ATLANTA, June 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Not even halfway into 2021, and Church'sChicken®, is already poised to turn in another year of exceptional growth and profitability. The brand expects to open nearly 100 new restaurants worldwide (up from 79 new openings last year). And, the average guest check is up just over 30% from 2020 to 2021. Same-store comparable sales are also up over the previous year, by approximately +15% system-wide. While the numbers are substantial under normal circumstances, Church's performance is even more impressive when measured against a pandemic, which still negatively impacts restaurant brands of all kinds. The popular global chicken brand is even ahead of where it was pre-pandemic when it had just surpassed a 10-year company record for system-wide sales in 2019.
"In terms of sustainable growth, Church's is in a very positive place," shares Louis (Dusty) Profumo, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for the brand. "Across the board, practically all of our metrics are tracking in an upward direction – average unit volume, same-store sales, overall profitability, company restaurant margins – and we're well ahead of where we were at this time last year."
Profumo attributes the continued progress to a combination of long-term strategic focus and the company's ability to pivot quickly during the pandemic crisis to maintain and elevate its marketing and operations. Family meal sales, which is a brand strength, surged in 2020 for the brand, At the same time, a shift in the way media channels were utilized in 2020 helped drive more brand and product awareness, reaching the brand target guest more effectively. Add that to the launch of long-planned advancements in the company's digital marketing, order ahead, and delivery business, with each incremental improvement, compounded to accelerate sales growth. Digital growth alone turned in a 540% increase in Order Ahead and pick-up orders in 2020, along with a 77% increase in third-party delivery and a 100% increase in digital conversions. Church's international presence also continues to impress as it achieved record-breaking growth for the second consecutive year in 2020—despite a global pandemic. This year, the brand projects to open 30 locations in Canada alone. Other notable international markets include Malaysia and Thailand, each opening their 80th restaurants. Halfway through this year, the brand is maintaining that forward momentum.
"By embracing the increasingly digital nature of the quick-service restaurant market, we've been able to position Church's to meet our guest on their terms," explains Brian Gies, Chief Marketing Officer for Church's. "Our technology investment in integrated and consumer-focused platforms made us well-prepared to face the changing ways that guests want to engage with our brand. We'll continue building on this momentum for continued growth in '21, '22, and beyond."
About Church's Chicken® Founded in San Antonio, Texas, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church's Chicken® is one of the world's largest quick-service restaurant chicken chains. Church's® specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips®, Honey-Butter Biscuits™ made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, homestyle sides all for a great value. Church's® (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken® outside the Americas) has more than 1,500 locations in 25 countries and international territories. With system-wide sales of more than $1.2 billion, the system had a recording-breaking year in 2020. During two national media windows, the brand drove sales performance that outpaced the broader QSR category. For more information, visit www.churchs.com. Follow Church's® on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churchschicken and Twitter at www.twitter.com/churchschicken.