Church’s Chicken wants to return its restaurants back to their Texas roots with a brand refresh that began rolling out earlier this month.
Although the 1,600-unit quick-service chain is based in Atlanta, the concept’s first location opened in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas. Joseph Christina, Church’s CEO, said everything about the multi-year brand revamp, from a new tagline — “bring that down-home flavor”— to bolder colors and reimaged dining rooms, was inspired by their Lone Star heritage.
“Texas has a real spirit to it, and we wanted to make sure this was represented through our fresh food, strong heritage and memories,” Christina said. “It’s about having that ability to take pride in our brand. For me, that down-home piece of that tagline says you never settle. ‘Down home’ means abundance of flavor and variety.”
Dubbing it the start of a new “global brand positioning,” Church’s Chicken will also introduce a subtle facelift to U.S. restaurants, including updated employee uniforms and a new logo and food packaging featuring a color scheme upgrade from traditional red and white to a rich blue palette, which helps Church’s stand out, he said.
Additionally, Church’s will be adding new boldly-flavored limited-time menu items later this summer — another nod to their Texas heritage — and training employees to greet every customer with more conversational “down-home” hospitality.
Church’s Chicken will be flaunting their refreshed look in the brand’s first-ever national advertising campaign in decades, led by executive vice president and global chief marketing officer Brian Gies, who was hired earlier this month.
“We hope the global brand positioning work will accelerate new growth in current and new international markets and attract new franchisees and growth in new domestic markets,” Christina said, adding that they hope to grow the brand in new countries, and expand markets where they are already located, particularly in Asia and the Middle East.
The brand revitalization will be more noticeable overseas, where Church’s Chicken — known in many international markets as Texas Chicken — has not updated its restaurants as frequently. The restaurant chain will introduce digital menu boards and a new restaurant design featuring the bold blue color scheme that will be seen on packaging stateside, as well as family-oriented seating that encourages customers to push tables together for a more casual, sociable atmosphere.
“Our turnover goes down when we reimage restaurants,” Christina said. “Our employees feel like when you’re investing in the business, you’re investing in them.”
Although Church’s Chicken will not necessarily be overhauling their menu — known for its fried chicken and honey butter biscuits — some countries will see the introduction of spicier menu items throughout 2019. Certain markets, Christina said, can “handle their spice” more than in America, like in the Middle East where the menu might get a “little more adventurous.”
Moving forward, Church’s Chicken — like much of the quick-service world — will focus on delivery and improving their digital footprint.
Earlier in 2019, Church’s launched third-party delivery capability with GrubHub, Postmates, DoorDash, and UberEats. Delivery is now available at 70% of their restaurants domestically and expanding rapidly. Later this spring, Church’s will also be launching order-ahead and pickup to lean even more into the convenience category.
“I think when you’re a 67-year-old brand, you have to think about updating periodically,” Christina said. “We wanted to look at how to stay relevant by building on the success of the brand.”
Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @joannafantozzi