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Chick-fil-A's sales success cannot truly be appreciated until it is compared to the performance of the quick-service industry as a whole. The chain's overall 18.48 percent sales increase eclipsed the industry's 4.6 percent projected 1999 sales growth (1.8 percent, adjusted for inflation).
Although Chick-fil-A credits several factors for its tremendous sales growth last year, the chain sees its restaurant franchisees as the main driving force behind its swelling sales. "Chick-fil-A's success ultimately lies in the hands of our restaurant Operators," said Chick-fil-A President James L.S. Collins. "Our Operators are the best in the quick-service industry, and it's exciting to see them continue to better themselves year after year. It's also comforting to have the sales-building mindset of our Operators as we enter the new millennium."
Also contributing to Chick-fil-A's strong sales performance is the launch of the chain's new and improved salad entrees. In October, Chick-fil-A revamped three of its original salads, the Chargrilled Chicken Garden Salad, Chick-n-Strips¨ Salad and Side Salad, and introduced an all-new entree salad, the Chargrilled Chicken Caesar Salad.
Chick-fil-A is extending its highly successful salad launch into the early part of 2000 with its "Tern Over A New Leef" promotion. As implied by its title, the campaign is designed to capitalize on consumers' New Year's resolutions - promoting Chick-fil-A's salads as a healthy alternative for quick-service dining. Chick-fil-A has enlisted the help of its popular "Eat Mor Chikin¨" Cows to tout its Tern Over A New Leef message in a variety of its marketing efforts. The campaign runs from Jan. 17 through March 4.
The chain also has steadily focused on expansion, opening 88 new outlets (56 free-standing, 20 licensed, 11 mall units, and one location in South Africa) in 1999, primarily focusing on further penetration in existing markets. In 2000, Chick-fil-A plans to open 96 new restaurants, including 65 freestanding units, 30 licensed outlets and one mall location - bringing the total number of restaurants to nearly 1,000 by year's end.
Licensing the Chick-fil-A brand to major foodservice partners has enabled the chain to open 150 licensed Chick-fil-A outlets since 1992 in such non-traditional locations as universities, hospitals and Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport. These licensed outlets provide boundless opportunities for Chick- fil-A to expand its customer base.
While the chain is committed to retaining its current customers, Chick-fil-A also continues to make brand-building strides to attract new customers. The significant performance by Chick-fil-A franchisees has been supported by major brand-building efforts such as high-profile sponsorships and the hugely successful Eat Mor Chikin campaign starring the Chick-fil-A "Cows." The international award-winning campaign has enjoyed such widespread success that the chain has turned the theme into its most successful, fully- integrated marketing program, which includes in-store point-of-purchase materials and promotions; billboard, radio and TV advertising; plus clothing and merchandise sales of nearly $9 million. Chick-fil-A also will air new "Cow TV" ads over the next year.
Title sponsorship of the LPGA Tour's Chick-fil-A Charity Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez (April 24 - 30) and college football's Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl also have played a major role in building awareness for the chain. The record sell-out crowd of 73,315 fans pushed the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to the third-highest attended bowl game in the country-only the Rose and Sugar Bowls were higher.
As of Dec. 31, 1999, Chick-fil-A had 897 locations in 35 states and South Africa. Chick-fil-A serves nutritious food products in malls, freestanding units, drive-thru-only outlets, Chick-fil-A Dwarf House¨ and Truett's Grill¨ full-service restaurants, and through licensed outlets in college campuses, hospitals, airports, businesses and industrial sites.