The chicken franchisor is also planning on boosting its operational back-end.
Church’s Chicken is wasting no time in bouncing back from the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent industry disruption, with the chicken franhcisor revealing an ambitious five-year plan that will see it through to 2026.
“Every year has been better than the last for us – in sales and in average check – and that’s in spite of a global pandemic and while we have been rolling out various operational changes and improvements,” said Joe Christina, CEO. “It’s time to apply that strength towards optimizing our operations, ensuring common vision in working towards measurable results, and remaining flexible in the face of an ever-changing restaurant landscape.”
In 2020, Church’s achieved positive year-over-year sales for the fourth straight year, despite the pandemic. The brand also utilized the national media landscape across all platforms, and optimized budgets to allow for national TV coverage for the second year in a row.
Last year also saw Church’s focus on maximizing a return on investment for franchisees, which required a modest acquisition of new kitchen equipment in restaurants.
“We got big lifts from our family meals and delivery during the pandemic. We also had a blockbuster success with our Chicken Sandwich. However, when we looked at the sales figures – we realized that these were shining stars in an already bright universe,” said Christina. “By working closely with our franchisees, vendors, and restaurant teams to build momentum throughout the year we were able to outperform 2019, one of our best years in a decade.”
To continue this momentum, the franchisor has outlined several specific goals for 2021 that will see it both expand its current franchise portfolio of 1,500 locations across 25 countries, and also solidify the guest and franchisee experience at its current sites.
These goals include:
- Opening 100 new restaurants globally by year’s end
- Rolling out new Point of Sale (POS) systems in Q1 2021 and beyond
- Activating the new and differentiated brand position both domestically and internationally to accelerate growth and drive profitability
- Enhancing the global guest experience with forward-thinking restaurant design, evolved menu offerings, and innovative packaging options
- Maximizing off-premise services to further improve restaurant profitability
- Expanding brand awareness and guest acquisition and increasing preference among existing consumers
“Our two-year comps during national media weeks have produced a +8.1 per cent increase in average same-store sales. It proves the effectiveness of our evolved marketing approach, earning more market share even against brands that spend far more on media yearly,” said Brian Gies, executive VP and global chief marketing officer. “Going forward, we’re going to expand our marketing presence across the most relevant media channels with a broader reach, integrated analytics, and including as many as 25 weeks of total on-air broadcast time nationally and locally.”
Church’s Chicken is also launching brand-new team member development and training initiatives, including a new ‘Our Texas Way’ brand experience handbook.
“The vision is to take the core of our branding and marketing messages and brings it to life across all HR functions and restaurant operations,” said Karen Viera, senior VP and global chief people officer. “We’re inviting franchisees, team members, restaurant staff, and even guests deeper into the Church’s experience and making them part of what comes next.”