Chick-fil-A announced this week it will open in the United Kingdom in 2025. The company is targeting five stores in the market in the first two years and plans to invest over $100 million to expand there within the next 10 years.
The company is eyeing ambitious international growth, including stores across Europe and Asia, supported by a $1 billion investment. Plans currently call for five international markets by 2030, with the UK market housing the first permanent store outside of North America.
CEO Andrew Cathy told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year that Chick-fil-A has plenty of room to grow in the U.S., but that an international presence is necessary as the family-owned business charts its future.
“We feel like it’s time to continue to innovate and try [to] test how we will do in international markets so that we can learn,” Cathy told the publication.
"We are excited our restaurants will bring new jobs and opportunities throughout the UK. Serving communities is at the heart of everything we do at Chick-fil-A, and our unique local owner-operator model provides one of a kind access to entrepreneurial opportunities,” Anita Costello, chief international officer, said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing our authentic Chick-fil-A experience: providing fresh food prepared with high-quality ingredients, served with our signature hospitality.”
Chick-fil-A’s last attempt to enter the European market — in London in 2019 — ended when gay rights activists continually protested the location. An earlier attempt at South Africa from 1996 to 2001 fizzled because the brand didn’t register brand awareness among customers in those markets.
Chick-fil-A’s international strategy comes as the chain barrels toward $19 billion in annual sales, third behind just McDonald’s and Starbucks. According to Datassential, the company’s average unit volumes are nearly $7 million, outpacing every other major chain.
Chick-fil-A currently has more than 2,800 restaurants across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada.
Contact Alicia Kelso at [email protected]