Chick-fil-A plans huge overseas expansion

Chick-fil-A plans a $1 billion expansion that will put restaurants in Europe and Asia.

Credit: Chick-fil-A

Credit: Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A plans a $1 billion expansion that will put restaurants in Europe and Asia.

Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A has confirmed plans for a $1 billion expansion that will include opening of restaurants in Asia and Europe.

The family-owned company — which has grown to more than 2,700 restaurants, but only a relative few overseas — expects to have a presence in five international markets by 2030.

The ambitious strategy was first reported in the Wall Street Journal and confirmed Monday by a spokesperson who said the company would have no further comment.

The move is not being forced by a lack of opportunity in the United States, according to Andrew Cathy, the company’s chief executive, in the Journal. “We feel like it’s time to continue to innovate and try and test how we will do in international markets so that we can learn,” Cathy said in an interview with the Journal.

During the 1990s, Chick-fil-A launched an expansion in South Africa that only lasted five years. In Great Britain, the company in 2019 opened a London-area restaurant, but it closed after local protests over anti-gay marriage remarks by the former CEO.

The company has eight restaurants in Canada.

Its chicken-centric menu has made it the third-largest fast-food chain in the United States, according to Technomic Inc., a market research firm. Chick-fil-A lags only McDonald’s and Starbucks in sales, according to Technomic.

The company is privately held and does not release detailed financial information. But officials say its restaurants average $6.3 million in annual sales, despite being closed on Sundays.

Given the number of restaurants, that implies corporate revenues of more than $17 billion.

In metro Atlanta, Chick-fil-A has 170 restaurants, plus its corporate headquarters, with about 3,200 employees.