What a difference a week makes. That was the message from Church’s Chicken CEO Joe Christina today as he unveiled a comprehensive relief effort for Franchisees—both domestically and internationally—to weather the COVID-19 crisis.
“Overall, we saw 36 of 52 weeks of positive sales in 2019, and in eight out of 13 periods, we outperformed our competitors in the category. We were substantially beating the industry and ahead of plan until several weeks ago,” said CEO for Church’s, Joe Christina. “But literally, from one week to the next, the world changed and we need to change with it. That means ensuring our franchisees preserve cash so that they can continue to pay their employees, serve our guests and support the communities we operate in.”
Effective March 30, franchisees can defer 50 percent of their royalties and ad fund contributions for the next four weeks. “The goal is to secure a swift recovery as soon as possible and that requires cash on hand,” said Dusty Profumo, CFO for the brand. “Also, by working with our franchisees, we are encouraging them to honor this reduced royalty structure and pay on time so that we can collectively move the brand forward.”
Christina pointed out that, despite sales declines in the teens, Church’s remains in a strong position to weather the current industry downturn. The brand was among the first in the chicken category to activate third-party delivery in 2018, Order Ahead, Pay Ahead in early 2019, followed by the expansion of the Church’s-To-Go platform, allowing Church’s guests to choose what convenience means to them.
Today, the majority of Church’s domestic restaurants have easily shifted their dine-in business to take-out and delivery – providing continuity of service better and faster. It is Christina’s belief that adjusting operations to best serve the need of their guests, will help position the brand to thrive and recover quickly.
“I am extremely proud of the values we stand for as an organization. Across the world, our teams are working together, showing they care about the business, stepping up as best they can despite these unfortunate circumstances. Everyone in our organization is demonstrating the values that define us by doing the right thing, demonstrating great conviction to see things through. Together, we will get through this,” continued Christina.
Founded in San Antonio, Texas, in 1952 by George W. Church, Church’s Chicken is one of the largest quick-service restaurant chicken chains in the world. Church’s specializes in Original and Spicy Chicken freshly prepared throughout the day in small batches that are hand-battered and double-breaded, Tender Strips, Honey-Butter Biscuits made from scratch and freshly baked, and classic, homestyle sides all for a great value. Church’s (along with its sister brand Texas Chicken outside the Americas) has more than 1,500 locations in 25 countries and international territories. With system-wide sales of more than $1 billion, the system had a recording-breaking year in 2019. During two national media windows the brand drove sales performance that outpaced the broader QSR category. For more information, visit www.churchs.com. Follow Church’s on Facebook at www.facebook.com/churchschicken and Twitter at www.twitter.com/churchschicken.