You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Chick-fil-A Is About to Overtake Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Burger King

Thrillist logo Thrillist 4/2/2018 Joe McGauley

Chick-fil-A is about to become the third largest fast food restaurant in the United States, overtaking Wendy's, Burger King, and Taco Bell.

a sandwich cut in half on a plate © Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Fast food companies are constantly competing to poach potential customers from their competitors, whether it's with an exceedingly witty social media presence or by cashing in on of-the-moment trends. However, sometimes all it takes to gain new customers is dedication to what you're good at and faster, more convenient service. That's evidently been working for Chick-fil-A because the chicken-centric chain is currently on track to become the third largest fast food restaurant in the United States, overtaking behemoth brands like Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Burger King.

Never underestimate the power of a simple, pickle-topped fried chicken sandwich.

News that the Chick-fil-A would soon ascend to number three in the fast food rankings (in terms of sales) was first reported by BuzzFeed News, which claims the brand will rise from the seventh biggest fast food chain to third biggest in the next two years. McDonald's and Starbucks are the current number one and two ranked restaurants, respectively. 

And while anyone who's been treated to one of Chick-fil-A's signature sandwiches can attest to their deliciousness, it's tough to imagine it's quietly grown more popular, and bigger, than some of the most prominent players in the fast food game. They're not even open on Sundays. Yet, there are quite a few surprising elements that've helped to catapult the premier purveyors of non-beef on-the-go meals around the country to the top.

As BuzzFeed notes, one of the biggest factors in its growth is its smart incorporation of technology, making the whole customer experience faster and arguably better with mobile ordering options and in-restaurant ordering by tablets. As a result, the average Chick-fil-A location makes more than $4 million in annual sales, which is millions more than any other major fast food chain in America. They've also doubled down on convenience by streamlining the drive-thru experience -- one location in Oklahoma City recently served 216 cars in under one hour, per the report. That's a rate of 3.6 customers per minute just at the drive-thru. The amped up velocity doesn't seem to be detracting from its image as a friendly place, either, since it ranks far above other chains in terms of "satisfaction, positive buzz, and likelihood of purchase," according to the YouGov BrandIndex.

With a relatively small 2,300 total US locations (for perspective, McDonald's has over 14,000 locations), it managed to rake in roughly $9 billion in sales in 2017. If it continues on its trend of opening roughly 100 new locations per year -- like the recently unveiled (and highly controversial) New York flagship -- it projects it will hit number three status by 2020. 

Who knows, maybe people just really appreciate cows more than everyone thought.

Related gallery: 10 Chick-fil-A Copycat Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings, Even on Sundays (provided by Popsugar)

10 Chick-fil-A Copycat Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings, Even on Sundays: Why is it that Chick-fil-A cravings seem to hit the hardest on Sundays, the only day the fast-food chain is closed? These copycat recipes allow you to get your fix any time, any day. From the classic Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich to the nuggets and more, every Chick-fil-A obsessive will surely appreciate these recipes that are just as good as - if not better than - the real thing. Just pick up some Chick-fil-A Sauce (or 20), and you're good to go. 10 Chick-fil-A Copycat Recipes to Satisfy Your Cravings, Even on Sundays

h/t BuzzFeed News


AdChoices

More from Thrillist

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon