Chick-fil-A was lighting up sales ahead of the drive-thru-fueled rush of pandemic-era life. But the landscape elevated the brand to the third-highest earning spot in all of fast food, trailing just McDonald’s and Starbucks. And that’s despite having 10,607 and 13,036 fewer restaurants, respectively, in comparison.

The main culprit was average-unit volume, where Chick-fil-A closed 2022 making $8.51 million at drive-thru locations. This number was $8.142 million in 2021—15 percent higher than Chick-fil-A’s 2020 result of $7.096 million.

Despite a more normalized operating environment in 2023, the chain continued to gain. Chick-fil-A’s annual FDD released Thursday showed median sales at non-mall locations (free standing or drive-thru-only) operated for at least a calendar year of $9.275 million. The average annual sales volume was $9.374 million, with 998 of the 2,049 domestic franchised restaurants counted in this pool, at that number or above. The top store made $19.094 million, which is more than the average sales take of a Cheesecake Factory, Outback Steakhouse, and Cracker Barrel, combined.


About 33 percent of restaurants counted had annual sales volumes below $8.3 million; 34 percent fit between $8.3 and $10.235 million; and 33 percent were in excess of $10.235 million.

Chick-fil-A lifted to 2,964 domestic restaurants open and operating, including roughly 2,552 U.S. corporate and franchised operator units, and 412 domestic licensed restaurants.

Last year, it broke down as 2,806 domestic Chick-fil-As, 2,411 domestic company-operated and franchised operator venues, and 395 domestic licensed units.

As for broader sales, Chick-fil-A exited 2023 with total revenue and income of $7,888,050,586. A year ago, it was $6,373,786,108; and $5,764,153,899 in 2021.

WHERE IT ALL COMES TOGETHER: See how Chick-fil-A performed in QSR’s Drive-Thru Report

Chick-fil-A in 2022 approached the $19 billion mark in total systemwide sales as it closed with $18.815 billion (a sizable year-over-year jump from $16.674 billion the previous calendar). The brand soared past that milestone in 2023 to $21,585,752,000.

Chick-fil-A’s mall units last year (188 were open and operated for at least a year) generated median annual sales volumes of $3.379 million with average annual sales volumes of $4.497 million. There was one mall store that made $18.989 million in 2023.

Of 384 U.S. licensed units open for at least a full calendar year, 300 were located on college or university campuses. The median annual sales volume of those was $1.111 million and the average annual sales volume was $1.347 million. Eighty-four were in hospitals, businesses, industries, or airports. The median annual sales volume was $2.735 million and the average annual sales volume $3.278 million.

Chick-fil-A’s total outlet net growth from 2022 to 2023 was 141. In the past two years, it’s been 100 and 102, respectively.

Chick-fil-A also licenses its brand through strategic partnerships with contract food service management companies. There were 414, 395, and 392 outlets operating as of December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021, respectively, the majority of which were located in airports and on college campuses. The company’s licensed operating outlets are located throughout the United States and District of Columbia. Chick-fil-A’s FDD also noted it was “actively exploring opportunities to continue franchised restaurant growth in Canada and Puerto Rico as well as opportunities to continue expansion into other international locations in the future.”

Fast Food, Finance, Story, Chick-fil-A