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In the midst of what many considered to be an uncertain sales year, Chick- fil-A still was able to celebrate several company milestones. In March, the chain debuted its first new entree offering in six years, Chick-fil-A® Cool Wraps, which proved to be an instant hit with customers and a contributor to the chain's 2001 sales success of $1.242 billion. In June, Dan Cathy, oldest son of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy, was named president and COO of the company following the retirement of longtime president James L.S. Collins. To cap off the year, Chick-fil-A commemorated the opening of its one-thousandth restaurant location in November.
A key initiative for Chick-fil-A in 2002 involves continued expansion, both in current and new markets for the chain. Today, Chick-fil-A's 1,018 restaurants are located within 34 states and D.C., with the strongest concentration of restaurants lying in the Sunbelt region of the country. To sustain its success, Chick-fil-A says it has set its sights on a number of potential expansion targets outside this region.
In recent years, Chick-fil-A has focused on opening restaurants in the Northeast, specifically in the Maryland, northern Virginia/D.C. and Philadelphia markets. Since 1999, the company has opened 19 new restaurants throughout this corridor and is planning to open 75 locations in these markets over the next five years.
In addition to its core markets, Chick-fil-A plans to strengthen its presence—primarily with free-standing restaurants—in several of its existing markets, including Indianapolis, Denver and Phoenix. System-wide, the chain plans to add 77 new locations this year. Additionally, Chick-fil-A is exploring new market opportunities in the West and Midwest, including southern California, Indiana, and Ohio for long-term expansion.