Chick-fil-A tops KFC as leading chicken chain

April 2, 2014
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chidk fil a logo wordingCHICAGO — Chick-fil-A posted 2013 sales of $5.1 billion, surpassing KFC as the top chicken chain, according to data from Technomic Inc. released in its annual reporting on the top U.S. restaurant organizations.

Chick-fil-A grew 9.3 percent in 2013, leading the limited-service sub segment restaurants.

These latest figures represent Chick-Fil-A’s continued and steady growth among restaurant chains.

Chick-fil-A has more than 1,700 locations in 39 sites and Washington, D.C. According to the company, system-wide sales in 2012 reached $4.6 billion, reflecting a 14 percent increase over the chain’s 20122 performance and a same-store sales increase of 6 percent.

As a whole, limited-service restaurants  in 2013 saw a sales bump of 3.9 percent with chicken chains posting a 5.1 percent growth, according to the Technomic report.

Technomic also reported that the 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a 3.5 percent annual sales increase in 2013, a significant decline from 4.9 percent the prior year.  The foodservice consultancy found that U.S. system-wide sales for the Top 500 chains grew to an estimated $264 billion in 2013, up more than $8.8 billion over 2012.

“Although we have seen overall growth within the Top 500, the pace has slowed since last year,” said Ron Paul, president of Technomic. “Competition for share of stomach is getting more and more challenging. But brands that have found a way to differentiate themselves are gaining market share.”

Among limited-service restaurants, the highest growth came from the Asian, bakery cafe and coffee cafe categories. Segment leaders were Panda Express (10.7 percent sales growth), Panera Bread (11.8 percent) and Starbucks (10.6 percent). McDonald’s, the largest U.S. restaurant chain, saw minimal sales growth of 0.7 percent in 2013, to reach annual sales of $35.9 billion. Subway continues as the second largest restaurant chain in the U.S., followed by Starbucks, Wendy’s and Burger King.

Full-service restaurants experienced a 2.4 percent sales increase in 2013, a slight decrease over the 2.9 percent seen in 2012. The full-service steak category continued to show healthy growth, with an increase of 6.2 percent. Gains in the steak category were driven by Texas Roadhouse (11.1 percent) and LongHorn Steakhouse (12.8 percent). Among varied-menu chains, which increased sales by 2.5 percent overall, the category leader, Buffalo Wild Wings boosted sales 12.9 percent.

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