Skip navigation
Chick-fil-A chicken-sandwich-1.jpg Photo courtesy of Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A continues to gain market share while setting another average unit volume record

According to Technomic Ignite data, Chick-fil-A generated nearly $21.6 billion in sales in 2023, while its latest FDD shows AUVs were a record $9.3 million.

Chick-fil-A generated $21.58 billion in sales in 2023, a 14.7% increase over 2022’s $18.81 billion and over 43% over 2021’s $15 billion. According to new data from Technomic Ignite, the chain has essentially doubled its total sales volume since 2018.

In the process, the company has also continued to gain market share in an intensely competitive QSR chicken category. That 14.7% sales growth compares to its closest competitor, Popeyes, which grew sales in 2023 by just over 10%, to $5.51 billion. KFC finished 2023 with $5.17 billion, or 1.7% versus 2022. Notably, Chick-fil-A’s average check is slightly higher than its two biggest competitors, at $13.95, versus $12.65 at KFC, and $12.30 at Popeyes.

Rounding out the category, Bojangles also had a strong year, with 10% sales growth, to $1.78 billion. El Pollo Loco was up 1.1% to $1.05 billion, and Church’s Texas Chicken was up 4.9%, to $803 million.

Average sales in the QSR chicken category are $2.86 billion, according to Technomic Ignite, which illustrates just how much of a juggernaut Chick-fil-A’s $21.5 billion is. This is especially true given the chain’s policy to remain closed on Sundays. Further, its overall footprint is smaller than its closest two competitors – finishing 2023 with 2,964 restaurants versus Popeyes’ 3,051 units, and KFC’s 3,791 units.

Chick-fil-A has maintained a steady mid-single-digit growth pace throughout the past several years, increasing by 5.6% in 2023. During that same period, Popeyes’ footprint grew by 4.5%, while KFC declined by 3.2%. The competitor average was negative 1.4%, weighed heavily by Church’s 13% retrenchment.

As Chick-fil-A’s consistent growth remains a major narrative, it’s worth mentioning that its competition extends far beyond the QSR chicken category. Indeed, Kalinowski Equity Research noted all the way back in 2018 that Chick-fil-A’s biggest competitor is McDonald’s and it’s no wonder why the Golden Arches and seemingly every other QSR concept (and beyond) have since ignited a chicken sandwich war replicating the Atlanta-based chain’s signature product.

Fast forward to now and this competitive set remains just as broad. Chick-fil-A released its latest Franchisee Disclosure Document this week, showing that the chain’s average unit volumes for non-mall locations in 2023 reached a record $9.3 million – an 8.1% increase over the previous record, $8.67 million, reached in 2022.

For context, McDonald’s AUVs are about $4 million, according to Kalinowski Equity Research, while Taco Bell is around $2 million. Perhaps it’s no coincidence, then, that both McDonald’s and Taco Bell are elevating their chicken offerings. Four of McDonald’s 17 $1 billion equities are in chicken and CFO Ian Borden recently said the company needs to have more to be “known for chicken.” Meanwhile, most of Taco Bell’s menu launches this year are also focused on chicken. As Liz Matthews, chief food innovation officer, recently said, Taco Bell’s fans want more chicken. Indeed, chicken has become the most consumed protein throughout the past 30 years, driven largely by younger consumers who prefer its versatility and perceived health halo.

Whether these broadened efforts will slow down Chick-fil-A’s continued momentum is yet to be seen, but the chain itself has plenty of white space to keep growing. Its nearly 3,000 restaurants pales in comparison to Taco Bell’s nearly 7,500 and McDonald’s nearly 13,500 restaurants.

Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]

TAGS: Franchising
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.