Church’s Chicken: for the love of chicken!

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Church’s Chicken is an American chain of fast food restaurants that offers fried chicken in a wide variety of serving sizes. The chain trades outside of North America as Texas Chicken.

Church’s Chicken’s 974 U.S. Store Locations

Founded in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas (right across the street from the Alamo), by George W. Church, Sr., the chain was originally called Church’s Fried Chicken To Go.

In the early days after opening, the restaurant sold only chicken, but added fries and jalapeños in 1955.

In 1956, George Church died, leaving a chain of four restaurants.

From 1979 through 1986, Church’s Chicken sponsored the United States Chess Federation tournament, the “Grand Prix” series of chess tournaments.

In 1989, Church’s merged with Popeyes, making it the second largest chicken restaurant chain in the U.S. Although they continued to operate as separate chains, they had their supply lines consolidated. Hala Moddelmog became president of Church’s in 1989, making her the first female president of a fast food restaurant chain.

Through the end of 2004, Church’s was owned by AFC Enterprises, along with Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits and Cinnabon, when it was sold to Arcapita, an Islamic venture capital firm. In 2005, the new owners removed pork products from the menu as pork is not halal.

Church’s Chicken, Today

In October of 2018, Church’s Chicken wash showing its strongest sales performance since 2014, topping KFC’s, Popeyes’ and Bojangles same-store sales performance in three of the past five quarters worldwide. Just days later, for the second time in the company’s history, Church’s Chicken and Texas Chicken came together. The news was presented the company’s executives at a San Antonio conference center. It was the company’s first global brand positioning.

Tony Moralejo, executive vice president of international for the brands, who took over the international responsibilities in 2016, explained that he had immediately noticed differences in Church’s domestic and global business. At the time, the company had 40 franchisees and 25 international markets, totaling 1,500 locations. Together, they were generating system wide sales of over $1 billion. At the end of 2017, Church’s had 1,009 U.S stores, with 858 of them being franchised, and and a U.S. sales of $785.96 millions.

The two brands are in different stages of their life cycles, with the domestic Church’s dating back nearly seven decades, while the international locations are still in their infancy. So, while Church’s and Texas Chicken come from the same roots, they need to be uniquely tailored to their consumers. The store locations outside of the U.S. have a plethora of regional flavours that can be introduced into their menu items. For example, in Southeast Asia, there’s nine-pepper spice chicken that keeps customers coming back time and again.

Texas Chicken Rice Bowl

In the spring of 2017, Texas Chicken executives began developing a strategy that would ensure the chain kept pace. Well, this strategy that began as an international-only plan became a global plan that also affected Church’s.

On December 4 of that year, Alan Magee, formerly senior director of brand marketing at Moe’s Southwest Grill, joined the company as its VP of digital marketing and technology. His task was to roll out the new global brand positioning. Texas Chicken studied their global customers to learn about their food tastes and lifestyles.

By Q1 of 2019, the new Texas Chicken restaurants, will roll out their new building designs, uniforms and packaging.

Let’s face it, it’s an exciting time for Church’s Chicken and Texas Chicken.

Gloria Sauvé
Communications and Marketing

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