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Analyst: Chick-fil-A may beat McDonald's in U.S. sales

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Could Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A surpass McDonald’s in U.S. fast-food restaurant sales in the next decade? A Wall Street analyst’s report that such a threat exists is getting a lot of business media attention.

“If Chick-fil-A can add $6.3-$9.0 billion to its system-wide sales over the next 10 years, it is entirely possible that this will be similar to—or worst-case, from McDonald’s perspective—greater than the system-wide sales that McDonald’s can add to its domestic business over that same time,” writes Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Mark Kalinowski in a report picked up by multiple outlets.

Publicly-traded McDonald’s, the burger behemoth with $35.9 billion in U.S. sales last year at its more than 14,000 domestic locations, certainly remains the Goliath in the fast-food industry, compared with the seemingly Davidic privately held Chick-fil-A, which had sales of about $5 billion last year at its 1,775 locations.

But don’t let such a comparison fool you, Kalinowski suggests. He projects much larger gains  for Chick-fil-A than McDonald's in annualized unit growth and same-store sales between now and 2023, noting that the Atlanta-based chain known for closing on Sundays has nearly tripled its size since 2003

"While Chick-fil-A remains meaningfully smaller than McDonald's U.S. today, to the extent it could be ignored as a competitive threat ten years ago, we would argue that it can no longer be ignored as a long-term competitive threat today," Kalinowski writes.

Consumer Reports: Best rated restaurants

Consumer Reports' latest survey of thousands of subscribers shows Chick-fil-A continues to beat its rivals when it comes to customer satisfaction with fast-food restaurants, at least in the chicken category. MyAJC.com subscribers can see how their favorite eatery stacks up against the competition by viewing photo galleries of the top rated. So far, galleries on the best burger restaurants and the best pizza locations are presented

Thursday's gallery will show the best sandwich chains; Friday's, the best chicken chains; and Monday's, the best Mexican and Asian chains.

In Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution, staff writer Leon Stafford looks at how Millennials are shaking up fast-food competition.

Should McDonald's fear Chick-fil-A when it comes to U.S. sales?

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