It’s no surprise that Chick-fil-A just slid into the #3 ranking for top 500 Quick Service (QSR) restaurant chains (and #1 as Customer Favorite according to Restaurant Business Online), but how they are doing it is staggering. Last year, they averaged more per unit than McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway…combined! All in six days per week, no less. They also did it with only 2,470 units versus McDonald’s 13,846 units and 15,049 Starbucks units (US). Those who frequent Chick-fil-A recognize their efficiency both inside and outside of each restaurant – mobile ordering and parking lot associates keep the multiple-lane rivers of lunchtime traffic weaving and flowing like practiced dancers–an art in itself. Then take into account their high accuracy rate and genuinely friendly demeanor; it’s really quite beautiful. Go inside and observe the tidy dining area, clean restrooms, and watch as associates frequently bring orders to guests, take away their trash (no tipping, please!), and maybe even remember them by name. Competitors have tried to copy the “My pleasure” response (you won’t hear a Chick-fil-A employee say “you’re welcome”), but they just can’t do it the same way, and it shows in both sales and employee retention.

What’s really mind-blowing is how they do it with so few franchise units. Below we have broken down Chick-fil-A’s performance based on number of locations along with their top 4 competitors. This should help put things into perspective for those that follow US retail and Quick Service Restaurant trends.
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Analysis Based on US Locations Only:

Ranking as of June 2020

Ranking * Company * Number of Units (US) * Avg Gross Sales Per Unit

#1 * McDonalds * 13,846 * $2.7 million

#2 * Starbucks * 15, 049 * $540,000

#3 * Chick-fil-A * 2,470 * $4.6 million

#4 * Taco Bell * 6,766 * $1.51 million

#5 * Burger King * 7,346 * $1.36 million

*Data presented ref. QSRMagazine.com, RestaurantBusinessOnline.com and other online CRE publications.

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Mark Griffin is CEO of Sperry Commercial Global-Griffin Partners based in Greenville, SC, with satellite offices in Atlanta and Asheville. Griffin Partners specializes in commercial investment sales and business brokerage throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Mr. Griffin has over 20 years of progressive commercial real estate and land development experience. Mr. Griffin spent the early part of his career in land planning and entitlement and utilizes his education and experience in the land planning industry to the betterment of his clients and investors. He is a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), a designation based on transaction volume and experience, obtained by only 6% of commercial real estate practitioners. Griffin and his team have been directly involved in over $2 billion of commercial real estate and business transactions. Mr. Griffin is also Principal and CEO of Topsail Holdings, a commercial real estate investment, development, and management company founded in 2016.

Sperry Commercial Global Affiliates was founded by commercial real estate icon and 40 year veteran Rand Sperry. Griffin Partners became a Sperry Global affiliate in 2018 after being independent for over 6 years. Sperry Global has over 50 offices nationwide. Contact Mark Griffin, CCIM anytime at mark.griffin@sperrycga.com if you are interested in selling or purchasing commercial real estate or selling a business. Each office is independently owned and operated.