If you’ve wondered whether the escalating culture wars over Chick-fil-A have done anything to stem the chicken chain’s stunning growth, the answer is a resounding no. Last year was, from a sales standpoint, a banner year for the company, which leapfrogged from its place as America’s seventh-largest restaurant chain to the third-largest restaurant chain, behind only McDonald’s and Starbucks.
Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual list of the nation’s largest fast-food companies saw Chick-fil-A post enviable gains, surpassing Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Subway. The company posted a 16.7% sales growth rate in 2018, and shows no signs of slowing. The chain reported $10.46 billion in sales last year, and some analysts think Chick-fil-A could even snatch Starbucks’ second-place spot before long.
“Can they reach $30 billion? I think that’s also a realistic goal if you give them enough time,” Mark Kalinowski of Kalinowski Equity Research told Business Insider. “And that should put them ahead of Starbucks.”
Chick-fil-A certainly has its critics—Takeout writers among them—but its fans seem to be growing in numbers, or at least in their spending. Our staff has attempted to pin down the chain’s success, without a resoundingly clear answer: Is it simply that the chicken sandwiches are tasty? Is it the streamlined menu? Is it the company’s high customer-service ratings? All of the above?
Just imagine what the company’s numbers would look like if its locations were open Sundays.