Chick-fil-A has just been crowned king of the U.S. fast-food chicken chain market, according to a new report (warning: PDF) published by Janney Capital Markets.
Despite having less than half the number of U.S. restaurants that KFC has, Chick-fil-A now owns 26% of the limited-service chicken market.
To compare, KFC owns 22% of the U.S. limited-service chicken market, while Popeye’s holds down third place with a paltry 11%. But that’s not all. According to the report (still a PDF), Chick-fil-A represents “a growing competitive threat” to other chains:
“Chick-fil-A should get more attention from the Street in coming years, in part because it represents a growing competitive threat to other sizable quick-service chains, perhaps most notably McDonald’s. Investors with a long-term focus should consider this risk factor when assessing McDonald’s domestic prospects for the next ten years.”
Wall Street analyst Mark Kalinowski tells The Chicago Tribune, “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.”
Meanwhile, Chick-fil-A was delighted with being crowned king. Restaurant spokeswoman Brenda Morrow said,
“Our growth is attributed to having millions of customers who are loyal to the brand. It is gratifying to see that demand for our food and service is growing, and we are happy to meet the demand.”
Well, we know at least one person who isn’t loyal to the brand. Sorry, Morrow.
The Chicago Tribune reports that plans are underway to open 103 new Chik-fil A restaurants in 2014, including the first locations in Connecticut and Rhode Island.