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:
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,
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.