Despite its position as a major market player, Chick-Fil-A faces aggressive competition for market share in the fast-food industry.
Read on if you are curious about Chick-Fil-A’s most significant competitors and the company’s competitive edge!
Who Are Chick-Fil-A’s Competitors In 2023?
Chick-Fil-A’s biggest competitors in the fast-food industry include KFC, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Subway, Starbucks, Church’s Chicken, Little Caesars, Burger King, El Pollo Loco, and Chipotle as of 2023. There is little differentiation possible in the fast-food industry, though each restaurant tries to make its offering unique to capture a bigger market share.
Please stay with me to find out more about Chick-Fil-A’s biggest competitors!
Who Are Chick-Fil-A’s Biggest 11 Competitors?
Here are 11 of Chick-Fil-A’s biggest competitors!
With over 22,621 locations in 150 countries, KFC is second only to McDonald’s in size among fast-food restaurants, with about 60% of them under franchise.
That said, among fast-food chicken operators and developers, KFC is the largest.
Further, the restaurant made its name with its fried chicken seasoned with a secret recipe of herbs and spices and sold by its founder Colonel Sanders.
Also, KFC has expanded its menu to include chicken fillet sandwiches and wraps, side dishes like French fries, coleslaw, salads, desserts, and soft drinks supplied mainly by Pepsi-Cola.
Overall, KFC’s menu is very comparable to Chick-Fil-A’s.
McDonald’s is the largest fast-food restaurant globally by revenue, serving over 70 million customers daily in over 100 countries.
So, whereas Chick-Fil-A made its name with chicken fillet sandwiches, McDonald’s is best known for its hamburgers.
However, McDonald’s menu now offers some items similar to Chick-Fil-A, like:
- Chicken sandwiches
- Chicken nuggets
- Sides of fries
- Beverages (soft drinks, coffee, tea, and milk)
Also, both McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A target the same customer. Nevertheless, McDonald’s sees more customers than Chick-Fil-A.
Wendy’s is the third-largest hamburger fast-food seller in the United States, with over 5,938 restaurants raking in over $1.8 billion a year.
However, Wendy’s sells more than hamburgers, as its menu includes chicken sandwiches, French fries, hash browns, and an assortment of beverages.
Further, Wendy’s maintains a competitive edge in a tight field by differentiating its product offering and competing on price minimization.
For instance, the restaurant offers square-shaped patties significantly larger than Chick-Fil-A. Also, it tries to provide a significantly lower price for its products.
Subway is an exclusive franchise fast-food restaurant famous for its submarine sandwiches, wraps, and beverages.
Started on campus grounds by a college professor and a student, the restaurant has grown to over 21,700 locations in the US alone, making it the largest single-brand restaurant chain.
Also, Subway’s fare differs from Chick-Fil-A for its emphasis on health and a wider variety of vegetarian offerings.
Indeed, this helped its rebound to profitability after the uncertainties posed by the death of its founder.
5. Church’s Chicken
Church’s Chicken is a fast-food restaurant with over 1,500 outlets in 30 states, with over 80% of them managed as franchises.
Further, its chief offering is the Southern-style fried chicken, whose recipe has been perfected over time.
Also, Church’s Chicken gains a competitive advantage by keeping its operations simplified and gaining expertise by developing a lean menu.
Besides fried chicken, the restaurant’s menu features side dishes of mashed potatoes and gravy, fried okra, coleslaw, and honey biscuits.
6. Taco Bell
Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc, and the fast-food restaurant as over 7,000 locations in the US.
Additionally, over 90% of the restaurants are owned under franchises and licenses.
Moreover, the restaurant serves two billion customers in a year with its Mexican-inspired specialties and value menu items.
However, Chick-Fil-A’s menu offers fewer calories and is healthier.
Also, the two restaurants target slightly different markets. For example, Taco Bell goes for the 18 to 35-year-olds, while Chick-Fil-A goes for a slightly older demographic.
7. El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco offers its Mexican-style grilled chicken in over 500 Southwestern United States locations, most in California.
That said, this restaurant is one of Chick-Fil-A’s major competitors, touting its chicken as fire-grilled rather than deep-fried, so it is healthier.
However, it departed briefly from this stance, offering deep-fried breaded chicken so it could compete better with KFC and Chick-Fil-A.
Besides its chicken entrees, El Pollo Loco offers chicken-filled tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and quesadillas.
Starbucks is almost synonymous with coffee, having over 33,000 locations worldwide and bringing in a revenue of over $5 billion a year.
That said, its range of coffee beverages is so well developed and extensive that it beats most competition hands down. Therefore, Chick-Fil-A coffee and tea items are token by comparison.
Besides coffee, Starbucks offers several items to go with the coffee appropriate for all meal times in the day, including sandwiches, wraps, cookies, and biscuits.
Popeyes is a chicken fast-food restaurant owned by Restaurant Brands International with over 3,450 locations in 46 states and 30 countries worldwide.
With that, the restaurant’s success has been built on fried chicken, biscuits, and seafood.
Further, the menu includes chicken and fish sandwiches, Signature chicken, tenders, family meals, and nuggets.
Also, Popeyes has Homestyle Mac &Cheese sides, Cajun fries, mashed potatoes, red beans and rice, and coleslaw.
Finally, the beverages are primarily soft drinks, a smaller choice than what Chick-Fil-A offers.
10. Burger King
Burger King is only second to Mcdonald’s among fast-food restaurants whose primary offering is the hamburger, with almost 9,000 locations in the US alone.
Further, it specializes in flame-broiled hamburgers and has an expanded menu that improves the basic French fries, soda, and milkshakes.
Also, Burger King offers the Whopper, beef and chicken hamburgers, with sides of French fries, onion rings, and salads.
Moreover, its dessert range consists of a small selection of pies and beverages, including chocolate, tea, coffee, milk, and soda.
Besides expanding the menu, Burger King made its items healthier to attract health-conscious customers to compete effectively against the likes of Chick-Fil-A.
Chipotle has about 100 more outlets than Chick-Fil-A, but Chick-Fil-A makes almost three times as much as Chipotle in revenue.
Also, Chipotle has only five offerings on its menu, which include burritos, bowls, tacos, quesadillas, and salads.
Moreover, the fillings include chicken, pork, steak, and vegetarian options.
That said, the restaurant has been wary of expanding the menu as it wants to focus on being the best at what it currently offers, which is its competitive advantage.
So, even though Chick-Fil-A’s menu has more variety, Chipotle tries to make its food healthier.
However, Chipotle also offers a child-friendly menu and beer and margaritas at some locations. In comparison, Chick-Fil-A does not offer any alcoholic drinks at any of its locations.
Though the fast-food industry in the US is crowded, with every competitor trying to gain an advantage through product and price differentiation, Chick-Fil-A has been able to hold its own.
That said, Chick-Fil-A has defied its relatively modest size to gain market share and profitability with excellent customer service and innovative chicken offerings.