With the year barely half over, Chick-fil-A Inc. announced that it is already having a successful 2010. The chain celebrated the opening of its 1,500th restaurant, and its first location in downtown Los Angeles.
Located adjacent to the University of Southern California, the new restaurant is one of 78 locations the chain plans to open this year, creating nearly 4,500 new jobs nationwide. The milestone 1,500th Chick-fil-A restaurant opening comes 43 years after founder Truett Cathy opened his first location in an Atlanta shopping mall and represents the coast-to-coast reach of the chain. It is significant that the 1,500th restaurant comes in California where the chain has been aggressively expanding since opening its first stand-alone restaurant in Chino Hills in 2004, after operating several mall locations for many years. The chain has since opened more than 30 locations in California and announced it will open a Hollywood location during the first quarter of 2011. Chick-fil-A will continue to focus its expansion in Southern California with additional restaurants planned for the Bay Area and Central Coast region for future development.
“The opening of the 1,500th restaurant and our company’s continued expansion plans in urban areas truly demonstrate our steadfast vision for strategic growth in key markets around the country,” says Dan T. Cathy, president and chief operating officer of Chick-fil-A Inc. “This milestone is a reflection of the commitment to service by our restaurant operators and their employees, and our loyal customer following who created the need for more Chick-fil-A locations in metro Los Angeles.”
In addition to expansion in California, Chick-fil-A is continuing its growth in the Midwest. Chick-fil-A will open its first three Chicagoland-area restaurants in Aurora, Orland Park and Wheaton over the next three months and plans to increase its St. Louis presence in 2011.
In addition to its restaurant expansion, Chick-fil-A continues to build the brand through new product introductions, ongoing sales growth, and its “Eat Mor Chikin” ad campaign.
Chick-fil-A is also marking another strong year in sales, reporting approximately $1.5 billion in system-wide sales through June 2010. This number represents an overall 9.5 percent increase over the chain’s sales performance for the first six months of 2009, and a same-store sales increase of 3.75 percent.
In January, the chain introduced a new Chick-fil-A Yogurt Parfait and Chick-fil-A House Roast Coffee, a 100 percent Colombian coffee blend, in an effort to continue to grow its breakfast menu. In June, Chick-fil-A launched the Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Sandwich, the first new sandwich to hit menu boards since its Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich was introduced in 1989. Answering the most requested menu item from customers, the Spicy Chicken Sandwich marked the largest product introduction in the chain’s 42-year history from an operational and store design perspective. Based on the success of the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, the company plans to continue new product expansion with the introduction of a Chick-fil-A Spicy Chicken Biscuit in January 2011.
“2010 has been a very exciting year for Chick-fil-A thus far, with the successful introduction of our new products like the Spicy Chicken Sandwich, and expansion into new markets that offer new ways to serve our customers,” Cathy says. “We are looking forward to more opportunities to learn from and serve our customers from coast-to-coast in the coming months.”
Chick-fil-A is also celebrating the 15th anniversary of the renegade “Eat Mor Chikin” ad campaign this year. The Cows have entertained consumers with their desperate, self-preserving antics in an effort to convert beefeaters into chicken fans. The Chick-fil-A Cows and the “Eat Mor Chikin” campaign have enjoyed such widespread public success that the chain has evolved the campaign into a fully integrated marketing program, which includes the social media components of Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare. In addition, the “Eat Mor Chikin” Cows are the focal point of Chick-fil-A’s in-store point-of-purchase materials, promotions, merchandise sales, and billboard, radio, and TV advertising.