What a difference a week makes. That was the message from Church’s Chicken® CEO Joe Christina today as he unveiled a comprehensive relief effort for Franchisees—both domestically and internationally—to weather the COVID-19 crisis.
“Overall, we saw 36 of 52 weeks of positive sales in 2019, and in eight out of 13 periods, we outperformed our competitors in the category. We were substantially beating the industry and ahead of plan until several weeks ago,” said CEO for Church’s, Joe Christina. “But literally, from one week to the next, the world changed and we need to change with it. That means ensuring our franchisees preserve cash so that they can continue to pay their employees, serve our guests and support the communities we operate in.”
Effective March 30, franchisees can defer 50 percent of their royalties and ad fund contributions for the next four weeks. “The goal is to secure a swift recovery as soon as possible and that requires cash on hand,” says Dusty Profumo, CFO for the brand. “Also, by working with our franchisees, we are encouraging them to honor this reduced royalty structure and pay on time so that we can collectively move the brand forward.”
Christina pointed out that, despite sales declines in the teens, Church’s remains in a strong position to weather the current industry downturn. The brand was among the first in the chicken category to activate third-party delivery in 2018, Order Ahead, Pay Ahead in early 2019, followed by the expansion of the Church’s-To-Go platform, allowing Church’s guests to choose what convenience means to them.
Today, the majority of Church’s domestic restaurants have easily shifted their dine-in business to take-out and delivery—providing continuity of service better and faster. It is Christina’s belief that adjusting operations to best serve the need of their guests, will help position the brand to thrive and recover quickly.
“I am extremely proud of the values we stand for as an organization. Across the world, our teams are working together, showing they care about the business, stepping up as best they can despite these unfortunate circumstances. Everyone in our organization is demonstrating the values that define us by doing the right thing, demonstrating great conviction to see things through. Together, we will get through this,” adds Christina.