Texas Chicken, the international brand of Atlanta-based Church’s Chicken, is opening its first restaurants in the United Kingdom this month, with plans to open 36 restaurants by the end of March and 50 before the year’s end. This acquisition will make the UK the fourth largest international market for Church’s/Texas Chicken®, and will make the brand the second-largest quick-service chicken concept in the UK marketplace.

With over 1,700 quick-service chicken restaurants, the UK is one of the largest quick-service chicken markets in the world. “Currently in the UK, there are no strong players to compete with KFC,” says Harsha V. Agadi, CEO of Church’s Chicken. “We are entering this market to grow aggressively and provide an alternative. We feel confident that customers will try and love the taste and flavor of our chicken.”

As a result of its move into the new market, the brand will have an office in the UK to support training, operations, and day-to-day business.

“We are committed to the expansion of Texas Chicken in the UK and beyond through our franchising model,” says Zack Kollias, Senior VP of International for Church’s. “The UK marketplace represents a great chicken market and we are excited by the opportunity to introduce high quality products and services in such a dynamic market.”

A majority of the 50 locations are existing Dixy Fried Chicken restaurants, whose owners are converting to Church’s/Texas Chicken. This agreement doubled the number of international franchisees for the brand. The first group of Texas Chicken restaurant openings took place in London and Birmingham. Each franchisee will operate single or multiple restaurant locations.

With expansion into the UK, Church’s/Texas Chicken enters its second European market, following restaurant openings in Russia, which took place in December 2007. The company is also planning expansion into India later this year. The restaurant chain, although new to the UK, began expanding internationally in 1979. Today, it is one of the largest quick-service chicken concepts in the world.

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