Chick-fil-A is thriving.
Chick-fil-A has whipped past rivals to become the third-largest restaurant chain in the US.
The chicken chain’s massive growth in 2018 moved it into the No. 3 spot on the ranking of the largest restaurant chains in the US, with $10.46 billion in American systemwide sales, according to Nation’s Restaurant News analysis published Monday.
McDonald’s maintained the No. 1 spot, with $38.52 billion in American system-wide sales. Starbucks held on to second place with $20.49 billion.
Chick-fil-A moved up from the No. 7 spot on last year’s Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200, passing Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and Subway. Chick-fil-A’s system-wise sales grew 16.7% in 2018, up from $8.97 billion.
Experts say there is no reason to believe Chick-fil-A’s growth will slow anytime soon. If anything, Starbucks should be worried it could lose its silver medal.
“Can they double that? I think that is a very reasonable goal for them,” Kalinowski Equity Research founder Mark Kalinowski told Business Insider in May.
“I would be surprised if they didn’t double that in the not-too-distant future,” Kalinowski added. “Can they reach $30 billion? I think that’s also a realistic goal if you give them enough time. And that should put them ahead of Starbucks.”
Chick-fil-A competes with chains that have many more locations because of its enviable average unit volumes.
On average, a Chick-fil-A location brought in $4.6 million in annual sales in 2018, up from $4.2 million in 2017 — more than any other fast-food chain. By comparison, the average McDonald’s location made $2.8 million.[H/T Business Insider]