In the next few years, the fried chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A will likely leapfrog over Taco Bell, Burger King, and Wendy’s to become America’s third-largest fast food restaurant, only trailing McDonald’s and Starbucks.
That prediction comes courtesy of the restaurant consultancy Technomic. Technomic senior principal David Henkes stated, “The pathway is in Chick-fil-A’s favor in terms of continuing to leapfrog iconic chains that are still doing fine,” adding that other older fast food companies have recovered from losing customers to higher-end chains like Chipotle, “but Chick-fil-A is doing phenomenally.”
A Chick-fil-A spokesperson echoed, “The trajectory we’re on would support that.”
The Atlanta-based restaurant, whose owners publicly espouse strong Christian values to the point where the chain is closed on Sundays, reached roughly $9 billion in sales in 2017, ranking it seventh nationwide among fast food chains. The average Chick-fil-A restaurant grabs over $4 million in annual sales, according to QSR magazine, sizably more than McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s.
As Buzzfeed reports, Chick-fil-A’s use of mobile ordering and on-site ordering by tablet has attracted more customers in addition to its well-known emphasis on pleasant servers and abundant free food.
David Farmer, the restaurant’s vice president of restaurant experience, pointed out that those values are “part of the context in which we operate Chick-fil-A,” adding that his job is to catalyze “[NASCAR] pit crew efficiency, but where you feel like you just got hugged in the process. … We’d better not lose our edge relative to service and hospitality.”
YouGov BrandIndex rates the restaurant chain high among its competitors with regard to satisfaction, positive buzz, and likelihood of purchase.
Chick-fil-A’s stated corporate purpose is simple and straightforward: “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.”