Chick-fil-A, the quick service restaurant chain specializing in all things chicken, has vaulted ahead of chief competitor KFC as the nation’s largest chicken fast food chain, according to an April 1, 2014 article published by the Christian Science Monitor.
Official 2013 sales figures show Chick-fil-A topping the $5 billion sales mark compared to KFC’s $4.2 billion. This is the first time Chick-fil-A has surpassed its chief rival in the chicken business and momentum, in spite of controversial comments stated by Chick-fil-A senior management, is still on Chick-fil-A’s side.
Businesses surpass others all the time, but Chick-fil-A’s overtaking of once dominant KFC is unique for several reasons. Firstly, Chick-fil-A has only 1,775 U.S. stores compared to 4,491 KFC stores. Dividing the sales by the number of stores shows that Chick-fil-A has a huge advantage, with more than three times the sales volume per unit per year. Also, one must not forget that Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays, so it has 52 fewer days per year to sell its food.
With fewer stores and fewer days of operation, how did Chick-fil-A manage to beat KFC in the race for your chicken dollars? There are countless reasons, but most important among them is the food itself. Catering to early risers, Chick-fil-A has a breakfast menu that is very popular with its fans and breakfast contributed significantly to its sales volume last year. KFC has a breakfast menu, too, but it isn’t well promoted and actually lost sales in 2013.
Looking at the rest of the menu further illustrates Chick-fil-A’s advantage. Its signature chicken sandwich is still a top seller and its waffle fries stand out in the fast food crowd. Chick-fil-A offers extra items like shakes, ice cream, and wraps- items not sold at KFC. And people still perceive KFC as a take- out place for a bucket of chicken while the public perception of Chick-fil-A is more as a place to sit down and eat inside the restaurant. Add to that the more family- friendly atmosphere at Chick-fil-A, play areas for kids, free wi-fi, etc., and it isn't difficult to see why Chick-fil-A is number one.
Chicken fast- food restaurants do not come close to the number of burger joints, but their popularity is growing. Chick-fil-A can now claim the top spot among America’s chicken restaurants and unless KFC management can revamp the menu and change the restaurant’s image, Chick-fil-A may extend its sales lead even further in 2014.
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