Special Report | August 2016

The QSR 50 Chicken Segment

Ranking the top chicken brands in quick service and fast casual.
image used with permission.

Fast casual has stormed the QSR 50 in the last few years, with Panera Bread entering the top 10 and Chipotle close at its heels. That trend continued in 2015; Panera and Chipotle each padded their sales, with the latter leap-frogging both Sonic and KFC in the rankings. (Of course, Chipotle’s food-safety woes struck at the end of 2015, a sales hit that will likely be reflected in next year’s QSR 50). Elsewhere in fast casual, a pair of sandwich chains—Jersey Mike’s and Firehouse Subs—continued their incredible momentum up the list, while Wingstop similarly managed to jump multiple spots in the rankings.

Meanwhile, legacy quick-service chains were a mixed bag in 2015. McDonald’s finally found its footing after years of disappointing sales returns, and Taco Bell managed to jump Wendy’s and solidify a spot in the QSR 50’s top five. But KFC ceded more ground in the chicken wars, slipping to spot No. 14 overall—only six spots and just over $1 billion in sales ahead of Popeyes, which enjoyed a major boost in 2015.

Click column headers to sort
Segment Ranksort descendingQSR 50 RankCompany2015 U.S. Systemwide Sales (millions)2015 U.S. Average Sales per Unit (thousands)Number of Franchised Units in 2015Number of Company Units in 2015Total Units in 2015Total Change in Units from 2014
18Chick-fil-A$6,825.9$3,977.31,6463371,98396
214KFC$4,328.3$1,000.04,0642064,270-121
320Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen$3,100.0$1,458.52,469702,539160
425Zaxby's*1$1,576.4$2,174.360212372565
528Bojangles'$1,153.0$1,838.737828165940
631Church's Chicken$838.0$729.08812501,131-37
732Wingstop$821.2$1,130.082619845133
835El Pollo Loco$753.4$1,798.024718643318
944Boston Market$617.9$1,364.054534582

* Includes figures estimated by QSR
1 Numbers are projected by QSR based on past performance
2 Includes 2014 unit counts

Comments

There is a 287 store change in the company owned stores of CFA in 2015 over 2014 of only 50. Could you explain how that data was compiled and reason for the change? Was it a change in classification or something else? Thanks. -Weston

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