Chick-fil-A Tops $21 Billion in Systemwide Sales as Unit Volumes Hit $9.4 Million 

Chick-fil-A hit a milestone in 2023, with systemwide sales reaching $21.6 billion, beating 2022’s total of $18.8 billion. 

The fast-food chicken sandwich chain’s sales are nearly $10 billion higher than five years ago, when the brand had an estimated $12.6 billion in 2019. The systemwide sales for 2023 closes some distance between Chick-fil-A and the next brand on the Franchise Times Top 400. 

In last year’s rankings, Chick-fil-A came in at No. 6, behind the next QSR on the list, No. 4 Burger King, which had $25.5 billion in systemwide sales. The latest systemwide sales tally for Chick-fil-A still trails behind the largest chicken concept, No. 3 KFC, which recorded $31.1 billion. 

However, Chick-fil-A is still well ahead of other chicken brands in the rankings, in front of the likes of No. 18 Popeyes with $5.9 billion, No. 38 Wingstop with $2.7 billion, No. 45 Zaxby’s with $2.4 billion and No. 57 Bojangles with $7.16 billion. 

The statistic was one of several in Chick-fil-A’s new franchise disclosure document, which was filed April 4, showing growth for the chicken concept. For the 2,049 standalone franchised units open throughout the calendar year, the brand had an average annual sales volume of $9.37 million, an 8 percent increase above the 2022 volume of $8.7 million. 

The increase continues a steady upward trend, as the volume was $8.7 million in 2022. Additionally, in 2023, 48 percent of those units reported a higher average annual sales volume. 

Mark Kalinowski, president and CEO of Kalinowski Equity Research, wrote in an analysis Thursday how the AUV is well in front of QSR competitors. 

“Incidentally, by way of comparison, domestic AUVs for McDonald’s are closer to $4 million,” Kalinowski wrote. “Not even half that of Chick-fil-A. With Wendy’s in the ballpark of $2 million, Taco Bell at $2 million and Burger King at about $1.5 million-$1.6 million. So, Chick-fil-A’s goal showcases just how much it intends to leap further ahead of the AUVs of its key rivals.” 

Chick-fil-A’s 188 franchised mall locations also had an increase in the metric. The average annual sales volume in shopping centers rose to $4.5 million in 2023, compared to $3.7 million in 2022. 

The brand’s FDD also showed comprehensive earnings after tax in 2023 was $1.05 billion, up 7 percent from $998.7 million the year before. 

In addition to the financial data shared in the Item 19, the brand’s new FDD also showed Chick-fil-A’s restaurant growth. The number of franchised locations in 2021 was 2,242, increasing to 2,338 in 2022 and reaching 2,494 in 2023. 

The number of company-owned units, meanwhile, fell to 58 in 2023, after rising from 69 in 2021 to 73 in 2022. In total, though, combined with its licensed locations, Chick-fil-A added 141 restaurants in 2023, bringing total locations to 2,964. 

As for new units in 2024, the brand is slated to add 183 restaurants, including two entirely new prototypes meant to capture more off-premises sales. Shortly before it registered its new FDD, Chick-fil-A announced the opening of a its first walk-up location in New York City that utilizes mobile ordering. 

It’s one of two digital-focused restaurants the company is opening in 2024, with the other being an elevated drive-thru. Set to launch later this year in Atlanta, the unit will have a kitchen on the second floor above the drive-thru lanes. 

“At Chick-fil-A, we are always looking for ways to innovate and enhance the guest experience,” said Nathaniel Cates, senior principal design lead, in an announcement of the mobile store opening. “While digital concepts are becoming more prevalent, it’s important that we evolve in a uniquely Chick-fil-A way, meeting the changing needs of our customers.” 

SOURCE: Franchise Times 

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