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This Chicken Chain Is Opening 100 New Locations This Year

Church's credits its success to strong delivery sales and a mega successful chicken sandwich.

A Southern chain with a fried chicken legacy spanning almost seven decades is planning a major expansion this year as it rides the momentum of the chicken category. Church's Chicken recently announced plans to open 100 new locations across the globe in a bid to double down on growth in 2021.

With more than 900 restaurants in the U.S. alone, Church's currently operates more than 1,500 locations across 25 countries. We still don't know where the chain is planning to expand stateside, but it's currently open for business in 29 states. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.)

Church's recently announced at a recent brand-wide conference that it had continued its winning streak in 2020 in spite of the pandemic. The company has seen consistent year-over-year growth in both sales and average checks for the fourth year in a row, recovering from what had been a downward trajectory prior to 2016.

"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," Church's CEO Joe Christina said. "That success is 100% rooted in the determination and hard work we have put into our franchisee-franchisor relationships."

The chain's success last year is largely attributed to operational improvements, including a ramp-up in delivery efforts during the pandemic—but the seeds of success were planted even earlier. In 2019, Church's launched an ambitious marketing push and a brand refresh, which included advertising on national TV. The move introduced a new tagline—"bringing that down home flavor"—and elevated the brand back into the national fried chicken conversation.

Church's is currently best known for one of its blockbuster menu additions: the chicken sandwich. Launched last October, it was the chain's way of competing in the chicken sandwich category (and its second boneless chicken item on the menu aside from its Texas Tenders).

For more on the best fried chicken sandwiches, check out We Tried 6 Fast-Food Chicken Sandwiches & This Was the Best. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more