The Global Take-out Fried Chicken Market is Expected to Grow by $1.92 Billion Over the Next Four Years According to Reportlinker.com.
And, while the chicken sandwich wars of a few years ago may have died down, fast food fried chicken is still a hot commodity as powerhouse brands like Chick-fil-A and Popeyes fight to win customers.
Here are the 5 most powerful fried chicken brands in fast food, looking to grab their slice of chicken pie.
While the pandemic hasn’t been good news for most restaurants, it has proven to be a boon for chicken wing expert WingStop, as the chain recorded $2.27 billion in sales at across the American system.
According RSQ magazine, in 2021, U.S. fast casual same-store sales increased 8% year-on-year and 29.4% year-on-year, with average unit volume reaching $1.6 million and its digital sales exceeding 60%. Additionally, the brand opened a record 193 net new stores globally, including 171 domestically.
A company spokesperson said Wingstop is in a “class of one,” with an unparalleled customer experience and use of a top-notch technology platform.
Wingstop differentiates itself from competitors with menu items that are always “cooked-to-order and hand-crafted in 11 bold and distinctive flavors for fans to choose from,” the company explains.
The chain’s menu also features signature sides, including fresh cut and seasoned fries, as well as freshly made ranch and blue cheese dips. Customer favorites include the chain’s Hot Honey Wings, Combo Wings, and Cajun Corn.
Specializing in a variety of wings ranging from spicy, mango, Cajun and lemon garlic to various sides of fries, drinks and desserts, the chain has taken steps to combat rising costs of chicken by implementing price mitigation strategies with its largest poultry suppliers as well as efforts to use more parts of the bird, including the use of thighs with the Thighstop virtual brand, as well as the using breasts with an experimental chicken sandwich that comes in 11 flavors.
Founded in 1994 and based in Dallas, Texas, Wingstop aims to become a top 10 global restaurant brand and has a strong growth pipeline with 1,858 restaurants open globally as of June 2022. The brand believes it can reach over 7,000 global restaurants. in the near future.
With its user-friendly yet simple menu of chicken fingers, fries, sides and drinks, Raising Cane’s reported strong US systemwide sales of $2.4 billion while announcing the opening of its 600th restaurant.
According RSQ magazineRaising Cane’s team building has been a major part of its expansion strategy, with much of its success tied to a restaurant partner program, which was launched at the start of the pandemic and helps managers of store to become operators of company-owned restaurants.
The company also made headlines at the start of the pandemic by refusing to lay off any of its 23,000 workers.
The brand’s March 2022 campaign, one of its biggest, was all about crew appreciation and apparently its dedication to staff paid off, as the AUV (average unit volume) of The company’s nearly $5 million last year was second only to Chick-fil-A.
The company plans to open more than 300 restaurants (most of which are independent drive-thru locations), more than 80% of which are company-owned.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of Popeyes and the famous chain with strong growth, expanding its footprint and introducing new guests across the country and around the world to its fried chicken with a total of more than 3,700 locations worldwide. .
A spokesperson for Restaurant Brands International (RBI), the parent company of Popeyes, said that in just five years since RBI acquired the chain, it has grown from $3 billion in global sales across the $5 billion system.
Building on its most popular products, including its signature and spicy fried chicken, butterfly shrimp, fillets, nuggets, house sides and wildly popular chicken sandwiches, the company recently announced plans to open 200 new restaurants. in the United States and Canada. Specials, such as the current 8-piece hushpuppy shrimp dinner for $5, also helped boost in-store traffic.
The company also says more than 50% of its new restaurants will include dual drive-thrus to serve increased traffic, increase speed of service and ultimately further improve the customer experience.
With more than $5.1 billion in US system-wide sales, KFC continues to be a major player in the fast food fried chicken world.
In 2021, KFC launched the KFC app in addition to quick online ordering, making KFC ordering faster and easier than ever.
KFC’s popular items, such as its Meal Buckets, have provided families with value-based dinners since 1952, while KFC’s Individual Mac & Cheese Bowls are back for a limited time for just $5.
And, according to a company spokesperson, KFC has been busy launching menu innovations such as secret recipe fries, KFC sauce and KFC chicken sandwich last year. The company says it’s also testing KFC’s version of fried chicken nuggets.
Along with new products, the company is expanding its footprint. “KFC saw net new unit growth in 2021 for the first time in 17 years and the brand continues to build new restaurants,” a company spokesperson said, adding that the next-generation design concept KFC prioritizes off-site access to KFC with features such as build-in Quick Pick-Up shelves and dedicated parking for delivery, KFC app or KFC.com orders.
KFC is the second largest restaurant chain in the world after McDonald’s, with 22,621 locations worldwide in 150 countries.
Anyone who’s passed a Chick-fil-A in the past few years probably couldn’t help but notice the long, winding lines in the drive-thru. And now we know all of those lines translated directly into sales, as the chain sits comfortably atop the pile of fried chicken.
QSR reported US system-wide sales of Chick-fil-A over the past three years have grown from $12.2 billion to $13.7 billion to $16.7 billion. Additionally, Chick-fil-A’s footprint grew by 155 locations in the United States in 2021 while revenues soared to $5.8 billion, well ahead of 2020’s $4.3 billion and $3.8 billion the previous year.
So people might be wondering exactly what Chick-fil-A is doing to draw the crowds. According to a company spokesperson, the answers are multiple, such as the belief that the company is “in the business of people, not in the business of chickens”, with all staff genuinely wanting to have a positive impact on clients.
Additionally, the company says it offers customers options such as ordering directly from a member of the drive-thru team or dining at a restaurant. “Our app also offers many ways to order, including curbside pickup and delivery to many locations across the country,” the spokesperson said, adding that “no matter how our customers choose, we want them to have a great experience”.
Other things that set Chick-fil-A apart from its competitors include a highly selective franchise ownership process that ensures better outcomes for customers as well as financial investments in its people as well as the communities it serves.
But, perhaps most important is its commitment to serving food prepared with high quality ingredients, including the original Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich made with real boneless chicken breast, no added fillers and cooked under pressing in fully refined peanut oil.
The company says it was one of the first in the industry to eliminate chicken raised with antibiotics to ensure high quality food on the go.
Plus, fresh produce is delivered to Chick-fil-A restaurants up to six times a week for the highest quality and flavor.
Founded in 1967, the family chain now has more than 2,700 locations in 47 states, including Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.