Church’s Chicken

From the pages of Restaurant Franchising
The Atlanta-based chicken concept expects to add 100 stores by 2010.

Churchs franchise

Building on positive same-store sales and aggressive domestic and international growth, Church’s Chicken seeks franchisees as it continues to expand in 2009.

The Atlanta-based chicken chain posted its fifth consecutive year of comps growth and opened 93 restaurants in 2008. Church’s currently has more than 1,625 units in 33 states and 20 countries, and plans call for 60 openings in the U.S. and more than 100 worldwide this year.

“In this economy, that’s a tremendous achievement,” says Paul Brown, vice president of franchise sales.

The company has maintained growth by continuing to offer value to franchisees. At 26.3 percent, Church’s boasts the highest profitability of any billion-dollar restaurant company, and average unit volumes are over $900,000 for company-owned stores. In addition, the investment returns on a new Church’s restaurant have continued to improve while the industry returns have declined¹. As the chain continues to grow, opportunities are available in new and existing markets. In addition to further expansion in the South, Southeast, and Southwest, Church’s is also entering markets in California and the Pacific Northwest.

“There are a lot of good reasons to call in and get some details if you’re a franchisee,” Brown says. “We might have a special offer right in your back yard.”

To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of $1 million in net worth, with at least $300,000 in liquid assets, and be willing to open three or more stores. Energy, enthusiasm, and a desire to help grow the brand over the long haul are essential. Restaurant experience is also a plus.

“You’ve got to have a restaurant problem-solving mindset,” Brown explains. “You’ve got to know how to function as an owner, with cost-consciousness and a nose for profit.”

As seen in USA Today, Church’s was recently named as one of the top 50 franchises for minorities by the National Minority Franchising Initiative.

“We’re looking for a lot of diversity in our franchisee base,” Brown says.

Church’s was recently named as one of the top 50 franchises for minorities by the National Minority Franchising Initiative.

Those who qualify can join a brand that offers flexibility. Besides traditional and convenience-store sites, Church’s offers footprints designed for airport, college/university, and toll road/travel plaza locations. Kiosk stations designed for special venues can offer the chain’s full menu in just 328 square feet, and a modular design, set to be unveiled this spring, can be developed 90 days faster than a traditional store. Opportunities to convert existing structures are also available.

“We believe in trying to find the right format to fit every market,” Brown says.

With more than 245 company-owned restaurants and an active franchise advisory board, Church’s has a finger on the pulse of operations at the unit level and ensures operators are heard.

“We keep our eye on the ball and our skin in the game,” Brown says. “We’re very aware of the challenges that face our operators.”

For more information about franchising opportunities with Church's Chicken, visit www.churchsfranchise.com.