Friday, January 30, 2009

Chick-fil-A Chain Celebrates 41st Consecutive Year of Positive Sales

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Despite the struggling economy, Chick-fil-A® enjoyed an unprecedented year of sales growth in 2008. The Atlanta-based restaurant chain yesterday reported 2008 system-wide sales of $2,962,253,976, representing a 12.17 percent increase over the chain’s 2007 overall sales performance and a strong same-store sales increase of 4.59 percent.

Chick-fil-A’s record sales performance marked the chain’s 41st consecutive year of system-wide sales gains – a streak that the chain has sustained since its inception in 1967 – and its 16th straight year of double-digit sales growth.

“Of all of our years of sales growth, we are truly grateful for our customers’ support as reflected in our 2008 sales. Chick-fil-A was able to endure a number of challenges that could have been detrimental to any other chain, including targeted product competition among our quick-service rivals and a challenging economic environment, but our restaurant Operators and team members remained committed to excellence which resulted in another solid sales year,” said Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan T. Cathy. “While we by no means are immune to the economic challenges our country is facing, we do believe we will continue to remain healthy as long as we stay committed to the qualities that have shaped the Chick-fil-A brand thus far: providing exceptional customer service and unmatched product quality to every customer on every visit. God has truly blessed our business and we pray that He will continue to keep His hand upon us.”

The chain’s 2008 sales performance complemented a number of business highlights, including:

* Continued restaurant expansion with 83 new locations.
* While the competition was imitating many of Chick-fil-A’s signature menu items, the chain conducted the most aggressive product rollout year in its history, introducing a Chargrilled Chicken and Fruit Salad, a new Chick-fil-A Chick-n-Strips® product that is 50-percent larger than the chain’s previous strips offering, and an enhanced Chick-fil-A® Chicken Salad Sandwich, which tripled in sales upon rollout.
* In fall 2008, Chick-fil-A eliminated artificial trans fat from its entire menu, becoming one of the first national quick-service restaurant chains to offer a complete menu – from entrées down to condiments – with zero grams of trans fat.

* Chick-fil-A was recognized with a number of prominent industry awards, including:
o Business Week named Chick-fil-A as one of 25 national Customer Service Champs in 2008.
o Men’s Health recognized Chick-fil-A as America’s Healthiest Chain Restaurant for Kids.
o Chick-fil-A topped QSR magazine’s 2008 Best Drive-Thru in America survey for the fifth time.
o Restaurants & Institutions magazine named Chick-fil-A as its Platinum winner for “Choice in Chains” award in the chicken category.

* In August, the chain hosted the inaugural Chick-fil-A College Kickoff football game between the University of Alabama and Clemson University at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga. Alabama will return to face Virginia Tech for the 2009 event.
* Chick-fil-A awarded 48 franchise Operators new cars as part of the chain’s Symbol of Success sales incentive program. Through the program, franchisees are awarded a new Ford vehicle of their choice for meeting their annual sales goals.

Philanthropy also continued to be a major focus in 2008 for the entire chain, a tradition set by its 87-year-old Founder and CEO S. Truett Cathy. Truett Cathy received the President’s Call to Service Award for lifetime volunteer service achievement in 2008 and became the first recipient to receive the award in the Oval Office. Other significant charitable endowments for the chain included continued support for WinShape® Foundation, a non-profit organization and charitable foundation established by the Cathy Family, and the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl™, which led all college football bowl games by contributing more than $1.2 million to charities and scholarships. Chick-fil-A also celebrated the 35th anniversary of its Leadership Scholarship Program by donating more than $1.4 million in college scholarships to its restaurant team members in 2008, and will exceed the $25 million mark in total scholarships later this year.

Dan Cathy also noted that restaurant growth will continue to be an integral factor in sustaining sales momentum this year. Chick-fil-A will continue its steady restaurant growth with 76 new locations planned for 2009, including 64 stand-alone restaurants, two mall/retail locations and 10 licensed outlets. Additionally, the chain feels it also is critical to reinvest in some of its existing restaurant sites. The chain will renovate 65 restaurants throughout the year in a reinvestment effort to extend the life cycle of each location and introduce new efficiencies that will help Chick-fil-A’s franchise Operators attract and accommodate greater sales volumes.

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