or thighs. Fast food restaurants have offered chicken items for years. But analysts say
this social media feud attracted a new generation of consumers certainly the generation that follows social media that might might go into a fast casual restaurant you know maybe your Chipotle consumer or your your Shake Shack consumer doesn't really look to traditional fast food as having a you know high quality up leveled experience. And so by having a product that is of that, you know that that rivals the the Chicken Shack will bring in a generation that's probably never eaten a Big Mac before. Burger orders may be flat. But despite attracting a new audience, analysts don't think chicken sandwiches will pull ahead of burgers anytime soon. If you grew up in the United States in the last 70 years, chances are you've had a chicken nugget. Whether your nuggets came in a McDonald's box or from the freezer aisle, chicken nuggets have long been a staple for American families. But have you ever eaten one
cooked from scratch at home? We did an experiment inspired by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. If people saw how chicken nuggets were made, would they still want to eat them? Do you know what's in a chicken nugget? No. Are you worried about what's in a chicken nugget? Yes, I'm sometimes no I don't. But I highly doubt
it's top chicken. pink slime. No. That's why I don't eat it very often because it's kind of I don't think it's like mystery meat. I know. It's like just a bunch of chicken cut up and different like maybe bones are in there. We acknowledge the makeup of chicken nuggets is questionable. The treats history has been marred
by bad press yet Americans ate 2.3 billion servings of them in restaurants last year. However, demand for chicken nuggets at fast food outlets and restaurants has stagnated. Experts say that's because the chicken nugget isn't a huge profit driver and restaurants aren't likely to innovate around them.
Restaurants only have so much room on their menu and as a low cost item. Nuggets aren't a big moneymaker. Customers expect to be able to buy large quantities of nuggets of super low prices, and the future doesn't look better for chicken nuggets growth. Their menu penetration is
expected to drop by 5.4% in the next four years. Over the past 10 years nuggets have dropped off the kids menu by 10% While chicken tenders have increased by 25%. So why is demand for nuggets flatlining? First, we have to understand what made them so popular in the first place. Today we can't help but associate Chicken Nuggets with McDonald's famous for selling large McNugget portions at low prices. credit for inventing chicken nuggets often goes to the Golden Arches. But it turns out you have a scientist to thank for your chicken nugget creations.
McDonald's introduced chicken nuggets in 1983 years after a researcher had laid the groundwork for them. In the 1950s, a professor at Cornell University invented a variety of processed chicken products, including chicken hotdogs and chicken nuggets to convince Americans to eat more chicken. His work was for scientific research, not commercial products, and he didn't expect chicken nuggets to take off. When the chicken nugget came out in the 1950s they weren't too popular. He said. After World War Two processed foods were seen as safer and more reliable. Food processing methods were developed
during the wars to make sure soldiers on the frontlines were fed. After the war companies had to find another market for their new technology. attitude toward food processing has changed dramatically in the past 3040 years. Maybe when it was first introduced, people saw it as being sanitary because human hands weren't, you know, touching the food. They saw it as efficient
because you could get food directly from the field into a canned or frozen. And that was supposedly, you know, going to lock in the flavor in 1983 after the government recommended people eat less red meat, McDonald's introduced the battered and fried chicken nugget. It's McNugget mania ad campaign cast the nugget as a cheap delicious snack to share your camera system. Moms love kids brings it home. Chicken Nuggets became popular because they were inexpensive, uniform and easy to eat. Regardless of whether you're not good comes from the driving or the frozen section, you usually know what to expect. People love to eat food with
their hands a trend abala calls negation negation also hides the origin of the food. When you eat a chicken nugget, you really don't know what it is. The fact that nuggets don't look like an animal makes them more popular. Most people don't want to
be reminded that their food is too new or o'clock. It's not for ethical reasons or because people are eating less meat. We're simply just squeamish. McDonald's released its
Nuggets with three signature sauces, barbecued sweet, sour and hot mustard. The Product Development Director thought variety of dipping flavors we make big nuggets more appealing to customers. They were right. Customers love Naga ties easily Dibble foods because sauce adds another layer of customization to your order. We've been eating chicken nuggets for years, but three main factors are working against them. health
concerns, bad press and new competition. consumer attitudes about health are changing. process foods are falling out of favor as consumers look for more natural alternatives.
Very broadly across all consumers is a what we call the pursuit of purity in our food, which is to say you're looking for food that's real food, it's authentic food that's minimally processed. In 2010 reports of chicken nuggets made from Pink goop swept to the internet, a photo rumored to have been taken inside a plant making food for McDonald's surfaced, and people said it should mechanically separated chicken, a product made by forcing bones with adipose tissue attached through a seed. Edible tissue includes whatever's left on the bone, including blood vessels, cartilage and skin. And McDonald's said
the photo doesn't show how it makes nuggets. Due to changing consumer preferences. It's switched to using 100% white meat in nuggets in 2003. While McDonald's promises to use 100% white meat, it doesn't state what percentage of the nugget is meat. In response to the pink goop
photo. McDonald's released a video from a McNuggets supplier in Canada. The video shows employees making a paste from chicken breast and skin that will become nuggets. McDonald's
didn't respond to requests to comment for this video. But their earnings call show consumers like the switch to white meat. There isn't much regulation about what can and cannot be in a nugget. Go to any frozen food aisle and you'll find gluten free chicken nuggets, breast meat chicken nuggets, and even veggie nuggets. Here's how the US Department of Agriculture to find nuggets. Nuggets are irregularly shaped,
usually bite sized meat and or poultry products, which are usually breaded and deep fat fried and intended to be used as finger foods. There are three types solid meat nuggets, ground meat nuggets, and nuggets me from ground meat with additives. The labeling rules are different for all three but one rule is constant. Any breaded nugget product can be no more than 30% breading nuggets made from solid pieces of meat can be labeled simply as nuggets. The process to make nuggets that are ground meat, like what we made earlier, must be clear on the packaging.
For instance, chicken nugget, chopped and formed. Nuggets made from ground meat with additives like binders or water can be used to describe a product but needs more detail. The USDA says breaded nugget shaped chicken patties is proper labeling. The US US labeling guidelines don't specify just how much meat a nugget must contain. In 2013, researchers from the
University of Mississippi studied the composition of two nuggets, and found that the nuggets contained more fat than meat. The researchers got the nuggets from two national food chains but didn't identify which it's also worth noting that two nuggets is a very small sample size. The bad press for nuggets didn't end with this study, or with reports of pink goo. A federal judge called McNuggets a MC Frankenstein creation in 2003 after a group of teens claimed McDonald's food was making them obese. Earlier this year, some of the country's biggest producers recalled over 120,000 pounds of chicken nuggets, consumers found bits of plastic or wood in the nuggets or notice that they were labeled incorrectly. And finally there's another chicken
product kids love chicken strips. Well data found that chicken nuggets servings in restaurants were slumping slightly servings of chicken strips were actually on the rise in 2018 when compared to 2017. Researchers say consumers aren't swapping nuggets for strips, but that the categories appeal to different groups. families with young children are more likely to purchase nuggets, while adults or families with teens buy more strips. Strips are seen as an upgraded or more wholesome version of chicken nuggets.
There's nothing new or innovative about a chicken strip. It's been around for a long time. But anytime you take something that the American consumer already loves, and you innovate around it, or you elevate the form in some way, it creates opportunities for growth. So we've seen a lot of people doing this everybody from the world's largest restaurant chain McDonald's has a premium chicken strip offering now to regional chains that are springing up like raising canes, or Zach's B's tempting consumers to buy a more premium product like a strip means a higher margin for restaurants. The chicken
nuggets sort of have their their home in fast food. And as parents, more educated about, you know, better quality proteins. And they're trading a board of fast casual restaurants, that you're seeing more of a tendency for people to move to chicken strips, chicken tenders, which is something that kids really like and honestly, you know, people of all generations kind of like chicken strips. A low birth rate could also have something to do with nuggets stagnation. In 2017, the US birthrate
hit a 30 year low, Americans aren't having enough babies to replace the population, and population growth increasingly relies on immigration. Data shows that chickens strips show up on restaurant menus more often than chicken nuggets do with a higher menu penetration of 14.2% However, over time, chicken strip menu penetration has also declined and at a faster rate than nuggets, which begs the question are consumers over them both? Are chicken strips really a threat to chicken nuggets plays at the top of the processed meat food chain. Even though strips are gaining traction, there's no reason that gets in strips can't thrive together. At restaurants Americans still ate a
whopping 2.3 billion nuggets last year compared to 1.5 billion strips. So don't worry nugget lovers, there will still be nuggets to dip Chick fil A it's a fast food chain with chicken sandwiches said to be so good even McDonald's wants to steal them. And it has a reputation so controversial. Entire cities have banned the restaurant from their airports. Critics say
Chick fil A has a history of supporting and donating millions of dollars to anti LGBTQ organizations, which has drawn the ire of lawmakers and civilians alike. Chick Fil A's values are not Chicago values, but it also has its share of ardent supporters. Whatever you think of the company's politics, Chick Fil A's sales are on a tear as of June 2019. It is the third biggest restaurant chain in the US by system wide sales, and it generates the most sales per store of any fast food restaurant in the country. The Ascent is so rapid that even McDonald's and Popeye's are taking note in July 2019. McDonald's franchise owners demanded the company add a southern style chicken sandwich to its menu in order to keep pace with Chick fil A. A month later, Popeyes debuted
its own chicken sandwich on a buttered roll with pickles, the first to be sold by the chain nationwide. Chick fil A is also eating market share from giants in the chicken category like KFC and Wingstop. So how is it that a restaurant that's ensnared in controversy and closed on Sundays is next in line to overtake Starbucks and McDonald's? It all started in Atlanta, Georgia, where Chick fil A is founder as true at Kathy was raised and where the company is now headquartered. Kathy
grew up watching his mother prepared chicken in traditional Southern fashion. In 1926, the 25 year old and his younger brother cobbled together about $10,000 to open a diner called dwarf grill. Legend has it that's where Cathy invented Chick Fil A's original chicken sandwich, fried in peanut oil and served on a bun with pickles.
The menu item regularly sold out. So in 1967, he opened the very first Chick fil A in the Greenbrier mall in Atlanta. From the outset, Cathy implemented a policy still in place to this day, all stores would be closed on Sundays. A devout Christian, he reasoned that Sunday's were for spiritual worship. Kathy carried those Christian values with him to Chick Fil A's flagship store, which featured an upbeat logo of a bright red chicken. Kathy said the a
of the company's name represented grade a chicken. He was one of the first to envision putting fast food in malls, and as malls began to grow in popularity. Chick fil A was taken along for the ride between 1971 in 1974 Chick fil A tripled in size, expanding into the rest of Georgia and the Carolinas and continuing through the south and southwest. In 1986. Chick
fil A decided to grow beyond malls by opening its first freestanding restaurant. By 1993. It's 500 restaurant had opened, but this pushed it into competition with established chicken focused fast food chains like KFC, which also opened in the South 15 years before Chick fil A Chick fil A didn't have as much money as those companies to spend on advertising. So it decided to make a splash another way. In 1995. It put up huge billboards on the side of highways in the south east. The first billboard featured a pair of cows scrawling Eat more chicken to try to get people to stop eating beef. The campaign went
viral, and it worked. In 2000, the privately held company hit $1 billion in sales, doubling its performance from when the billboards first debuted. It also rose to the third largest fast food chain in the chicken category behind KFC and Popeye's. That was also the year Cathy and his three children signed a covenant promising to uphold Chick Fil A's principles. The agreement included staying closed on Sundays and never taking the company public. You know, the company culture is very unique and has clearly led to a lot of success and culture. It's all interlocked, like you
pull one strand of it and the whole blanket can unravel. And sometimes, if a company is public, someone might want to pull a strand and might not realize wow, that's the strand that could unravel the whole blanket here. Chick fil A is fast paced growth was also fueled by a few key innovations in its operating structure.
Each franchise is owned by an independent operator who usually has just one unit and no other business ventures, a model that's still relatively unique in the fast food business. This allowed franchise owners to be focused on the restaurant and truly connected to the community. Employee makeup is another differentiator for the brand. Chick fil A has said that two thirds of Chick fil A employees have grown up working for the company doing shifts in high school and college and ultimately returning for a career with Chick fil A after graduating. Chick fil A is extremely selective of
who is even allowed to become an operator. That structure has created a network of experienced franchise owners who were loyal to the brand. If the main reason why they're successful because they have these people that are in the stores every single day. They've gone through a heavy training process. They believe very strongly in the brand and they are interacting with customers so they are interacting with the employee. They are interacting with
everybody and it really works. The franchise agreement also allows operators to start restaurants for an extremely low cost. The initial fee is just $10,000. In comparison, the fee at McDonald's is $45,000 and Wendy's is $40,000. unburdened by the debt of a large initial feat. Chick fil A franchisee operators are
able to put more of their funds into growing and improving their store. The closed on Sunday policy also applies to the Chick Fil A's operating in stadiums, it's Mercedes Benz location even remained closed when the Super Bowl was held there in 2019. Analysts say the policy comes with a hefty price tag. If you do the math, I think it works out to roughly $1.7 billion in system wide sales that are lost by being closed on Sundays. Now again, that's assuming you just opened up on Sundays and everything else works normally.
But they also say being closed might actually help the chain provide better service. Every employee can look forward to time off no matter how hard they're working Monday through Saturday, and sometimes that rest and relaxation can do a person Real good. On top of that, you know, the guests like, they better get to the Chick fil A restaurant before Sunday comes because if they find the time on Sunday and they have that craving on Sunday and they show up on Sunday, we're not getting any food from that Chick fil A restaurant in 2018. There were 2352 Chick Fil A's in business with 234 in malls 264 on college campuses, and 73 at hospitals, businesses or airports. The culture of Chick fil A today still focuses on the Christian values that Kathy founded the chain on. outside its Atlanta headquarters. A plaque with Chick Fil A's mission statement still hangs. Analysts point to the chains religious
backbone as a driving force behind the company's number one rank and customer service for four years from 2015 to 2019. In a 2018 survey of drive throughs Chick fil A employees were reported to have smiled 91.4% of the time, while employees of the next highest chain, KFC smiled 78.5% of the time.
Basically, you're starting to see that they're almost kind of a little bit of a almost a lifestyle brand if you will you come in and see experience from the minute you walk in and you're you've got that that fresh faced kid who's you know, greets you thank you, you know, they're polite, they're walking around helping you accelerates beyond just a transaction of food, this entire experience and I think you're starting to see some of the you know, the bigger brands really trying, trying, you know, as much as they can to mimic that and trying to give you an experience. Chick Fil A's Christian values have also been a source of major controversy in recent years. In July 2012 Chick fil A came under fire after Truett Cathy sun and the company's current president Dan Cathy publicly expressed his views on gay marriage. He told the Baptist press that he was guilty of supporting the biblical definition of a family unit. The comments
incited backlash in the form of boycotts and LGBT kitchens at Chick fil A restaurants around the country. According to a brand satisfaction measurement from YouGov. The company's rating dropped to its lowest level in two years following the comments. The day of Dan Cathy's
first comments Chick Fil A's rating was 6519 points above average, but four days later, the chain had fallen to 47. Even though the comments hurt the brand's reputation the company's annual sales improved in 2012. The company saw $4 billion in system wide sales a 13% increase from the $3.6 billion a year earlier, but also grew
7.4% in average sales per unit. Dan Cathy said in 2014 that he regretted publicly commenting on gay marriage and that he would stay out of political debates. But in 2017 reports revealed the Chick fil A foundation had donated millions to what critics say our anti LGBT groups such as donations to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a sports ministry that believes homosexual misconduct is unnatural in the eyes of God. Again, sales remained unharmed. Chick
fil A pulled in $8 billion in system wide sales in 2017. Up 15% from the previous year, and the company has still not redeemed itself among LGBT supporters. During the 2019 Pride Parade in New York City attendees a taped a large x over one of Chick Fil A's storefronts between 2017 and 2018. system wide sales improved 12.8% from $8 billion to $9 billion. Its sales per store is
higher than any other fast food chain at $4 million. McDonald's generates $2.7 million a unit and in 2019, it became the third largest restaurant chain in America by system wide sales. It surged past Wendy's, Burger King, Taco Bell and subway in just one year. Since 2007. Chick fil A has doubled its number of
stores to 2400 restaurants, the majority of its restaurants are still in the south and southwest. Texas, for example, tops the chart with 391 restaurants while Georgia has 218. From its history of store openings, however, it seems the company is slowly working to expand its foothold and other regions between 2011 in 2018. For example, the company grew from having one location in New York to having 1725 years ago, this was a regional concept that was much smaller. And today you know, depending on what
source you use it very much is the third biggest restaurant concept in the whole country. And they're still under penetrated some of those heavily populated parts of the country. They will open on Sundays at all. So They're a big player. The chain is also a growing threat to other fast food chains. technomic estimates that
Chick fil A tallied over $10 billion in revenue in 2018 and grew 13.5% While McDonald's grew just 2.5%. In July of 2019, a group of McDonald's franchise owners signed a joint letter asking the company to add a southern style chicken sandwich to its menu. Chick Fil A's results demonstrate the
power of chicken the board wrote a chicken sandwich at McDonald's should be our top priority. The company is an especially big threat to other chicken focused restaurants between 2009 and 2018. Chick fil A grew from owning 19.3% of the chicken fast food market to 38.5%.
Their chicken menu doesn't change we are experts in chicken, we you know will occasionally give you something additional spicy chicken or like I said fish or whatever it is. But it I think by being maniacally focused on what they do, it allows them to then be focused on all those extras you know the service the atmosphere, you know, they're not always searching for what's that next big LTO the just the energy of their brand. And what they do day to day is just once again growing their brand from from the perspective of excellence. So is there a ceiling for Chick fil A Truett Cathy passed away in 2014, leaving his three children to inherit the company and the $11 billion family fortune. Dan Cathy is now the company's chairman and CEO, while his brother Baba is an executive vice president of the private company declined to comment for this piece and is secretive about its financial information and goals. But analysts say that if Chick fil A manages to maintain its growth, there are major regions that the chain has yet to take over.
Chick fil A plans to open its first international location in 2019 in Toronto, and plans to open at least 15 more locations in Canada. Looking ahead, they just need to make sure that they have the the management infrastructure because you know, as any company gets bigger and bigger just becomes that much more challenging to make sure that the quality of what you do remains. So if I had to guess, will they achieve that? Yes, but there's no 100% certainty in the future. And I'm sure they're aware of that and trying to work as hard as they can to make sure that the odds of success for them are as high as they can be.